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July 19, 2008



They say that everything usually changes for the better. who's better. your street is not alone. I myself have seen the same on my street. Been here 40 plus years too. You talk about the old neighbors and friends, What about the new ones that move in. Do you know their names? Neither do I. There are no more "Neighborhoods" in Somerville. Who's better?

Somerville n00b

Jimmy, you are getting confused with the way things were a few years ago. Right now, stainless steel appliances and marble counter tops used just to jack up the price of a unit won't find many buyers, IMO. Even at your prime location. If these people are smart, they will go with basic, to keep the price down so they can find some buyer.

Frank Bucca

I have been saying goodbye to old neighbors for 77 years...same street, same house-[all five of us siblings were born IN this house]

For the most part, new ones come and go within a year or two.

51 houses on this, doubles, one 3-decker, and one 6-unit brick apartment house....built later on an empty lot.

Our neighborhood was no different than what Jimmy described for his old neighborhood.

Street games,-[no neigborhood city parks, other than Trum Field, Foss Park, and Dilboy... at the time.] Just empty neighborhood tracts of land, and grammar school-[grades K-6]- schoolyards]

When those grammar schools gave way to middle schools that was the beginning of the end for the tight neighborhoods....ours was the Bingham School on Lowell a multi-unit apartment complex.

A good many of those great teachers lived in the neigborhood.

What was, no longer is!!


This writer is a sign that the hype in the realestate market around here
is still going on. He's delusional. Boston area realestate is going to bottom out at 30-40% declines from the 2005-2006 hyped up (fake document /cash out/stated income/inflated appraisal/illegal alien
mortgages) prices. The party is over and nobody has told him. Davis Sq. isn't what it is cracked up to be. It's Union Sq. with more litter and
a Social Security Office where the people living off the syatem go.

Susan Rooney

Yes the neighborhoods are changing and maybe not necessarily for the better. But the condo-ized house next door has a lovely couple living on the first floor who have two children. The older boy stops by our house regularly to say "hello" to our kitty. Another house accross the street was bought by the new people (15 years ago) and they are very nice also, always enquiring after my mother's health and so on. Even with the downturn in the real estate market, these old houses are worth more than our parents ever dreamed. It's good that there are people still living in Somerville who remember those times. Keep posting Jimmy, and happy birthday.

Paul Boyle

Jimmy! Great article. I was one of the original PJ Five but I had no musical talent whatsoever! We must've been about 10 years old! We lip-synced the Dave Clark Five over and over. My backyard on Hall Ave was a dust bowl from us playing whiffle ball all summer. The fall turned to touch football between the only two telephone poles where there weren't any trees! My mom still has the house but she's in an assisted living/nursing home so my brother and sister (I now live in Maryland) do the up keep and collect the rent. Keep posting your articles. I love to go back in time every now and then! Paul Boyle


Dear Grog29.. you sound a bit bitter my friend. Must be nice to know everything.So I got some numbers wrong... Sue me . After all, I AM dillusional.


Hi Susan .. Nice to read your comments .Do you remember a young boy named Norman who use to serenade you near Oscar's Store?? And Paul...remember singing "Bits and Pieces " up and down the street? Your sister Donna use to babysit us. Take care... PS did you know my birthday was near ?? Jimmy

Mike Bonanno

Happy Birthday buddy. Keep up the great work.

Bill Shelton

Thanks for this, Jimmy. It puts a real human face on the gentrification and public policy stuff that I write about. It's also a very specific case that expresses why Save Our Somerville exists.

You write,"I know it's the circle of life and all that stuff..." Yeah, but it seems like that circle is spinning faster and faster and it's not taking us to a better place.

Here's a line from a song that you listened to about the time that you were playing those guitars in the back yard:

"There are places I remember in my life, and some have changed, some forever, not for better."


you know, it's funny - i moved in to somerville because i wanted neighbors, and guess what? i found them! that's right - i said hello and began chatting over the fence, talking about gardening and the weather and how summer has been. neighbors are what you make of them, and if you extend yourself instead of sitting around waxing nostalgic and wishing for your old neighbors, you just might make some new neighborhood friends.

i think it's funny that you (gently) complain about people turning the house into condos, but don't complain about the people who sold the house knowing that would happen.

Somerville n00b

Kathryn has this right! I'm new to Somerville and I already have many friends in the neighborhood. Sure, it takes time to cement relationships, but people are quite open. They are all busy people, but we can still find some time to talk. So, old-timers, stop getting nostalgic flashbacks when you are drunk. The city is different, but there are many new good people around. And very tolerant people, for what I can see. Perhaps that's what you are scared off?

Some Ole Villen

To Kathryn and n00b:
It is true that the new people couldn't have moved in if the old people didn't move out. Many of the old Somerville people who moved to the suburbs wish they could move back but can't afford it. Others fondly recall the good old days but are quite content where they now live. I have many nice people in my neighborhood who don't have roots here the Ville. The problem as I see it is that the people who are moving in do not have children or if they do they generally move out when their children reach school age. This trend does not bode well for the long term future of Somerville.

Somerville n00b

Perhaps they don't have children because they cannot afford them. If they had children they'd have to live somewhere else less expensive too. It seems to me that this is just called being financially responsible. You cannot have everything in life. And if they move out because the public schools suck, just blame the sclerotic school system, where seniority is valued over talent.

My Two Cents

To Noob: Why do you make the assumption that someone's nostalgia was caused by being drunk?
To Kathryn: Perhaps he didn't complain about the people who sold the house 'knowing' (your assumption)it would be turned into condos, because they might not have wanted to sell. Anyone on a fixed or limited income is finding it very hard to stay in Somerville because 'gentrification' has caused taxes to rise. Many cannot afford the new tax rate, and the house is the only real asset they have. For many it is not a choice, but a necessity.
To the others who say you should just talk to your neighbors: Most of the so-called old-timers in my neighborhood are very friendly to newcomers. With some it is reciprocal, with others not. Many will not return a smile or a hello when offered. They are too busy working, and checking out the Davis Square nightlife. That's what they're here for, and they have little interest in making friends among older neighbors.

Another One Cent

I'm glad I moved to Billerica.

Yorktown Street

Two words for people who want to bring old and new neighbors together: block parties!

Frank Bucca

To noob:
Who wrote on 7/25/08 "So old-timers stop getting nostalgic flashbacks when you are drunk."

I'm an old-timer, going on 78 y/o.....funny thing, I posted "nostalgic flashbacks".....after drinking water, cranberry juice, and diet drinks all week long. So who needs expensive alcohol get a "buzz" on.

I wonder....what was the "status" of the neighborhoods that you and others decided to leave and come to Somerville?

You wrote/indicated us "old-timers" are "scared" of something?? or other??....Really??

The day will NOT come when new-comers to Somerville will "scare" me out of a house that me and my four siblings were born in; and has been in my family for five generations....and I have lived in with my Bride of 55 years, and raised our kids, for all of my upcoming 78 years on this earth.

My Bride born and raised in Somerville also.
Somerville High School, 1948, we met.

Yes...that's my real name on this post.
What "scares" you to not post yours?

Maybe if you get "drunk" you will get/find the courage to do so.

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