Old Ideas That Once Worked In Somerville

By Arthur Moore

I know most think that the good ol days ideas are gone and something our older people repeat to us over and over again but maybe some of that could be used for today’s challenges. When I grew up in Magoun Square, we had 2 supermarkets, 2 meat markets, 2 hardware stores. A number of small variety stores were in the area. Even at the top of Hinckley Street there was a hobby shop.

I know there were more places there but it was so long ago I can’t remember them all. But the point being we had everything at hand. We didn’t have to jump in a car to go anywhere most of the time as most of what we needed was at our fingertips. From there we moved down to Park Street, pretty close to the same thing. We had a small hardware store, variety stores, bakeries, meat market.

Johnnies opened up and we had a close supermarket. At that time I had youth so Union Square was not big deal for supermarkets, 5 & 10, fruit and vegetable market, 2 hardware stores and again, more than I can remember even though I was older. A clothing store on the corner of School Street is where I got most of my clothes. If you really wanted to do serious shopping just go to Davis Square.

There were so many places to do business with. The point being that having to use a car for essentials was hardly needed. Something that this city should have been doing in it’s vision to make it a truly walkable city. We just have so many things that we use daily that we have to hop in our cars and go to another city to get.

Granted now I am not so able bodied but I would have less driving to do on the road. When we are putting together a community we need a good workable plan. We are just tossing up housing units but not what we need to go with them. Just because some of us were from another era does not mean everything we had then was outdated. We can recycle some of these ideas of old.

Just because we have a large lot to build housing on does not always mean that is what should be built there. The everyday essentials should be part of this vision. It has to be planned for all ages and mobilities. I know that I look at things from my age and mobility issues. And I am sure young able bodied people look at it from another view.

For me I find I cannot go to Union Square, Davis Square, Somerville Ave, Beacon Street, Ball Square, Assembly Square and some of Winter Hill. Some people will understand this and plenty won’t. And I hope many will never know. It would also be good to set up meetings where we can discuss these things but another problem exists.

Most younger people work during the day and us elderly mostly do not go out at night. So even meeting up and discussing things to see each other’s side is difficult. So if you hear some older person talking about the good ol days that were good for us and some of it may be good for you.

I am no writer but I keep hoping we can find a way for all of us to work together and get along and get things working here.

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