Anne Doherty

Tile image

Current name: Anne Gilman

Age when this tile was made: 8

Where did you live when you made this tile?

Kenwood Street (between Davis Sq. and Powderhouse Park)

Where else have you lived in Somerville?

Pearson Ave in the early 70's. Also, went to Tufts in the 90's, so remained local for undergrad.

Where do you live now?

Live in Dracut, MA and work in Boston.

Do you consider Somerville your hometown? Yes

What is your earliest Somerville memory?

Oh so many memories... I remember:
- eating at McDonald's in Davis Sq in 1976 when they were changing the colors of the inside walls to red, white, and blue in honor of the bicentennial.
- going to storytime at the West Branch Library, where I eventually worked for years with my friend Tricia Keefe.
- shopping in Richdale's and Goodell Drug and then walking by events at Cabot Farms and wishing I could go in there, and then walking into the small printing company on Broadway and asking if they had any left over paper.
- standing on our porch w/my brother Joe and yelling across the street to see if Laurie and Robyn McLaughlin could come out to play. Playing kickball, dodge, hide and seek, and relievio until the street lights came on...or later in the summer...with all our neighborhood friends and any visiting cousins.
- Tracy Desmond and her sisters calling me over to give me their hand-me down clothes that were stylish and smelled so good.. - the kindergarten classroom at PHCS, with Jody O'Meara and Pat King - Going to Brigham's, Almy's, and FFC with my Mom and Nana from Ireland who would buy long strings of lollipops to bring back to my cousins in Ireland.
- taking a bus home on a cold winter night from the orange line in Sullivan Square after shopping in town (Boston) with my Mom and cousins. - Kids' Day at Tufts and swimming lessons at Dilboy

How would you describe Somerville in the 1980s?

I think it was family-oriented with a cultural richness brought on by the number of immigrant or first generation families....Irish, Italian, Greek, and Portugese for the most part. We lived in a tree-lined neighborhood in a one-family house with a white picket fence, so I never thought of Somerville as anything less than middle class. With Powderhouse Park at the end of the street and the expansive, beautiful Tufts fields/campus at my finger tips, Somerville felt more suburban back then to me than it does now. There were a few houses of barneys and college kids near us, but it was mostly families and I could name each family and every kid, and probably tell you what kind of candy each house gave out at Halloween! The Powderhouse grammar school was big and nice, with a beautiful, flower filled courtyard with square seating so that classes could be held outside on nice felt new and modern.

How would you describe Somerville today?

It's home. My parents still live there and they take care of my son while we're at work....they even take him to storytime at the library and bring him to the McLaughlin's sometimes, just like they did for us kids 35 years ago!

How has Somerville changed?

Somerville is more congested now, but also more convenient and hip. Not as many people in Somerville had cars back in the 80s, so it wasn't wall to wall cars like it is now. It has less of a neighborhood feel now. I don't see kids out on the streets playing nor any teenagers trying to make a little cash by shoveling snow in the driveway. We would do our paper routes on our bikes in the early morning before 7am, but its not safe to do that now.

Additional Information:
I remember when we had the field trip to the studio to see the process of how the tiles would be made. They picked mine as an example and showed how they glued yarn and things onto the drawing to give it a mold. I was asked to choose the color of the birds on mine and was told they could be any color except blue. In my mind though, they needed to be blue b/c I was a "Bluebird" Campfire girl so I couldn't think of any other color for them until a friend leaned over and said "yellow" so that's how I ended up with the yellow birds.

There were posters made when Davis opened with some of our tiles on them. I remember one hanging in the library all through high school. I also remember being invited to an event at the new library at Tufts where my tile was displayed.

Many thanks to Nick and his team for doing this! It was great to see the video clip on this site with Kevin White, Tommy Kneeland, Christy Szalkowski, and my brother Joe too! I don't think I've ever seen that before.