On a snowy evening in 1976, my dad arrived at a housewarming party hosted by my mother, the only woman in their ear training class at Berklee College of Music. He played the saxophone. She played piano.

My father probably rang the doorbell, or perhaps he walked right past a depleted can of Maxwell House coffee propping open the door. He asked my mother if she had a shovel for when he needed to leave the party. Yes, she said laughing, putting out more cups and more beer. The party raged and a thick layer of snow, like a slice of Texas Toast, relaxed itself over the roof of my dad’s car. He felt anxious. He wanted to leave. Where was the shovel?

Of course there was no shovel, so I have been blessed with the mental image of my dad dutifully scraping his car on Comm Ave using the only tool available: a lunch tray.

I’ve lived in Boston for seven years, but stories of this city inherited from my parents have always been phosphenes like red fireworks when I close my eyes, inextricable from my own memories.

I came to Boston for college with the expectation I’d collect my diploma and walk immediately onto an awaiting Amtrak train back to New York, where my friends wore solid black instead of paisley. Instead, I stayed for years, slowly and reluctantly liking and then (oh, no) loving Boston.

In New York, you don’t stumble upon a perfect picnic spot at a park behind a main thoroughfare like Beacon Street. Here, the Dudley Jazz Fest is a hidden gem, not a playground for Instagram influencers. There’s autumn in New York, but I think we can all agree nothing beats simultaneously wearing a flannel shirt and eating a cider donut in New England.

“But” is the word that drives New Yorkers back. I want to be able to take my pick of a jumble of different kebab houses in Queens. I’ve done the research — there is not one reliable place to buy tennis shoes in Boston. And I’ve never felt more like a superhero than I did while speeding down the FDR at night, winding under bridges and past a skyscraper pushing its light out of tiny windows like a needled water balloon.

My parents and I both spent our early twenties in Boston. These are the years of slipping on ice running for the bus and long walks home under blurry street lamps, of the heat and humidity of a party and the sudden relief of cold smoky air on a triple decker porch. I’d heard my parents' stories, and I felt as if they were beside me the entire time I lived here.

I had heard about my dad’s windowless basement apartment behind Symphony Hall, haunted by the sound of a depressed pianist pounding scales. But I felt I could remember it myself as my post-grad roommates filled our apartment with the sounds of machine gun fire from Call of Duty and football, day and night.

When I lost my silver watch — the last gift my beloved grandfather gave me — on the security line at Logan, my mom consoled me with a story about how robbers stole her late mother’s jewelry out of a Back Bay apartment when her death was still raw and senseless.

During a huge snowstorm my junior year at Boston College, I schlepped from an off-campus apartment back to my dorm and could have sworn I saw my mom and dad through the flurries, carrying groceries back to their apartment in milk crates attached to rope, as if they were lugging penicillin through the Alaskan wilderness.

Their Boston stories are marked by a particular boldness and absurdity, the sparkly shenanigans of big young love in a small(ish) city. For my parents, these stories gave way to new ones once they went to New York: first apartment, marriage, kids.

I’m leaving Boston like they did, and now I understand I’m leaving more than the city behind. Through them, I see this time will never come again.