Faye Holmes

Tile image

Age when this tile was made: 6 or 7

Where did you live when you made this tile?

Gorham Street, between Jay and Elmwood

Where else have you lived in Somerville?

As an adult for a few years, I lived in the Winter Hill area near the high school.

Where do you live now?

Los Angeles, CA (Hollyweird)

What is your earliest Somerville memory?

A boy calling me a nigger. We were five and playing at Hodgkins Park and he called me a nigger. I had the biggest crush on him too and that one little word crushed me. I really couldn't articulate why the word was bad (and most likely he couldn't either) but I knew that at least on that day in that playground, as the only black child in sight, that word was uniquely mine - a brand I couldn't wash off. You know I still liked him after that. Go figure.

How would you describe Somerville in the 1980s?

Somerville was just a family orientated neighborhood. White as hell with little diversity, especially in my neighborhood, but there was always an abundance of kids to play with. Somerville back then was predominately white lower-middle class and Catholic. I can't tell you how many Communions I went to over the years, even though I was raised Protestant. To this day I still have a strange respect and fear for nuns and priests.

How would you describe Somerville today?

No longer mine.

How has Somerville changed?

Somerville over the years has become yuppified. The streets I once used to run and play on lack children. It's almost as if the children just disappeared. When I go back to visit it the neighborhood feels lonely. Funny enough as a child Somerville was sometimes referred to as Slumerville but now it looked to as the hip place to live. Go figure.

Do you consider Somerville to be your hometown?
Sometimes. When asked where I grew up I often say Boston but not without pausing and thinking of Somerville.

I always thought of myself as a sprinkle of pepper in a field of snowflakes.