Rekha Shaikh

Tile image

Age when this tile was made: 8

Where did you live when you made this tile?

Yorktown St.

Where do you live now?

South End Boston, MA

Do you consider Somerville your hometown? Yes

What is your earliest Somerville memory?

Sledding down our hill on Yorktown St. after a snow storm and meeting my neighbor and childhood friend Peggy Perkins.

How would you describe Somerville in the 1980s?

My neighborhood in particular was a great place to live. There were so many children who lived there and grew up together. We walked together to and from school and played neighborhood games together until the street lights went on. Everyone knew each other and watched out for one another. You would always hear children laughing and playing in the street. When I was old enough to venture beyond our neighborhood, I'd walk over to Davis Square with friends for lunch at McDonalds, ice cream from Brighams, or to pick something up at FFC. Oh, how things have changed...

How would you describe Somerville today?

It is always strange to go back to the old neighborhood. Many things look very familiar but it is definitely lacking the family/community feel it used to have. I recognize very few people in the neighborhood and hardly ever see people out and about. Kind of sad, really.

How has Somerville changed?

The population of Somerville has definitely changed. Growing up, my family was the only one of South Asian heritage that I can remember in the community. Now, you will see people from every corner of the world. Davis Square itself has definitely become more "hip". I've traded my Big Mac for a Brie and Apple Crepe, my mint-chocolate chip cone for a Iced Chai Latte, and do my browsing at that funky little secondhand store instead of FFC. I love having dinner at Martsa on Elm before checking out a discounted movie or a concert at Somerville Theater.

Everytime I bring a new friend to Davis Square, I make sure he/she gets a good look at my tile! Along with my classmate and friend David Wolf, I had the honor of representing the Powderhouse Community School at the unveiling of the tiles. We met Joan Mondale, wife of then Vice President Walter Mondale.