Sean Paige

Tile image

Age when this tile was made: 10

Where did you live when you made this tile?

Holland Street - between Davis and Teele

Where do you live now?

Andover, MA

Do you consider Somerville your hometown? Yes

What is your earliest Somerville memory?

My earliest memories of Somerville are walking the dogs with my Grandmother. She stood a whopping 5 feet tall and regularly walked her 2 large dogs (Toby and Buffy at that time) through "the square". She did this almost daily for years. We would walk past Hodgkin's Spa (Tony's) and the Venice. Past the diner, over the tracks (now the bike path and T station) and by the movie theater. We'd stop into Fannie Farmers on occasion and eventually turn around at Ming Toy or Goff's Auto (across from Steve's Ice Cream- Cutter Square). I also remember lighting snakes (the little black cylinders that foam up when you light them) with Billy Petras (we still stay in touch) behind the Western Junior High. We must of been 5 or 6 at the time. Those were the days when a kid could buy cigarettes, smoke bombs and sparklers at the local convenience store. The good old days!

How would you describe Somerville in the 1980s?

Somerville was a blue collar town...pretty diverse but with large populations of Irish and Italian. Most homes were 2 and 3 families. Like us, more than one generation commonly lived in a house. I remember a lot of kids in the neighborhood; there never seemed to be a lack of people to hang out with.

How would you describe Somerville today?

My family still lives in Somerville so I go there often. My brother lives off Winter Hill - which has changed - but not as dramatically as Davis Square where my Mom still lives. Some areas of Somerville still seem, at least on the surface, much as I remember them 20 years ago. As a whole however, I have to agree with many of the other comments that Somerville today is much like Cambridge used to be. Real estate near Davis Square is pretty pricey. I'm hoping to take advantage of the hometown relocation portion of the federal stimulus package so that I can afford to move back there.

How has Somerville changed?

Similar to most places, Somerville has changed since the 80's. Multifamily homes are mainly rentals and high priced condo's. There are some trendy bars and some good eats now. Davis square has a young, hip feel to it - it's a pretty cool place. The theater is barely recognizable from the run down old place where I first saw (Raging Bull, The Bridge Too Far and later the annual midnight showing of Dawn of the Dead). The railroad tracks, and the miles of construction zone that followed them (I learned to ice skate on a giant construction puddle near the old pillow factory), have been replaced with a bike path that extends all the way to where I currently work, in Bedford. My kids love riding bikes on the path and I run it regularly (although not in Somerville). Hodgkin's Spa is gone but Tony is still around. I saw him a couple weeks ago...he hasn't change at all. It was good to see him.

30 years ago I really didn't think too much of the tile project. I remember Mrs. Mitchell telling us when we're older we'll appreciate it. She was right. Thank you.