Daniel Benoit

Tile image

Current name: Daniel Benoit

Age when this tile was made: 6

Where did you live when you made this tile?

Kingston Street

Where do you live now?

Malden, MA

Do you consider Somerville your hometown? Yes

What is your earliest Somerville memory?

Walking to Davis Square with my mother or sister Patti for Brigham's (now a Starbucks), McDonalds and McKinnons.

Playing one sport or another in front of my house, all day long. Tossing the football around with my brother Sean using the telephone poles as 'end zones' with the sidewalks as being 'out of bounds'. I walk down the neighborhood now and it's amazing how small the street really is.

I remember having a dollar in my pocket as I walked to Hodgkins' Spa (Tony's) and feeling I had all the money in the world. I'd get my two packs of baseballs cards for 50 cents, with money left over to choose from the wall of candy they had available.

How would you describe Somerville in the 1980s?

Blue collar, with a community feel to it. Looking back, it had its share of crime and problems but I always remember feeling safe in my neighborhood. And it truly was the last 'neighborhood' I've ever lived in. People generally got along and looked out for each other.

How would you describe Somerville today?

Some areas of Somerville (Winter Hill, East Somerville,) haven't changed a lot but West Somerville certainly has. The places of attraction in the square back in the day was Johnny D's, Redbones, and the old Rosebud. Other than that, the square was devoid of places for college students. I barely remember shows being played at Somerville Theatre. Now, its hosting major rock bands.

It's definately being filled with yuppies, which is sad in a way because it's nothing like the way it was. I came to realize this when the 3rd floor apartment that my family lived in was featured on the show Trading Spaces.

Still, I find Davis Square to be a fun place to hang out. It's walkable, and there is a little something for everyone. Within the trendy bars and restaurants, there are still enough landmarks (such as the old time bowling alley on Day St) that remain to still remind me of my youth.

Keep Verna's Coffee shop open !!!!

How has Somerville changed?

Yes, most would say for the better (especially if you own a home there). Nothing seems to stay the same though, does it?

I remember walking to the location where I drew this picture, and finding out a few years later that they were going to make a tile out of it.

I sometimes wonder how long these tiles will remain up, thinking they are already on borrowed time. I think it will be really cool if they outlive me, so whoever is in charge of this project, please keep them up!!!

Sadly, my artistic ability has not improved much since I was 6.