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

Oct 3, 2011

Extraordinary Public Housing Mom

by Rosemary Reeves

One day when I was a teenager Mom declared, “I’ve led such an interesting life.  I’m going to write a book about it.”
“That’s a great idea,” I told her.  I couldn’t wait to read it.  I wanted to know what my mother’s life was like before I was born - her deepest thoughts, all her hardships and the many obstacles she had overcome through the years.  After about a week I asked, “So,  Mom, how’s that autobiography going?”
“Well, I’ve written one page,” she replied.
“Really?” I asked, “What about?”
She said it was about how she and her sister had a tug-of-war over a cookie when they both were little.  I read it and found it cute, but I was secretly disappointed.  I was hoping Mom would write something more exciting.  “Why only one page?” I wanted to know.
“Writing my life story was harder than I thought,” she said, “I just got stuck.”
I asked Mom to keep trying and she did, but the words just wouldn’t come.  She’d stare at the blank piece of paper in front of her, start a sentence, cross it out and get lost in the writing.  Another week passed and I inquired again, “Have you written any more of your life story, Mom?”
“No,” she answered, “Not yet.”  I kept encouraging her but she just said, “I’ll get it done one of these days.”  A long time passed and eventually I stopped asking.  Then I grew up and Mom became old.  Eventually, she was gone from this world, her life story still waiting to be written.
Mom never wrote her book, so I did it for her on this blog by merging my own autobiography with an undercurrent of hers. I called it The Liddonfielders (see the True Stories of Project Life page).  In it I included bits and pieces of her life as seen through my eyes.  I put into words the things she said and did and the hardships she had overcome.  Only by revealing the intimate details of her home life could the world know what an extraordinary woman she was.    I wrote what my mother wanted to, but could not.  It is finished.

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