Althea is surrounded by butterflies. They adorn her walls, rugs, vases, picture frames, and refrigerator. An 80-year-old lifelong resident of Lower Roxbury, Althea has been living in her butterfly-filled apartment for over 60 years. She was present when Commonwealth Land Trust (CLT) assumed management of the property in 1985 and is a valued member of the CLT community.
“CLT’s Lower Roxbury Apartments are a good place to raise a family,” says Althea, who raised a daughter while working full-time in various government agencies, including the Department of Revenue and the Executive Office of Senior Affairs. “There are lots of shops nearby and I’m close to public transportation, so it’s easy to get around. My neighbors have always been considerate and my daughter has several friends in the area.” Her daughter continues to live in Boston with her husband and stepsons. “I enjoy the roominess of my apartment and I like that it’s a small building,” says Althea. “If I lived in a large building filled with tiny matchbox apartments, I don’t think I’d be very happy or comfortable.” In addition to working and raising her daughter, Althea was an accomplished seamstress and singer. Her dresses were modeled at local fashion shows and she sang regularly on radio and television programs. She also enjoyed traveling and went on many road trips. “I’d drive from here to Florida to California,” says Althea. “I’d stop in every state, so I could say I’ve been there. I’ve had a good life.”
Today, Althea enjoys visiting her daughter and poring over albums of her days spent traveling, singing, and making clothes. Although arthritis and other health concerns prevent her from enjoying many of her former pastimes, she still enjoys spending time in her apartment. “I’m at the age where a lot of noise bothers me, so I really appreciate the quietness of it.” says Althea. She also values CLT’s supportive housing and maintenance departments. “They have been very good to me. If I have any problem, they take care of it in short order.” Despite being so well traveled, Althea has never envisioned living anywhere else. “I always wanted to live here,” says Althea, tapping her hand on her kitchen table. “Right here.”