People of Chelsea: Tyson Graham and Darby Kirven

By Darlene DeVita

(The following is one in a series of sneak peeks at the upcoming People of Chelsea additions by Photographer Darlene DeVita. The new work will ultimately appear on the fence of the Chelsea Public Library (CPL) this fall in a collaboration between the People of Chelsea project and the CPL.)

We moved [here] in the middle of the pandemic. Everything was all crazy and uncertain, so we found apartments online and found a place in Chelsea. We originally wanted to make a few trips up, but with the pandemic we didn’t want to travel. We saw a video of the apartment and rented it. We were aware that it was largely an immigrant community. I loved the industrial-ness of it and, it’s kind of rugged in a way. I love that about towns and people. 

We’re both from South Carolina. We met in Columbia when Darby was in college. I was managing a coffee shop, and I [Darby] would study there. 10yrs later, we got married, and here we are.  

Our families have never left the south. They were very worried, particularly about the reputation of Chelsea in particular and being a pandemic hotspot. I was like, this is the right decision, it’s going to OK, don’t believe everything you hear or see. I’m pretty stubborn about that. I remember driving across the Tobin bridge, it was a cold rainy April day, and it was surreal. It was a difficult time for Chelsea. It was all so early in the pandemic, not knowing.  How long is this going to last? What are the right things to do? It was so strange; everyone was freaking out, well like now, cases are rising. 

We’ve enjoyed Chelsea. We talk to this park every day [Mary O’Malley], we live 5 mins from here on Pembroke St. 

We picked Chelsea because Darb’s job is on the North Shore, but we didn’t want to be far from Boston.   I [Tyson] have a studio space in Mudflat studios in Somerville. I’ve been making pots there and selling online.  

We’re so fortunate in so many ways. It’s all about perspective. And here we are now, walking our dog!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *