METCO Memories

I was used to real food with a lot of flavor, a lot of life to it, and I used to say, “Man, I can’t eat your food.” And it was a joke between all of us. And so, we started this thing where they’d come to my house and eat my mother’s and my aunts’ breakfasts that would go right into lunch. 

And I still do remember that moment when they said, “Sure, let’s go to your place.” Their parents thought it was a good idea and so it kind of started, this sharing around food. Our house, it was so alive, full of people and kids in and out, little feasts all the time that kept on running. And their meals, they were quieter kind of weekends, but they really came over to my world and they had to learn to fit in, mix with my crowd. It was a good thing, and that memory sort of lasts.

— Mike Carter, METCO graduate

We were hosts for a METCO student to come to Driscoll Elementary School, a K-8 school in Brookline, in the early days of METCO. The boy’s name was Charlie, and he came from a large family that lived in Dorchester. He was in the same class as my son, David, and often came over to the house after school and played. Sometimes he was picked up by a parent; sometimes we drove him home after supper; sometimes he stayed overnight and they both spent time doing homework before going to bed.

On at least one occasion in the summer, Charlie joined us on a trip to Cape Ann, where we went tidal pool wading, hunting for shells, stones, and small crustaceans. I also took David and Charlie to a Red Sox game. David and Charlie’s friendship lasted through eighth grade, when my son went to Brookline High and Charlie went to one of the Boston high schools.

Three years ago, long after everyone had flown the nest and I was no longer living in Brookline, I was in the neighborhood and stopped by just to visit the old haunts. Walking around in back, where there is a large joint parking area, a car slowly drove in. Spotting me, it stopped and Charlie jumped out. He had come with his wife. He wanted to show her this place in Brookline where he had felt so welcomed by a family and what a difference it had made in his life. All I could say was how much we had enjoyed having him come to our house. I asked, “Do you remember the night we went to the Red Sox game?” “How could I forget?” he said.

Charlie went on to college at UMass Boston and was working in business. He and his wife were putting off having children until they had saved up enough money to get a house of their own.

– William Barclay, former Brookline parent

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