Mary Beth Meehan

Styles – Providence, RI

Styles – Providence, RI

Styles remembers being a child in Wakefield, growing up in a small cottage near the ocean, with an outhouse at the back and a fire burning in the pot-bellied stove. He and his cousins would ride in the back of his grandfather’s truck to Narragansett Beach, or run through the woods to dive into a fresh-water pond.

It wasn’t until he moved to Providence, in fourth or fifth grade, that he realized he was a Narragansett Indian. “When you’re a kid you’re just growing up. You don’t know nothing about whether you’re this or that.” When he enrolled in school he was asked: What are you – Italian? Irish? He had to ask his parents how to answer the teachers’ questions. “I didn’t know what they were talking about.“

He got through high school and went to trade school, learning to plaster and do drywall. He had a son. Now sixty years old, he lives in a small apartment in the North End, which he shares with two roommates.

“The last couple of years I haven’t worked too much. I’m doing nothing and don’t want to do nothing. I worked long enough. I’m tired.”

“I’m not rich. My parents were poor. My grandparents were poor. But I never went really hungry. I always had food. I’m happy. I have no wife to worry about, no wife to take my money. I got enough money to take care of Styles – that’s it.”