MEMOIRS OF SCHOOL STREET VILLAGE

Thanks so much for the great response to this blog!
A special thank you to those who have passed it on to others. We are heading quickly to amazing page visits to this blog! Welcome to folks from all over the country and other countries as well, including Lisbon!!

The "Village", as it was called, is located in the northwest corner of the city of Taunton, Massachusetts U.S.A. It covers about 1 square mile with the center being School Street. A large portion of the Village population was Portuguese when I was growing up.

This blog covers a lot of the history of the Village, much to do with my years as a child there: 1940 through the late 1950's. I do have many wonderful photos and information prior to that that and will share those as well. Always looking for MORE PHOTOS AND MORE STORIES TO TELL.

If you would like to send photos or share a memory of growing up in the Village
e-mail me at spinoart@comcast.net
feel free to comment on the posts. Directions are on the right side of the blog posts. Jump in, the water is fine and it is easy!!!


I will be posting photographs but not identifying individuals unless I have permission or they are a matter of public record. It you wish to give me permission, please let me know.

I am looking for any and all photos of the Village...

Please note: the way blogs work is that the latest post is first. It you would like to start from the beginning of the blog, check out the post labels on the right of the blog and go from there. Thanks.


Saturday, April 9, 2016

TELLING A NEW TALE OF CAMP MILES STANDISH !

In 2013 I wrote a series of posts about Camp Myles Standish, an embarkation depot and P.O.W Camp in Taunton during World War II.  The coming of the Camp saw the "war came to Taunton." Using eminent domain 1600 acres of farmland were taken from their owners to serve the war effort.

A large part of the research and writing of my previous posts in 2013 was the romance and wedding of my Aunt Alveda and her husband Ziggy Napieralski, he a soldier in WW II and she a native of the Village in Taunton.They were married the year after the War ended in the Village in Taunton.





 This  post will tell you more about the Camp in those years and add yet nother romance to its history. To set the stage, you can find my earlier post at this link:

       http://schoolstvillage.blogspot.com/2013/03/the-village-and-love-story-camp-myles.html
              There are 5 posts following this one (newer posts) all related to this story.

The post I am writing today was occasioned by Melanie Capriotti whose mother, Jacqueline, (nee Tremblay) had been a telephone operator at Camp Miles Standish and who had met her future husband in Taunton.  Meeting the daughter of that mother and collaborating with researching the subject was a fine experience and the way I love to write my posts. Knowing that her mother, in her 90's, would read and relive it is a joy.  Jacqueline was born  at home in Arlington, MA, 6th of 8 children. She graduated from Arlington High School in 1943.

In this case, we are not speaking of a Tauntonian or a Villager. We are actually speaking of a temporary Tauntonian, one who lived in Taunton in some of its most fascinating years. The young woman who came to Taunton during the war years was hired to be a telephone operator at the camp.

Many of us can remember the 40's when telephone operators worked like these women below in 1943, manually plugging in caller to caller.  Imagine the size and importance of the switchboard at a large military camp and its importance.



Those young women would have been carefully vetted for that task, We are certain the gal whose story we tell here was as well.

                I introduce you to Jacqueline Tremblay, this is her 1943 high school photograph.'Jacqueline was born at home in Arlington, Main March of 1925, 6th of 8 children.  She graduated from Arlington High School in 1943. Below is her high school graduation photograph.

Jacqueline's story as told to her daughter breathes new life into what we know about Camp Miles Standish during the war years with a totally new aspect of those who served and worked there.







Like my Aunt Alveda and Uncle Ziggy, Jaqueline met her husband, George in Taunton. They
actually met on Taunton Green where each weekend there were band performances.

This is George's 1941 high school graduation photograph. George was born in nearby
Fall River, MA. in 1923, graduating from Durfee High School in 1941.  
He passed away in 1946 in 
Seeking, MA.





Below is their engagement photo. George Mycock did not work at the Camp.
He was from Freetown/Assonet often going to Taunton with his buddies. That is how he and Jaqueline met. If she had not been working at the Camp, destiny would not have had its way. .George was 4F due to flat feet and a perforated eardrum.When he went to Canada on a family trip, he
wrote to his lady each day. She still has them.

Imagine all the other young couples who met at that Camp or its environs in those years..
It was a huge military complex and occasioned many visitors also
to the city of Taunton.  Young people love meeting other young people.




Many of the young women coming to work at the Camp stayed with relatives or with those who would accept a boarder.  Jaqueline was housed with the Widow Babbitt who was very particular as to the girls she accepted to board with her.  Mrs. Babbitt lived at 5 Summer St. in Taunton.
Jaqueline recalls that she got along very well with her landlady and tells us that she would wash Jaqueline's hair for her and they would talk for hours. 

 Jaqueline also remembers her incredulity that they were allowed go to any restaurants in town and order whatever they wanted, just sign the check and it was paid for.  Coming from a poor Irish family that was a quite a treat.  She said that they were allowed to go to the the Officer's Club for dances but not allowed to go to the Enlisted Club. They were careful and watchful of the girls providing bus service to and from the Club.  They were expressly forbidden from accepting rides from the men stationed there at the Camp.


The photograph below is of all of the switchboard operators at
Camp Myles Standish in 1943. It is a precious momento of  the young women who
worked the switchboards at the Camp and kept it functioning smoothly. Some were from Taunton, others came from other places to gain valuable experience in this field. Women were a vital part of the war effort, as we know from such stories as Rosie the Riveter. They freed up the men for
combat in Europe and elsewhere.




                      Did the best I could in enlarging the left side of the above photo....perhaps it will
be easier with your magnifying glass...




                                                      Right sided photo enlargement





Hard for us, in this digital age, to think about telephone operators of the "old Days" and their role in peace and in war.

Communication at all times is paramount to keep a society running in an orderly manner. It is even more important in wartime. In researching this post, I came upon an obituary of another telephone operator in those war years: Margaret P. Stewart, age 90 years, a native of Haverhill, MA. During WWII Margaret served as a telephone operator at Camp Edwards, Otis Air Force Base and Camp Miles Standish. She was then employed for 36 years by New England Telephone Com. She was a member of the telephone pioneers of America. She may even be in the above photo.

Below is our gal with other switchboard operators at the camp. She is third from the right in the first row. Next to her was a good friend, Synnove Strom on her left.  Synnove was from Norway and returned there not long after they all left the camp when the war was over.



Each time we receive another bit of the history of Camp Miles Standish, we build upon that fascinating period of history in Taunton. When the story is a personal one, it makes it even more interesting.  I am hoping that some of our readers will be able to add to this, perhaps recognizing someone from the photos or adding another story.

When we dip into a bit of history, like following the the crumbs left by Hansel and Grettal we are led to so much more history.  That is what happened to this post. It opened many doors. I invite you to peek into more history by perusing the links provided at the end of this post. They add to our knowledge of that time.  I also include a link to the Telephone Pioneers of America and the Hello Ladies of World War I. I  found it a wonderful read.



      I thank Melanie Capriotti and her mother, Jaqueline Mycock for sharing memories with us.
........................................

*This is a very interesting video about more details of Camp Myles Standish Military Base.
https://vimeo.com/128491788

This site has the above video but with the text.
http://news.wgbh.org/2016/03/25/local-news/ghosts-world-war-2-pows-haunt-taunton-industrial-park

History of Telephone Operators
http://www.vintag.es/2015/12/vintage-photos-show-hictory-of.html

The Hello Girls of WW I-Telephone operators in the military - a terrific read!
http://www.worldwar1.com/dbc/hello.htm

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pioneers,_a_Volunteer_Network

Friday, March 11, 2016

LET'S READ MORE ABOUT THE CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE

A common problem with historians and collectors of documents and photographs is organization. It is a continual struggle to place items where they belong and can be found at a later date.  Sometimes I win on this, and sometimes I lose.  Such is the happenstance with this wonderful photograph of the fifth grade 1946 Class at Fuller School below.  I had misplaced it and thus it did not get its rightful placement in the last post.


Fuller School Fifth Grade Class of 1946




 The accompanying roster of names includes the teacher who was before my time.  Her name: Mynette Briody Dewhurst. She was the morning teacher going between Fuller and School Street School.  School Street School was way up the top of School St. near downtown (there is an oxymoron for you...up downtown.)She also, the article states, taught many years at Cohannet School in Taunton.

A found photograph  and new thoughts to add to our story of the Children of the Village.

A Fuller School and Village classmate of mine, Cynthia, found this bit of paper among her things.  A child's writing in shaky cursive learning that good deeds can come from that little wooden schoolhouse.  A positive beautiful sentiment.  There are so many thoughtful aspirations that we learned...so often forgotten by too many in this contentious day and age. Lined paper, handwritten painstakingly - the good deeds written over as if to emphasize.

                                    This puts all our class photos in a time context
                                         of  a simpler, kinder, more honorable day. 
                                 





The year 1946 saw peace after WW II.  Looking at the clothes of the children, you see a higher brand of clothing and a general sense of contentment on the faces of each child . Everything was starting over. The economy was booming: a gallon of gas cost 15 cents, the average house price was $1, 459.  Tupperware was introduced and selling in hardware and department stores.

There are many familiar faces for me here.  These children were about 5 years older than I.
A cousin, Beverly, and the young Donny Rose we saw earlier in his First Communion photograph are pictured.  The youngster in the second row first on the left is the daughter of a dear friend of my Aunt Eleanor and I remember the Riendeau family very well. I remember Linda Rapoza well as she was the sister of one of my classmates.  Ronald Almeida I knew as his parents owned the three decker we lived in when my parents were first married where I and my sister came home to after we were born at Morton Hospital. We all looked up to these children, they seemed so much more sophisticated. Elaine Baptiste up in the fourth row middle was the subject of another post and hopefully we will tell more of her story.

It was an exciting post war time, and optimism prevailed...the hope that there would never be such a war again.

The bikini went on sale in Paris. This was the year, Donald Trump was born...connecting the dots to today. There were International War Crimes tribunals in Nuremberg and in Tokyo. The U.S. started testing the atomic bomb on Bikini Atoli. 

This was the time when these children started their schooling and went sailing into their lives. 

As the War ended, it did so with the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. A story from Japan told of a little girl who developed leukemia from the radiation.  She set out to make 1,000 paper cranes to try to counteract her disease.  She made 650 before she died, her classmates made the rest and brought them to her funeral. The war was over but nightmares for children would not be....or for adults for that matter. War leaves unsettled questions in its wake. Slowly more stories would emerge, of the Ghettos, of heroism, of tragedy like that of Anne Frank.

Still, America was settling in with enthusiasm and vigor and that was contagious. All seemed well.

There was much on the horizon.  Unbelievable advances in medicine, such as the polio vaccine. The children above and their parents would have been very aware of the danger of contracting that dreaded disease. (Read this post to find out how a Tauntonian was at the center of combating that disease on a national and international level:  http://schoolstvillage.blogspot.com/2013/09/post-scriptthe-historic-fight-against.html#uds-search-results).  This was an eye opener for me.


Today we are tech savvy and I can write a blog like this with the ease of research that a computer allows, restoring vintage photographs and so much more.

Yet, with it all, we are so in danger of forgetting the values of family, friendship.

It is good to look back, to ponder the things that we learned, that we held dear
for it teaches us about today.


In closing:

This morning I read an article in the newspaper (Last Guy Chosen for Stickball) by the great writer, Herman Wouk (Winds of War, Marjorie Morningstar and many other books) who has turned 100 years of age.  He was born in Bronx in New York and in this little bit of an essay he wrote...

"I was an Aldus Street boy, and that was the end of it. I had no idea there was 
something like Park Avenue or Manhattan that might be better. I was happy 
where I was and loved being alive. My mother and father - Esther and Abraham-were 
old fashioned loving parents, and I'd bring that feeling down to the streets and my friends."

Thank you, Mr. Wouk for putting it so well.








Friday, February 12, 2016

A TRIP TO THE PAST - REMEMBERING THE CHILDREN OF THE VILLAGE


My memories of the School Street Village are wrapped in my childhood days.
Previously, on many posts I shared some of the photos of those times and earlier.  Laced together they form a timeline of Village histories highlighted in its children.  I recently read a Facebook post which said that "children are a wonderful way to start people." Children grew our Village. If one could hear echoes from as far back as the early 1900's the song on the wind would be children's laughter.  Bright and eager, let's put them in the context of their times.


This is my oldest photograph of my paternal Souza family.  My Uncle Joe is the oldest on the right and I can date this to about 1914 as he was born in 1909.  The little girl is my Aunt Mary Souza later Bernadino. I love that she is grasping her precious pocketbook like someone is trying to take it from her. The little boy on the left is my Uncle John Souza.  

These children played the Village sidewalks just as I did and the back yards and fields, too. We just dressed differently.  They grew up at 184 School St. where I spent many years of my childhood in the 50's  Strange to think we played in the same room , these children who would be parents of my cousins and friends years onward.

The year this vintage photograph, 1914, there was the first ever Mother's Day. Wrigley Field opened in Chicago and Babe Ruth was signed by the Red Sox.  Charlie Chaplin appeared in his first film and Tarzan of the Apes was published.  

Most significantly, World War I began.  





This next photo is a treasure from the annals of Fuller School photos.  Fuller School, you may have read when I started this blog, is where I and decades of Village Children went to school.  It was a two story wooden building smack in the middle of the Village, where it's heart would be. Though I have showed this photo before, it never hurts to show it again. Fuller School was demolished in the 1960's and a sigh could be heart throughout the Village and probably beyond.




Every group photo throughout the years would take place on those wooden front steps. It would be grand to have more photos of the classes. However, we are fortunate to have what we have.

At Fuller School over the years dear teachers, all women, lovingly taught us and cared for each of us. Within the next photo is our beloved family physician, mothers of my playmates and more. A well known piano teacher is here, too. Fuller School received its name in 1909. It was in those first years of the 1900's that Portuguese immigrants would be moving to the Village. among them my paternal grandparents.

See the clothes in this photo below?  It is clearly winter as one can tell from the obviously handmade hats. Hats- mothers way of sealing their love and warmth in those children. Grandmother's and Aunt's way of reminding little ones of a family love that sought to protect.  They all had reasons for keeping these children warm. A horrific Spanish Influenze made its way through the world seeking the most vulnerable during that time.Thankfully, it seems the Village was not terribly touched.  Perhaps Avos.or Portuguese grandmothers had their own medicinal treasures to protect beloved children as well as young adults. Imagine, cold and flu seasons without Kleenex- that would not be invented until 1950!

The rest of their clothing: long leggings or long johns, high laced boots
similar to the ones worn by the children in our first photo complete their ensemble.





There was a little one room building in the back of the main school where children who only spoke Portuguese could learn English so that they could catch up with their classmates.  My mother went there. here is her photo at age 9 so this is around 1925. She perhaps saw her future husband, by father, playing in the schoolyard....   A little girl who would face a lot more in her young life than the inability to speak English.  Like many children brought up in another language her lack of English hid a sharp and talented mind. Our Mom lived in the Village for awhile. My parents and my paternal siblings all went to Fuller School.When she married my Dad she returned once more to the Village.




In the 1920's Amelia Earhart made her first flight just as these children were making their way through their childhoods.



In 1929 Herbert Hoover was elected President and in 1929 the lives of the children above and their families would change dramatically as the Stock Market crashed.

A new app called Desktop Pixr has allowed me to restore this third grade 1929 photograph much more than when I initially showed it. This Class photo was taken on the occasion of the Fuller School class winning a music award that year: First Place in a city-wide competition. The students are: (first row from left) Arthur Alves, Louis Carvalho, Evelyn Dias, Hilda Costa, Mary Camara, Zelmira D'Arruda, Alce Braga; second row (L to R)  Edward Coute, Anthony Costa, Lillian Duarte, Joseph Mendes, Elsie Furtardo, Mary Costa, Augusta Agrella, Catherine Foster, third row (L to R)  Adeline DeMello, Francis Thadeio, Alexander Taylor, Aurelio Santos, Arthur Amaral, George Abreau, Anthony Pinto and back row (L to R) George Texeira, Arthur Furtardo, Gabriel Texeira, Anthony Rebello, Mary ventura, Delores Agrella, Alveda Braga and Hilda Dias.

I recognize so many names, for they were the adults of the Village during my childhood. Their parents would struggle to make ends meet during dark economic times. They would have given thanks for the closeness and support of their Village neighbors...it does take a Village when times for all are so difficult.


                         Photo taken Monday, December 8, 1941 the day after Pearl Harbor.


Speaking of harder times still ahead.  Here we are in 1941.  Above  is the class of Arlene Rose Gouvia second in the first row from the left. On a winter December 7th these children and their parents would be stunned by the news that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor. Arlene remembers that she and her classmates were deeply troubled and afraid. Their third grade teacher,Miss Marguerite Hoye (who would in the 50's be MY third grade teacher)  would help to calm them while they learned their lessons. More children and adult frightening scenarios would make their way to the public when news of the Manhattan Project came out toward the end of the war.  The class photo above was taken on Monday, Dec.7, 1941.

Children in the photo: front row L to R-Lorraine Ferreira, Arlene Rose, Lorraine King, Robert Gouveia, James Pine, Second row: Alice Rugg.  Norma Gouveia, Loretta King, Natalie Torres, Charles Leanard, David Rosse, Third row: Catherine Duarte, Mariano Amaral, Elizabeth Jacinto, Jeremiah Raposa, Leo Perry, Joan Fontes, Raymond De Thomas and back row: Evelyn Torres, Virginia Sanson, Carol Rose, Jeanette Lopes, John Andrews, Margaret Soares and Gilbert DeMello.

       The next class photo we have is this one, First Grade in 1946. I am not here as I went to a kindergarten/first grade school that year and then joined this group in the second grade. The color of the film here reminds one of the Little Rascals and other movies we watching Saturday afternoon. But, the future would be changing far ahead into the future for children and everyone....the first computer was built in 1941.  There was a lot of easier breathing for everyone in 1946, for the second World War had ended the year before.




Who knows where the next two years of class photos went the 
next is my fourth grade class at Fuller.
There is one little girl here, to my left, whose family left for 
California either this year or the next. 
We were very good friends...imagine that through this blog 
we met again and reignited that old friendship!




Coming almost full circle in the following photograph. Some of the children seen above can be  recognized all grown up in this one of my THS class reunion photo. Some of us still lived in the Village, some in Taunton, others far away.

Most of us went from Fuller to Cohannet School just past downtown Taunton for grades 6-8 and then on to Taunton High School about a mile away. Our journeys in life took us along different roads, some roads converged back again to Taunton. Always our group of children then adults kept track of other's paths the best we could. Many of us cannot make the general reunions so there are regional reunions, as we have in Florida and the west coast.




      This photo of the 2014 regional THS "57 reunion in Ponta Gorda, Florida
 includes two Village gals...



It has been a virtual trip down Memory Lane with these photos.  Many of the children we grew up with are no longer with us....but live in our hearts.

Life is a journey. Ours started in a very special place, so special that those we met there, who loved us then and love us now still inspire and comfort us. There is still laughter when sone of us meet even though our senior years can be full of pain and loss. I have ever been and will always be deeply thankful for the School Street Village, for its friendships, its life lessons and the energy to keep on the journey of life with courage.