By Joshua Qualls
Nancy Ahmadifar’s happily-ever-after story began with a housemate interview in 1975. It was a couple years after she moved to Mission Hill for grad school at Northeastern University. Her future husband, Mort, applied for a room, but he ended up with much more than that. They were dating within a year.
After retiring four years ago, Ahmadifar, 71, has since spent much of her time actively involved in the community. She’s been part of countless boards over the years, most recently as president of Friends of the Parker Hill Library. Above all else, she considers herself a friend and neighbor.
“I think for me the unpretentiousness of Mission Hill has been really appealing,” she said. “You can just be yourself, and people are nice to people.”
Ahmadifar and her husband, also 71, have owned their Sachem Street home since 1978 and currently have a house guest. Their 30-year-old son, Thomas, is an attorney in Washington, D.C. Ahmadifar said he doesn’t visit home often enough.
Mission Hill is wedged between several T stops on the Orange and Green Lines. That makes it highly accessible to other parts of the city. Ahmadifar can’t think of a better neighborhood to live in. But long-time residents have been leaving and she does miss families in the area.
“I could look out my window and see the kids playing street hockey on Oswald street,” she said.
When she first came to the neighborhood, kids could easily entertain themselves outside. Through the ‘90s, while Thomas was growing up, kids were always in the Ahmadifars’ yard or in their house.
Over the past 20 years or so, real-estate developers have bought up property and built new housing units in the area. Rent has increased, driving some families out of Mission Hill. Some things have improved, like the development of Brigham Circle and the addition of a grocery store. But nearby educational institutions, she said, are constantly expanding into the neighborhood.
“The amount of construction that is going on- almost every empty lot has been built up with something,” Ahmadifar said. Although she can’t be mad at students for looking for affordable housing near their schools, “sometimes it isn’t that compatible with the neighborhood.”