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Meredith Circle

JOHN GILLOOLY | Massachusetts, United States

Meredith Circle is a look at a neighborhood at one point in time - 2014-2020. We moved to this street as an intentional effort to give our children a "neighborhood experience." These scenes have been going on for decades, with new sets of kids replacing the old. But in this era, and maybe location, this type of neighborhood has become less common. This type of youth experience has become more rare. Pre-schoolers to teenagers. Boys and girls. Running, screaming, playing - across yards and properties. Free time, outside, unstructured play. Maybe still common throughout the world, but not here. Not now. Not in an age of video games, the professionalization of sports and activities and hyper-concern for safety and structure. I'm appreciativeour kids got to live this. It's an important thing that we are losing.

From the day we moved to Meredith Circle in the spring of 2014, I knew the daily images on the street were the beginnings of a longterm project. These are my favorite type of images - the type that grow over time and take on different meanings as the subjects move through life.

In every era, the older generations glorify the simplicity of “their day” - the days of their youth. This current generation of youth has faced a perfect storm in this regard. Video games entice kids to spend hours alone in their basement. Unstructured play has become more rare. Less invention of things to do. Sports at every level have been over-organized and professionalized. In the 1980’s, we played Little League baseball for 2-3 months in the spring. But you might see regular neighborhood baseball games all summer throughout neighborhoods on various irregular, unique “fields.”

My most memorable field was at my cousin’s house at 66 Gary Road in Brockton - the side front yard of the 1/8th of an acre “Campanelli.” Home plate was a worn patch in front of the rusty chainlink fence. First base a raised portion of rock. Second base the sewer cover in the middle of the street. Third base, a thin tree on the neighbor’s property line. Wood and aluminum bats and a tennis ball. A home run sailed over the Kilgallon’s house across the street, protected by their “attack” dogs that made the “Sandlot” seem very real to me. That ball was gone. Six to twelve kids was common - from all around the neighborhood. Hours of games. When we tired of baseball, a football game might break out. Or maybe riding bikes around the neighborhood or to Cumberland Farms.

The same story for hockey, football, basketball, soccer - and every other sport. But for this generation, there are year-round teams for all of that. AAU/Elite teams seemingly ranked by half the letters of the alphabet. Paid coaches promising a higher level of play and regional competition that involves driving your nine-year-old an hour-and-a-half to play against another set of equally skilled nine year olds. And pressure to play on those teams, because well, if you don’t……... This is before we even enter the real discussions about safety - the safety of just roaming around outside.

For me, Meredith Circle represented a conscious choice to live on a street that offered as much of all that free play as possible. There was something so heartwarming about returning on a nice spring day and having to park on the street because there were 15 kids playing in the driveway. A game of four-square featuring neighborhood kids from 4 to 15. Boys and girls. Yelling, screaming, running - the sounds of childhood echoing through the neighborhood on a daily basis.


Johnny and his buddies built a nine hole golf course across three yards. Thirty-forty yard tee shots with real golf balls. Tournaments with kids and parents. A refuge for many of us as we navigated Covid. I recall walking outside and seeing 45-year-old men descending upon our driveway for the latest installment of the Meredith Greens Classic. One club in hand - maybe a small cooler-bag on the other shoulder.


This show represents some of that magic that happened over a five-seven year period when my kids were in the prime years of that outdoor play. While they have mostly moved on from that, there are new packs of kids running. The same scenes happening all over again.


These neighborhoods are sprinkled around every town. They still exist, but you almost need to make a decision to seek out and live on one of those streets that offers up this environment. We found it and I am grateful. The images in this show are a first pass at a very large collection of images that grow and change with each passing day. I hope they bring you some joy.

John Gillooly



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