By Audrey Wang
“I lie all the time, so I have to figure out which is my real age,” said 79-year-old Maureen Kelly with a broad, toothy smile.
Kelly grew up in Mission Hill and lived there for 21 years.
“I lived on 839 Parker Street and Tremont,” Kelly said. “We were the first tenants of the Mission Hill Projects when they were first built.”
She left the neighborhood in 1959 after getting married, but has always felt at home in Mission Hill.
“The best part was and is the community, the life-long friends that you made. I still see my friends; we get together every 3 or 4 times a year. In between, we come to the wakes, the funerals, what not,” Kelly said.
Kelly is a retired elementary school teacher. Like Mission Hill, Kelly remembers her former students fondly. “I miss them everyday,” she said. After retiring, Kelly and her husband tried moving to Cape Cod, but she “couldn’t stand the isolation in the Cape.” So they moved back inland, to Wakefield.
She comes down to Boston often, just to spend time in her beloved neighborhood and pick up the latest copy of the community newspaper, The Mission Hill Gazette. “I go back here to the park, Kevin Fitzgerald Park- I knew Kevin,” Kelly said, excitedly.
When asked about the biggest challenges that face Mission Hill today, Kelly spoke about the newest residents: students and young professionals. “They should get to know their neighbors too,” Kelly said. “If they would get more involved in the neighborhood, they have a lot to offer. And that would be helpful.”
Nearly 60 years after moving out of Mission Hill, Kelly’s most vivid memories are still from her childhood with her siblings and neighbors. “We are a real community, helping and giving and participating,” Kelly said.