Over Thirty Years in South Boston Featuring: Lynn Morris

By Carol Masshardt

(This series will introduce people who have called South Boston home for more than thirty years and others for three and under)

Any neighborhood would be lucky to have a Lynn Morris, and South Boston has been that for the past fifty-eight years. Working for over twenty-five years in Corporate and Event Marketing and Graphic Design, Lynn still manages to keep a loving and astute eye on the neighborhood where she was born, raised and lives. She represents the best of South Boston to those who have known her for generations and the many who move in from different states, cities, and countries. Her roots are deep but that doesn’t imply a lack of interest in new neighbors.

“I have had the bond of lifelong friendships; some established as young as in kindergarten through to the current day. My circle of friends remains through marriages, divorces, deaths, births. It is very rare, and I feel blessed,” she said.

Her stories of children playing on the streets until nighttime, and families looking out for each other, a sense of safety, and a steady faith could make it sound idealized, but that wasn’t all of what formed this remarkable woman.

“I was number five of six children. My father died when I was fourteen, and my mother, in the process with my father of buying the house where I now live, had to work full-time. She also went back to college. We had to contribute, and it was then that I realized how important it was to have a community,” she said.

Her mother, Mary “Marie” Morris got her college degree the same year Lynn graduated from high school and went on to be a most respected counselor for those struggling with mental health, substance use and family issues.

Lynn went on to graduate from Cardinal Cushing High and attended Bunker Hill, all while helping her mother maintain the family home they loved in South Boston. Both humble and persistent, she avoids the attention she well deserves and prefers to focus on meaningful values, and with a ready laugh and keen insights.

“Just yesterday I was walking and thought about how someone new would come here and think ‘this is so beautiful.’ I miss that it is was a hidden gem, but change is inevitable, and new people do bring a certain vibrancy and excitement,” she said. “As long as there is respect.”

Respect is at the heart of her relationship to the community, and she reaches out time and time again to a steady stream of new neighbors, finding whatever common quality there may be, and always offering to be helpful. She doesn’t resent people who may stay a bit and leave, though she prefers to see young people and families stay. Her thoughts are very much seniors don’t have what they need, and live with the anxiety of housing, food and connection.

“This is a home, and it can be for a short or long time, but there has to be respect for people who live here and are committed,” she said. Lynn learns everyone’s names and patiently repeats norms established for such things as trash and noise. She is remarkable in her ability to give the benefit of the doubt in the process. She is the first to know who is moving in or out, and her welcome even extends to utility workers drilling away!

Does community still exist? Lynn Morris doesn’t hesitate. “It does. I recently had surgery and in addition to my family, I had a number of neighbors helping out and checking in. It is just so important that people know each other.”

There are a lot of things Lynn Morris values, her family, friends, her art, and work. And, make no mistake, her South Boston community is large in her heart and mind. Bridging a changing community with all of its challenges begins with a simply stated but rare practice. “Introduce yourself, talk and offer to be helpful,” she said, and this is the message of welcome.