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.


Rosemary Reeves, Blogger, standing on Philadelphia Skyline

Sep 13, 2010

A British Housing Project Part Four

by Rosemary Reeves
I had just returned to my social housing unit after my first day in British school. Mom asked me how my day went and then remarked that she had invited the gypsy in for a long talk. “What could you two possibly have to say to each other?” I asked.
Mom ran the water in the kitchen faucet and started to wash the dishes. “I told the gypsy I understood what it was like to be poor,” she said as she scrubbed, “I told her all about Liddonfield Housing Project back in Philadelphia and how poor we were, that there were times we didn’t even have enough to eat.”
I picked up a dish towel so I could dry them for her. “You shouldn’t tell people that,” I replied, “and you shouldn’t have invited that gypsy in.”
“Why not?” she asked.
“Because, well..” I stumbled over the words because I knew in my heart it didn’t seem right. “They say gypsies steal.”
Mom looked shocked. “Rosemary, I’m surprised at you. Did you forget where you come from?”
“I’m trying to,” I remarked, “Anyway, isn’t that what you always told me? Never look back on Liddonfield. No good can come from that place, you said. You wanted better for me than that, remember?”
Mom thought about it. “Maybe I was wrong,” she said, “Maybe there are times when you should look back. Maybe then you won’t judge people because they’re poor, like those tinkers in the caravan. How can you possibly turn your nose up at them? I’m ashamed of you.”
I didn't want my mother to be ashamed of me. Mom would be doubly ashamed if she knew I lied to my schoolmates about being rich. “Okay, Mom,” I told her, “I’m sorry.”
Dad came home and poured beer into the dog’s dish again. “Jim, stop giving the dog Guinness,” Mom remarked, “It can’t be good for him.”
“Aw, he just wants his pint!” Dad replied.
Just then the doorbell rang. Mom answered it while I finished drying the dishes. I heard her speaking to someone. “Who was that?” I asked after Mom shut the door.
“That was one of the neighbors,” she said, “The residents of Corby Commons are circulating a petition to get rid of the gypsies.”
Part Five of A British Housing Project will be posted on Monday, September 20, 2010

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