People In My Neighborhood

A blog about some residents of Nashua, New Hampshire

Livia Gershon

Livia Gershon
Nashua, New Hampshire, USA
June 21
To get updates from this blog on Facebook, please like this page: Or on Twitter follow @LiviaGershon. This is a blog about some of my neighbors. Like a lot of people who spend considerable time reading newspapers and websites, I sometimes feel I’m more familiar with the lifestyles of the kinds of people who show up in the lifestyle sections of the paper than with the lives of people who are way closer to my income level. This is an attempt to find out more about the working- and middle-class people around me. I live in Nashua, New Hampshire, which isn’t a poor city. The average job in the metropolitan area pays about $28 an hour, according to the state agency that collects that kind of information. Unemployment in the area is under 5 percent. But I’m continually astonished by how hard things are for many people I see every day. I chose people to interview for this blog pretty much at random. I didn’t pick them out because I thought their stories would illustrate a particular political or economic idea. They’re just people I saw around who were generous enough to talk with me.


Livia Gershon's Links

APRIL 25, 2012 10:45AM

The Rapper

Rate: 2 Flag

graffiti park

(Graffiti at a skate park near where I met Shawn Adams)

If you met Shawn Adams, it probably wouldn’t surprise you to learn that he’s an aspiring hip-hop artist. He’s 27, muscular and brown-skinned, and when I met him he was wearing a hoodie and a hat with graffiti-inspired logos that I knew I’d be able to recognize if I had half a clue about fashion.

Shawn said he’s been living in the neighborhood for eight years, and he hates it. He said the police harass him and his friends, something he thinks is racially motivated. He was walking with a friend when we started talking, and when I asked about the economy, his friend shouted that it’s easier to get arrested than get a job.

Shawn’s been out of work for nine months. Before that, he cooked for a restaurant in the area for two years. But then he got fired.

“I was sick and I had too many days off,” he said.

He said he could have taken a couple of sick days, but he got pneumonia and was out for two weeks. The restaurant didn’t hold a job for him.

“I was a good cook, too,” he said.

Because he was fired, Shawn said, he couldn’t collect unemployment.

“Fortunately I have a couple good friends helping me out,” he said, “A couple family members.”

Shawn lives with his girlfriend, who works reselling clothing on commission. I ask him if that’s enough to pay the rent.

“Some weeks,” he said. “Some weeks are better than others.”

He said he helps out, getting side jobs painting, but he’s behind on his bills.

Shawn said what he really wants is to get into the music industry. He said he splits his time between working on his music and applying for jobs. He’s tried Walmart and every other place he can think of with no luck. He figures if they have openings they’re calling back people they laid off over the last couple years.

“I think there’re pretty booked up as far as employees,” he said.

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
There are so many Shawns out there with so little hope of achieving many of their dreams. I pray for all of them.

Livia,Shawns friend is right...."his friend shouted that it’s easier to get arrested than get a job"..Rated with Thank you for sharing.