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The Real Housewives

November 2011

Photography by Becky Morley

Graphic Design by Lauryn Joseph, Angry Sheep

Sharon Butler-O’Dwyer
Education:  St. Augustines, South Boston High and Urban College of Boston – Associates, Cambridge College – Bachelors, Northeastern University:  Graduate School
 

Where did you grow up:

Grew Up in Old Colony and Old Harbor Projects before moving to I Street
 

Why I love growing up in Southie:
I would have to say the life long friendships that we have.  I have known most of my friends since I was a young child.  Although I have acquired many new friends throughout the years, my closest friends are the ones that I have been with since I was about 10 years old.  Some of their parents and grandparents grew up & hung out with my parents and grandparents, and now our children are close friends as well. There are not that many communities that can boast lifelong friendships through 3 or 4 generations.

Favorite Southie word, phrase or action:  
a “time”. Whenever someone in our community is down on their luck, needs some type of help, or just recognition, Southie comes together and throws a “time” in their honor.  Everyone gets together at a hall, sells tickets, raffles, donates music, food and other amenities to help this person out.  The outpouring of love and support is overwhelming and never ceases to amaze me.

Favorite New Spot in Southie:  
The new restaurant at the Cornerstone.  It’s delicious.

Favorite old school spot:  
Castle Island.  I try to walk out there at least 5 days a week (weather permitting).  I never get tired of the beautiful view.  Watching the people, the ocean, boats in the water, planes overhead and the beautiful green grass and flowers seems to make everything right with our world.  Walking towards the sugar bowl, you get the view of the ocean on one side and the City of Boston on the other. I always feel much better after enjoying all these things that some people take for granted.  I took my 1st grade class out there a few weeks ago on a field trip to see the USS Constitution turnaround.  I was bursting with pride sharing “my Castle Island” with them.  

What is the one part of the Southie female stereotype that you hate the most?:  
Every time they portray a South Boston woman in the news, the papers or a movie they show someone who is uneducated, unkempt and vulgar.  I take this personally. Most women in our community are very well spoken, well dressed and educated.  We take great pride in our appearance and in our families.  We have worked hard to get where we are in life and are proud of it.  Our mothers and grandmothers were a great example for all of us and we are proud of our heritage and upbringing.  We are teachers, doctors, lawyers, business women, business owners and proud parents.

What is the one thing you want the world to know about South Boston women?
The world should know that South Boston women are strong, independent, intelligent and proud of where we come from.

 

 

 

Courtney (Dahill ) Sheppeck

Education:

St. Brigid School, Boston Latin School, University of Vermont, Simmons College, and Lesley University – Masters in Ed.
 

Where did you grow up?:

East Broadway, between P and Farragut Rd.

Why do you love living in Southie?
In South Boston, you are never alone. I might be having a tough day with the kids and I can just head outside and I’ll see a familiar smiling face at Rite Aid, the park, or just on my block. When I walk around it feels great to just share a quick, “Hi! How are ya?” Plus, I love city living.

Favorite Southie word or phrase or action:
“Hanging on the corner.” Even though my teenage years are well behind me, not too many people, outside from those that grew up in Southie, understand this rite of passage. My father had a corner, my sister and brother both had a corner they claimed and any time I run into anyone that hung “up the Tynan” with me, we always have great memories to share.

Favorite new spot in Southie:
Bailey’s. Does that count? My husband only buys our coffee there. I am the only person at my work who comes in with a “C” for Courtney and a smiley face on my coffee every day. They know exactly how I like it. I also love the new Waterfront. I recently had my birthday dinner at DelFrisco’s and it was perfect.

Favorite old school spot in Southie:

Castle Island, Boston Harbor Yacht Club, and the South Boston Public Library. I love them all!

What is the one part of the Southie female stereotype that you hate the most?

I have never taken offense if someone who’s not from South Boston labels me, as a Southie girl. I’m never quite sure what they mean. If it means I love my neighborhood, my South Boston roots and are proud of all the loyal friends I have here, then I am definitely a Southie girl. But, if you want to insinuate that I’m uneducated, “rough” or a racist, then you don’t know me at all and don’t really know Southie at all and that’s o.k. with me. I’ll still wave to you anyway when you’re walking around Castle Island, because that’s just how I am. Southie girls are confident enough that we can defend ourselves with class and laugh at ourselves too! We are unique.  

What is the one thing you want the world to know about South Boston women?
We come from a long line of women supporting other women. My grandmother was the president of the South Boston Mother’s group that was a social group, but were also longtime friends and supporters of one another. They would have cleaning clubs that would take turns going to each other’s homes to get it cleaned and organized. The South Boston women that I know will forever come together to help each other out if one is sick or needs help in any way. South Boston woman are dedicated to their families, but also like to have fun, especially together. I am proud to be raising two Southie girls right now.

 

 

 

Sharon (Soutter) Asiaf       

Education: 

Studied at Salem State College
Where did you grow up:

West Peabody, MA
 

Why do you love living in Southie? 
What’s not to love?  I love walking out my front door and having a great park and playground one block away, and the beach two blocks away and Castle Island is so close. What other neighborhood can you walk to the beach and the Childrens Museum in the same day?  Southie has a real neighborhood feel, yet so close to the city.  My husband has a 7 minute commute to work.
My husband and I lived in Southie before we got married (seperatley of course).  After marriage we thought we would start a family in Southie and then move out to the suburbs, that’s what you do right?  Well 3 kids and 7 plus years later we are still here.  Before kids we knew and loved Southie as single young professionals.  We now know Southie as parents and its even better and we are sucked in!   

Favorite Southie Word or Phrase or action: 
Double Parking!  I don’t know how I would get my groceries or a sleeping child in the house if I couldn’t double park. Marking a spot is a close second!  After shoveling out a spot it makes it easier to make a run to the store in the evening knowing that I MOST likely will have a spot to park in (never a guarantee) when I return.  

Favorite new spot in Southie
American Provisions, Love the cheese selection!

Favorite old school spot in Southie
The Seapoint, I love how kid friendly they are.   With three children going out to dinner isn’t easy, someone is not happy or entertained.  The Seapoint makes it easy, great selection for the kiddos and for my husband and I to sit and eat a good meal, enjoy a glass of vino and when the kids get restless they can play a couple of video games it’s the simple things in life.

What is the one part of the southie female stereotype that you hate the most?  
That they are uneducated  and trashy

What is the one thing you want the world to know about South Boston women?  
That we are educated, professionals, moms – women who care about this town!

“Of course all of these answers would be different if I was still a single professional woman living in Southie!”
 

 

 

 

Kristin (Ivaska) Dearden
 

Education:
HS-Mount Saint Joseph Academy BA&MS Salve Regina University
 

Where did you grow up:
on East Broadway

Why do you love living in Southie?
Family; I live in a three family house with my uncle on one floor and my mother on another.  Plus my sister and her faimly still live in South Boston as well as Peter’s mother and father.

Favorite Southie Word or Phrase or action:
Tonic; I can not and will not say soda.

Favorite new spot in Southie:

As a busy mom of three, I rarely get to go out so I don’t have a favorite yet, simply getting out of the house is my favorite. Does Cafe Porta Bello count as new?  But I do appreciate that new places are opening up and bringing new life to the neighborhood.      

Favorite old school spot in Southie:  
This is going to sound odd and it is odd.  I like the smell of the bowling alley.   Not that I enjoy the stench but it has smelled the same way for as long as I can remember and that is nostalgic in a stinky sort of way.

What is the one part of the southie female stereotype that you hate the most?  

The tough girl routine combined with the swearing and drawn out exaggerated accent.    

What is the one thing you want the world to know about South Boston women?
Good Will Hunting was just a movie or it’s 2011, times have changed.

 

 

 

 

 

Beth (Maynard) Greene
 

Education:
Bachelor of Arts  Hamilton College
 

Where did you grow up:
Clifton Park, NY

Why do you love living in Southie?
I love the small town feeling that is part of a greater and more diverse city. I love the nostalgia people have for South Boston. I love that my kids are living in their great grandfather’s house.
 
Favorite Southie Word or Phrase or action:  
The Nicknames …… Dodo. Wacko, Bobo, Dudzo, Peaches, Taz, Twinkie, Sugar, Gronk, Croaker, Hook, Knocko, Hopper and Yapper … to name a few.
 
Favorite new spot in Southie
Papagayo on Summer Street. A great afternoon is taking the kids (mine are 6, 5, and 3) to the Children’s Museum until closing and coming over for an early dinner. The place is loud and they appreciate family dining and serve delicious margaritas!
 
Favorite old school spot in Southie
The Women’s L. Sorry gentleman- it is housewives only! It has new playground equipment and renovated bathrooms. The beach is the same as it was a generation ago when the women of South Boston used the L as their “getaway”.  It was a key to many happy childhoods and survival for women raising large urban families.
 
What is the one part of the Southie female stereotype that you hate the most?
That they all have bad teeth.
 

What is the one thing you want the world to know about South Boston women?
There are a lot of peacemakers here. Not every broad is looking to pick a fight- although if I catch you not cleaning up after your dog I might give you an earful …

 

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Co-host of Caught Up, storyteller, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.

Comments

  1. Sandy Concannon says

    Loved the story and know some of their parents!!!  Meeting my Southie friends for dinner next week at Amrheins!

    They truly are life-long friends!!!

  2. Dolley Carlson says

    Yes and amen to every word!  

    What classy, beautiful, and as my Grammy would have said, "Sharp cookie" ladies…each and every one!  

    God bless you for setting the record straight!  

    Although I live in California and have a Swedish last name:)…I'm a Southie girl through and through…

    My grandmother, Norah Catherine Foley King came from Ireland and raised her family on the holy ground of South Boston…

    I am so thankful that my late mother and her oldest sister, Rosemary shared their Southie stories of, as the "Housewives" stated…the incredible support and care the community had (and still does) for each other…wedding dresses were borrowed, funds pooled at a "time" for those in need, church was central and "a good parochial school education" a given…in these present times of economic challenge and many times, personal isolation…Southie could provide a precious blueprint for, once again, as my grandmother would have said, "lookin' after one another" & "gettin' the children in order" & "enjoyin' every minute of what God gave us – each other, work, the church and the sea." 

    Love & Blessings to all, Dolley Carlson – dolleyc@aol.com

  3. John Mulligan says

    Thank You the real LADIES of Southie for answering that vulger attack on the wonderful women ,wives and mothers that I grew up knowing and respecting and I know a couple of theese Ladies and they are a TRUE model of the real  women from Southie. Thanks again for classy dignified answer to the trash that put  the women from our town down.

  4. Dolley Carlson says

    Yes and amen to every word!

    What classy, beautiful, and as my Grammy would have said, “Sharp cookie” ladies…each and every one!

    God bless you for setting the record straight!

    Although I live in California and have a Swedish last name:)…I’m a Southie girl through and through…

    My grandmother, Norah Catherine Foley King came from Ireland and raised her family on the holy ground of South Boston…

    I am so thankful that my late mother and her oldest sister, Rosemary shared their Southie stories of, as the “Housewives” stated…the incredible support and care the community had (and still does) for each other…wedding dresses were borrowed, funds pooled at a “time” for those in need, church was central and “a good parochial school education” a given…in these present times of economic challenge and many times, personal isolation…Southie could provide a precious blueprint for, once again, as my grandmother would have said, “lookin’ after one another” & “gettin’ the children in order” & “enjoyin’ every minute of what God gave us – each other, work, the church and the sea.”

    Love & Blessings to all, Dolley Carlson – Formerly of Old Colony & St. Augustine Parish
    dolleyc@aol.com

  5. Margie Shaughnessy says

    These women are great representatives but could I ask “whats the criteria” to represent us? I may have missed all pertinent info & how one registers or signs up to be housewife but I still like an answer please. I ask this because for starters i would think you SHOULD be a South Boston native, born & raised, come on it’s hypocritical having an outsider? & Where is the athletic housewife, the Jock, we do have a Womens Sports Hall if Fame? God knows we aren’t rich so add an athletic housewife category thats where the tuff & hard come in. Don’t get me wrong I’m only asking question & giving my opinion, wondering the criteria? These girls I see & know are great choices & I love, lets stick to our roots, a native & I support the jocks, thanx
  6. Samantha says

    These are real ladies. I salute you girls for having such a courage to be a real housewive. Taking care of the house chores and kids is ultimately a hard job. you look great and more power to you 

     

    Samantha from Amazing News

  7. Karen Lee Hanson says

    Now that's what I call  confident & classy. (And exactly the kind of woman I expected my young neighbor, Sharon Soutter, to grow up to be!) Love your site, Ladies…

    Karen Lee Hanson

  8. Come on now says

    Given that nearly all of the women hated the stereotype that the women are uneducated, perhaps an editor would have been appropriate for this article. Come on now.

  9. Tim j says

    Thank you once again for giving me something enjoyable to read amongst all the rubbish, depressing and nonsense out there!

    You are a weekend saver C.I.S

  10. Dolley Carlson says

    In the early 1950's our family of five lived in Old Colony…My mother, age 25 at the time, waited tables four nights a week at Steuben's downtown while my father, a BPD patrolman baby-sat us children.  

    I'll never forget how fiercely my proud Irish mother balked when our insurance man referred to her as "a housewife."   And she quickly clarified, "Mr. Green, I am not married to my house…I am a homemaker.  I make a home for my husband and children.  Please correct your records."   Point well made!:)

     

  11. Southie says

    Do the vagrants, alcoholics and deadbeats I see every day walking down Broadway not count as real women of South Boston?  Or the ones buying a pack of smokes and 700 lotto tickets?

  12. Tim Malley says

    You girls are the best. All five of you look great, have great outfits and smiles. And are great representatives of Southie. 

  13. karissa says

    I think you should have to be from southie to be a “real housewife of south boston”  ones from new york..she shouldnt even be up there.

  14. JP says

    While I liked the story of “The Real Housewives”, isn’t it time for a new front page story on your website?

    This story has been on for too long. There are definitely many more stories about Southie that can be written.

    Please change the stories more often to make your website worthwhile to come back to.

    Thank you

  15. Maureen Dahill says

    Hi there!  I’m not quite sure what exactly you are referring too when you say a “new front page story”?  We have new stories on our homepage every day.  We also change our features (stories in the large box) on the homepage monthly.  Are you talking about the character page? If so, that changes monthly. 

    Thanks! 

  16. Jill says

    Love the Real Housewives on Brago……..love all the clips of the Southie Ladies!!! Keep it coming 🙂

  17. Jill says

    Love the Real Housewives on Brago……..love all the clips of the Southie Ladies!!! Keep it coming 🙂

  18. tovah says

    But interesting that the five people who “represent” South Boston are all white, straight, nondisabled (or at least not presenting themselves as anything but).

  19. Bruce parnellc says

    Hello, was wondering like others, why there is a ” housewive” who is not born and raised in Southie, and why there isn’t a graduate of the original Southie highschool. Also, why are they all from the east side of Southie? Why isn’t there someone from the ” poor” side of Southie? Someone who had to fight their way growing up, as far as being poor and going to public school. Not someone who had it easy growing up. I’m sure there women are all nice people, but I want to see someone born and raised on the WEST SIDE of Southie.
  20. Anonymous says

    Because the fact is, Southie is represented by all types. Not just people that grow up here. That’s the point. I actually was surprised there wasn’t another “new comer” type in the group. It’s very silly to cement the old stereo types that you have to be born in southie, poor and come through hardships to be a “Real” Southie resident. Embrace role models rather than stereotypes and be happy role models live in the neighborhood. Also you can’t determine who had it easy or hard growing up, that’s a very shallow viewpoint.   

  21. Kelley says

    I’m completely offended by your comments. I’m from southie originally. It’s not about the transplants that move in there. I grew up in the old colony projects. I never had a role model and I played hooky at school for almost a year straight. I am the youngest of 7 of our family, Irish bred. I take pride in everything from southie even though I no longer live there. Why? Because its full of college kids now and yuppies. There is barely any Irish pride left in the town. And, no I’m not a junky voicing my opinions. I’m a successful accounting analyst who makes about $10k more than most in my field. And I got pregnant at 17 and had my baby at 18 and have my GED. No college degree tho. Doesn’t make me an idiot because I know more about math than people who major in math in college. Yet, I’m from southie, youngest of 7 kids and completely poor. Grew up on Mac n cheese and bologna for dinners. My snacks were lettuce dipped in mayo. This is the true life of a successful southie girl with a real story behind it. Who wants to hear about the rich yuppie who just moved into town and, by that action, increase the rent on real southie people who are now forced to move out??
  22. Resident says

    I think this is a great representation….people need to accept is not what it was 20 years ago these girls are a great mix to show our neighborhood..who cares where you were born (more than half of our current residents were not born here)….oh and that doesn’t make you any more Irish than the rest of us- your “yuppie” friend who was born and raised in Galway
  23. Blah says

    First, I think the article is a great representation of the lovely ladies who still live and work in the home in South Boston every day. So Thank You!

    Second, for the commenters, what are you still in high school where the main agenda for the day is to hate on newcomers? Seriously, feel free to hate, that’s your right but it’s also called descrimination by the more educated folk. These women are living in Southie, so they ARE housewives of South Boston.