Ode to Urban Artifacts: The Quintessential Somerville Tire

Tire at the foot of Prospect Hill. © The Middle Ground, 2012

Today I found a Tire at the foot of Prospect Hill,
With it came a flood of memories, rolling with me still.

As kids, we’d find them tires in empty parking lots,
Take ’em out of dumpsters, or fill ’em with some rocks.

We’d haul them up the summit, to the top of Prospect Tower,
Then roll them off the landing, to make our day less sour.

If we found a big one, time to take a ride,
Double dare. Say a prayer. Climb on inside.

We might get caught, or have our fill,
Death traps are fun, but cars can kill.

Today I found a Tire at the foot of Prospect Hill,
With it came a flood of memories, rolling with me still.

If it isn’t obvious, I thought of this silly little diddy when I came upon an old tire at the foot of the hill today. I snapped the picture and started rhyming, which made for an entertaining walk home.

There always seemed a disproportionate amount of tires and shopping carriages in my neighborhood and its environs. I’m not sure whether Somervillians were leaving carriages and tires behind, or if residents of surrounding cities just used Somerville as a dumping ground. I’d suspect a mixture of outsiders and native hooligans. Though undoubtedly urban eyesores, tires and shopping carriages made for endless juvenile fun. Like tires, shopping carriages from DeMoulas provided joyrides and shenanigans. These ‘carriage rides’ came to an end though when a particularly foolish chap, let’s call him ‘John,’ took a ride down from the top of Prospect Hill at Monroe St. to ‘Dead Man’s Curve’ at the bottom of Prospect Hill Parkway where it meets Columbus Ave. He survived relatively unscathed, but it was a bloody mess, enough to become a teachable moment. Looking back, it’s pretty remarkable he made it and that there were no incoming cars.[1] Nowadays, you’d be hard-pressed to find many carriages, given the magnetic locking devices that prevent removal from lots. Tires, too, are scarce, which is why I was oddly delighted to find this one. The disappearance of such urban artifacts seems just another indication of the city’s changing atmosphere.

[1] Years later I worked with said ‘John’ at one of the youth programs in the city. Consequently, I could never shake the memory that he was THAT kid who took a joyride down the hill and lived to tell the tale.

© The Middle Ground, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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