Stories about life in Liddonfield housing project and its impact on the Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood of Upper Holmesburg. These true stories reveal how government policy affected the lives of real people, from the project residents to area homeowners during the 5 decades of Liddonfield’s existence. Stories and articles are written by a former resident of the project.
Aug 9, 2010
Does Religion Cause Poverty? Part Three
My maternal grandmother was born in Ireland and that gave Mom dual citizenship. I was so eager to leave Carwithan Road I couldn’t pack my bags fast enough. At last I could escape our judgmental middle-class neighbors for a faraway place where no one knew I used to live in the notorious and much maligned Liddonfield Housing Project. My parents sold the house and used their equity to finance the move. Mom had made arrangements ahead of time to rent a house in County Cork. Ireland was beautiful. The house was lovely. It even had a name. “Fahalea.”
It was in a rural area, two miles from the nearest town. There were cows grazing behind a fence only a few feet away from the side door. I watched the cows through the kitchen window while eating breakfast in the morning. There were no streets, just a dirt road that led into a town called Carrigaline. Shortly after arriving in Ireland, I walked with my sister along the dirt road. I was shocked by what I saw. A pregnant woman who was obviously poor was strolling past a farmhouse with five barefoot children in tow. She couldn’t even afford to buy her children shoes and yet she was having another despite her poverty. My heart just broke right then and there. I had known poverty myself, but not like this.
It was 1976 and the government of the Republic of Ireland was strongly influenced by the Catholic Church. In adherence to church doctrine, birth control was illegal in that country. Unable to limit the size of her family, that poor woman was trapped in a cycle of poverty from which there was no escape.
To be continued. Part Four will be posted on Monday, August 16, 2010