Slumerville? Pshaw…

Somerville, Massachusetts has been my home for the better part of the past 15 years. Truth be told, no place has ever felt more like home to me than here. I decided to start this blog as an homage to this bustling suburb of Boston with so much to offer.

Brasher Falls, NY

First of all, let me explain. I came of age in rural America during the 80s and early 90s far from any metropolitan area. I was also far from cable television, highways and civilization; the first indoor mall within a hundred miles’ drive wasn’t built until I was 16 years old. You think the pre-internet days were bad? I’m guessing that at least your family, unlike mine, didn’t have to share a ‘party line’ with several neighbors due to the limited phone lines available in your county.

One might be tempted to label me an easily impressible sap who just happened to land here on my stumble out of the North Country. (For the record, this is the third state I’ve lived in, and the sixth town in metro Boston I’ve called home.)  I would have to respectfully beg to differ, and insist that growing up with such meager surroundings and little opportunity has made me appreciate the things that surround me now on a much deeper level than most folks probably ever even notice.

There are lots of things I appreciate daily about Somerville. It’s only miles from downtown Boston, yet possesses its own thriving economy and vibrant community. This hasn’t always been the case, as the colloquial ‘Slumerville’ nickname from the not-so-distant past reminds us. Things started to really turn around here in the 90s, beginning with the revitalization of Davis Square. The gentrification  over the past decade or so has attracted many people who are interested in (among other things)  sustainable living, eco-friendly transportation, composting, buying local, and of course, art. Freecycle is a way of life here, as is working on reducing the impact of one’s carbon footprint. And despite the gentrification, which comes with its own list of positives and negatives, much diversity has been preserved here. There are  epicenters throughout the city that are home to Brazilians, Haitians, El Salvadorians, Indians and many other immigrant cultures. There are also folks working to preserve those diverse communities and engage those who live there, encouraging them to be a part of the ever-changing landscape.

So, as of this moment I do declare that beginning tomorrow I will write once per day about something I deem great about living here.  Thanks for reading my first post, and stay tuned…


DAILY TRIVIA: Somerville was a 2009 recipient of the prestigious All-America City Award.



13 responses to “Slumerville? Pshaw…

  1. It’s interesting to see this point of view. I can’t say fore sure if I agree or not, but it is something I will think about now.

  2. One day I walked along the entire Somerville Ave. strip. I remember walking through a handful of different neighborhoods with different ‘off the boat- ethnicities. I heard Spanish, Portuguese, Creole and English being spoken. Somerville’s diversity is one thing that makes it great, ntm it’s über-close proximity to Boston.

    • Agreed… it’s maybe lost some of its diversity due to gentrification, but it’s done a great job of trying to preserve what’s left… better than most, in my opinion.

  3. How could I possibly have forgotten the party line!? Clearly, I blocked it out. Thanks for posting. I’m really looking forward to reading more about you now!

  4. Wow, the party line! That brings back memories. I used to have a neighbor listen in as well. Later, I would get my revenge by repeatedly clicking the hook on and off while she was speaking to someone. I’m convinced that this is how Max Headroom began. Great blog, I look forward to reading more!

  5. I just want to tell you that I am just all new to blogging and absolutely savored your page. Almost certainly I’m going to bookmark your site . You definitely have awesome stories. Bless you for sharing your blog.

  6. Cool site Thanks for sharing it.

  7. I grew up in Somerville in the 60s and 70s. Back then, it lived up to its nickname. I’m not so sure that gentrification in and of itself has been good for natives who can’t afford the excessive rents or house prices. During recent visits to West Somerville I’ve sensed more pretentiousness than community.

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