Evan M. Lopez
From 1958 to '67, Reeves grew up in Liddonfield, the housing project that's now a vast, empty field on the edge of Upper Holmesburg. She blogs about the bad old days at publichousingstories.com.
City Paper: What's it like to go back there now?
Rosemary Reeves: It does look beautiful, like a park in the middle of the city. However, they have fenced it in, and the fence reminded me of the fence around the project ... [and the] rivalry between the projects and the homeowners. ... There was a story about a golfer who would play golf right in the middle of the children's baseball game. They would ask him, "Why ... break up our game like that?" And he said, "I'm a taxpayer and my taxes pay for your parents to live here, so I can do whatever I want."
CP: What do you hope readers of publichousingstories.com will take away?
RR: When a lot of people think of Liddonfield, they only think of the crime and drugs in its recent history. They forget that there was a time when housing projects were a comfortable place for low-income families. ... Most of us were very happy, and we didn't even really know we were poor until we ventured outside the projects.
CP: What kind of response have you had?
RR: Heartfelt comments, thanking me for keeping the memory of Liddonfield alive. ... [Before], I didn't talk about my housing project background. ... In America, people are very reluctant to talk about social class. Now, with the Occupy movement, it's the first time Americans are really talking about income disparity.