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
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.

Monday, September 1, 2014


We took a little mountain trip to clear my mind and soul and let my memories run free. I am back to work sharing those memories and thoughts.

Good and safe Labor Day to all here in the U.S.A.  This uniquely American holiday is a fitting occasion to write about Portuguese Americans.  Portuguese immigrants were and are a hardy lot.  They settled in to a new country and commenced to make their mark with an incredible work ethic.

They worked hard and they commemorated and passed on their traditions just as hard.  The centerpiece of those traditions was the Festa.  Still going strong, though sometimes different, still hard work. Consider the following quote.

                In an article by Stephen Cabral, Ph.D  for the Madeira Feast Booklet we read:

                        " Madeiran folkloric music provided the beat and inspiration behind
                   the Ramboia a Pe De New Bedford ao (walk from New Bedford to Loreto) 
              Loreto in Norton, MA. Twenty-eight Madeirans undertook the 31 miles pilgrimage 
                   to the Feast of Our Lady of Loreto during the Labor Day weekend of 1948.  
                            This group decided to resurrect an old Madeiran Feast custom. 
                    Extended families and friends often walked and sank along the routes to festas 
                     at neighboring villages on the Island.  Thirty mile hikes along mountain trails 
                          and narrow unpaved roads were not unusual.  Only eight of the original 
                                Madeiran-Americans completed the walk to Loreta."

I grew up on festas and am delighted that they have not only rebounded but that these cultural iconic events have proliferated. Although Portuguese immigrants were/are ethnically and culturally diverse, one shared tradition is the festa- part religious ceremony, part carnival. and all fun.  Festas: a way of passing on traditions from one generation to the next.  Southeastern New England still is a central point for many festas each year.

August of this year is the 100th anniversary of the New Bedford Feast of the Holy Ghost (or Festas das Madeiras), the largest festa in the world!  
Festas were a fact of life for us in the Village. Those days there were many and they were smaller, more intimate. The sound of Portuguese music being played by a band (or a contest of bands), the twinkling strings of lights crisscrossing overhead, the delicious smell of homemade fava beans and sizzling carne  d' espeto ( meat on a stick cooked over a fire of lava rocks). Linguica sandwiches with Portuguese bread soft and fresh. Malasadas , delicious fried bread.   Children running around the legs of adults who were trying to chat and catch up.  Laughter and greetings.  Those were the sounds of the festas when I was growing up. The ones I  knew were (and still are) at St. Anthony's, in E. Taunton, in Norton.  Today there are many more as we will see later in this post with the granddaddy of them all in New Bedford..

There was/is a  Festa at the Ward Five Club on Winter St. at the edge of the Village with  an open air Mass and traditional entertainment and food.  For many years there was another at the P.A.C.C. (The Portuguese American Civic on School Street ) often the site of festas in its heyday from the 20's on into the late 50's until the Village changed, diluted as it were,.  Still my memories churn up the plumes of scented smoke from the Espetatha pits and the sounds of families 
and friends greeting each other.

 The Madeira Festa de Nossa Senhora do Loretto (Feast of Our Lady of Loreto) took place each summer in the woods of Norton.   Groups of Madeirans would gather with their concertinas in corners of the festa and start singing and dancing.  There is now an elementary school where that festival took place for so many years.

Although they were and are a social cultural affair, the root of the festa is religious. There were often processions earlier in the day.  I am not sure if First Communion wrapped around them, but these two photos were too good to pass up, especially for me.  Here at St. Anthony's two angels ( old time processions always had children dressed as angels!), my sister Kathy Souza front right and next to her my cousin Helena Souza .  My brother Frank is the fourth little boy in the communion group behind Helena.  I am sure some of you will recognize others.

 Traditional angels in Madeira

Below  are our angels without their wings having breakfast...Frank on the left in front across from Kathy and Helena in back of Frank.  I am hoping you can name all the adults.


Every Village in Portugual, Madeira and the Azores had their own Festas. The biggest were in honor of the Holy Ghost (Catholics have not heard that term in years) and the Blessed Sacrament.
This religious practice and celebration of the Holy Ghost originated with Queen Saint Isabel, sixth Queen of Portugal and daughter of the King of Aragon, who was married to young monarch, Diniz .  There was once  a terrible famine in the land.  During Mass the Queen begged The Holy Ghost to send food promising to give her crown to the Church. Upon leaving the Church she saw an armada of ships bringing wheat and corn.  For the next 700 years the Portuguese have celebrated The Festa do Espirito Sancto to intercede in times of danger and in
n memory of their Queen's holiness.

Above a Holy Ghost Festa in the Azores in the 1890's.  The 'Emperor' with the crown was called
the Imperiador ,  he oversaw the Festa.  Women hung their best handmade linens from their windows as they watched the procession.

Below a wonderful photo from the 1890's of The Folioes, traditional costumes
on Sao Miquel, the musicians who led the Holy Ghost Festival.

During that above mentioned famine, Queen Isabel sold all she had except the crown that symbolized the monarchy.  Those of us who grew up going to a Portuguese Catholic Church remember the little side altar where the silver crown and sceptre were displayed.  The crown consists of three individual pieces: the scepter is accented by a dove, the symbol of the Holy Spirit, 
the crown itself and the base plate representing the people.

Madeirans had their own Festas.  They have maintained a fervent devotion to the Blessed Sacrment such the 15th Century when the Knights of the Holy Order of Christ established the earliest feasts.
Local parishes throughout Madeira still celebrate the feast on different Sundays 
from Easter through January.

For our ancestors the Festa meant many things.  In the days before media communication and easy transportation it provided a meeting place to reinforce their worship, their beliefs. A place to meet a prospective mate while under proper chaperones.  A place to talk politics. For children it was a place to run around safely while they absorbed their culture.

For immigrants coming to a new country, the Festa was a place to remember home, to keep alive their beliefs through worship, a place to teach the young their traditions, a place to renew their bonds with each other.  And over the  centuries as new immigrants came here, 
these traditions kept going and growing.

The facades of buildings in the USA "villages" were decorated as in the Old Country for Festa.  Statues of saints were adorned with garlands and jewelry.  Streets were lined with banners, twinkling colored lights were laced overhead.  Bayberry arches lined neighborhood streets.  I remember our priest holding the Ciborium containing the Host in his caped hands as he processed beneath a canopy held by four men who were honored with their responsibility.

What a great photo below taken in 1889 at Monte Pio Hall on Acushnet Avenue in New Bedford.  President McKinley granted the Society's request for permission to fly the Portuguese flag without accompaniment by the American flag.

The Blessed Sacrament was displayed on the Altar for adoration and fervent 
volunteers kept constant attendance.

                                    Who does not remember their Avo ( grandmother ) keeping watch in the Church, her head modestly covered with a kerchief.  The Avos I remember were all in black, 
a constant reminder of their widowhood. Taken at Mt. Carmel Church , New Bedford,1979.

New England was not the only place in the U.S. where Portuguese
immigrants settled and Festa became a center point.
Below children form a procession for a Holy Ghost Festa in 1914
in Riverside California.

In recent history: a very large Festa takes place in the Sacramento/Oakland area in California.
You can see the women who have been chosen to portray Queen Isobel, and her court.
This is a long procession and many Churches take part, each one with their band, their participants and their Queen.  My sister Kathy and her late husband Leo, attended this in 2007
and captured these photos.

Festa, always at heart a family and neighborhood feast.

Below, a photo taken in the 1920's of a Festa procession
originating at St. John the Baptist Church on County St. in New Bedford,
 heading south on Bonny St.

At  Santo Christo Church on Columbia St., Fall River, a processon in 1992

The Festa began with a novena and evening recital of the Rosary. It opened with Vespers on Friday, Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and on Sunday a High Mass and procession.  Waves of incense wafted over all, and the odor of it still lingers in my memory.  Often the priest would disappear in its clouds, especially if there was an over enthusiastic altar boy.

The two oldest Festas in the United States are : The Festa Do Divino Espirito Santo in San Diego. It is the oldest ethnic feast in the U.S. having started in 1884 by the first Portuguese settlers there.  It was formally organized in 1910.

 Secondly, the Festa of the Blessed Sacrament in New Beford, MA is the next  oldest Festa started in 1914 by a group of four Madeira immigrants in thanksgiving for a safe voyage to America.  It is now the largest in the WORLD and it is they who have just celebrated their 100th anniversary.  This is a video of last year's festa.   The Festa attracts over 100,000 people each year over 
 its four days from the U.S., Canada and Portugal.  It is quite an event 
and far from the lovely little ones I remember as a child.

 Another hallmark of festas is that somewhere within it there is free food, a symbol of the generosity of Queen Saint Isobel.  Usually that food is sopas a kind of soup made with beef and milk. Depending on the origin of the Festa ( which Island, etc.) sometimes
linguica or pork might be added.

There are Festas throughout the world, even in Quebec and Montreal, Canada. There is a Boston Portuguese Festival probably qualifying as a Festa and a 
significant one in Woburn, MA.  All summer they are laced throughout the calendar.

Wherever Portuguese immigrants settled in the U.S. especially on both coasts and Hawai, there is Festa.  The late Senator Daniel Inouye and others wrote about the fact tha timmigrant Portuguese came to work the sugar cane fields there from the 1880's establishing their 
settlements and bringing  their traditions.

Portuguese dancers performing the bailinho, the national song 
and dance of Madeira, during a parade on Madeira Avenue 
in New Bedford in 1980.

Photo below: Groupo Folclorico do Santissimo Sancramento, (also pictured above)
The Madeiran Folkloric dancers, 1995
                                                               New Bedford, Festa

The New Bedford Festa is the only place in the world permitted to get Madeiran wine by the cask. It requires approval by the Madeira government.  A favorite spot at that Festa, says Carolyn, is the Madeiran Museum Cafe a block from the festival grounds where there is Fado singing and folkloric dancing.  If you have not experienced an authentic Fado performance, you are in for a treat,  Fado is a type of singing in a category all its own, full of nostalgia and beauty.  You can sip Madeira port as you enjoy the performances.

A historic note: If you have never tasted Madeiran Port, do not wait.  Join those in history who were very fond of it:  George Washington ( a shipment to him from Madeira in 1789 was the first recorded shipment of Madeira to America), Benjamin Franklin ( he made a point of always having it with him), John Adams  (once said, ' a few glasses of Madeira makes everyone feel they can be president), Thomas Jefferson 's favorite was Malmsley which was stocked in pride of place in his wine cellar at Monticello ) and most likely a favorite of Winston Churchill who spend much time in Madeira, a favorite resting place for him.

Another large Massachusetts Festa takes place in Fall River's Kennedy Park at the end of August.
This is the Festa of Espirito Santo,  also known as the Azorean Feast.  Any one living in South Eastern New England knows there is a large Portuguese population in that city now.  This Festa once attracted busloads of Portuguese-Canadians, folks flying in from Bermuda, Idaho, the Azores and California.
Among them were folkloric dancers and traditional musicians. Thousands would attend. There are not so many now, all of the Festas bemoan needing volunteers to keep them going. There is still a procession from and back to  St. Anne's Church and lasting 2-3 hours.  A hallmark of the Kennedy Park Festa is a giant crown over 8 feet high making its statement in the northern section of Kennedy Park. Not far from the Park is the Columbia St. section or cultural district boasting of several excellent Portuguese ethnic restaurants.

Columbia Street runs a quarter of a mile up and down a hill.  It is alive with people and cars.  The centerpiece of what is called the Cultural District is the majestic Santo Christo Catholic Church built in 1925, the first Portuguese Church in Fall River.

In Fairhaven, MA there is the Feast of our Lady of Angels occurring Labor Day weekend (if you are nearby you can catch this one...).

There are Festas everywhere that there are Portuguese populations.
 They are laced throughout the summer calendar.

The music, the food, it will all awaken the memories of a Portuguese American who grew up with this summertime tradition.  It surely did mine. I am far from New England where there
are no Festas .


Thanks to Kathleen Campanirio and Carolyn de Sousa for
filling out memories with their photographs and  printed materials
This article would not have been written without them.

Portuguese Spinner: An American Story, ed. McCabe and Thomas. If you are interested in the Portuguese history in Madeira and the Azores with the experience of Portuguese-Americans this is the book for you.  Many of the photographs in this article are from the Spinner Collection.
I found mybook at Partners store in Westport, MA. years ago.  Article regarding Festa in 1914 in Riverside, California.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


Recently, on the I'm From Taunton Facebook page, Charles Crowley posted this photograph
of strollers on the Taunton Green circa 1889. He kindly agreed to share it with us.

It really struck me.  The calm, dignified people out for a Sunday stroll. Strolling, mind you, not rushing, not glued to an iPad or cell phone.  Interacting with friends, or making new ones.
Sharing with family.  The advantage of looking way back in the history of Taunton is to try to latch on to old/new ways of living, ways that have been lost. Note that there were many trees on the Green once upon a time, probably those wonderful elms that were devastated and lost. The City proper was noted for its beautiful shade trees. The Green had been common ground since 1774.

                  Believe it or not, here is a video of the time, just to bring it home a little more.

In 1889, Tauntonians were probably still recovering from the Civil War which had ended in 1865. Amazingly, today 2014 there is one Civil War pensioner still receiving benefits for her father's service.  She is 84 years old.  But back in 1889, it was still fresh. You can see that there are few statues in the photograph, those were still in planning stages.

 My grandfathers and grandmothers were not yet in Taunton, the first arriving in the early 1900's. Our Church, St. Anthony's, would not come along until 1906. For sure, those Portuguese immigrants already here had found their own spaces in which to worship and began saving for their own Church.

It is hard to believe what a successful era the late 1880's and early 1890's were for Taunton. Yet, when we read of the luminaries that flourished then...well, it really sinks in.  When I was growing up in Taunton and walked by so many beautiful and grand houses or downtown when it was still flourishing, I always felt that hint that Taunton once had been so much more.  This photo intrigued me enough to absorb myself into my city's history and learn about that era. It was a fascinating trip even though I only accessed the tip of the iceberg.

Greatness, full employment, healing from the Civil War wounds, gracious living.  It is no wonder that our grandparents were lured here from their home countries.  When I was a child in the 40's and 50's, Reed and Barton was still operating, though not as in the 1880's.  Back then there were churches everywhere, it was still a time of faith-centeredness, the reverse of what it is today in this country.  I knew only one classmate whose parents were divorced.  Radio and T.V.  consisted of wholesome, family entertainment in the 50's and 60's..

Going way back into the 1880 era we see the roots of what Taunton is today and the traces of it that were what I was feeling in my childhood.

Much of what I am quoting below is from this website
  Nason and Varney's Massachusetts Gazetteer 1890. 
The article is  well worth a full read. The photos I found elsewhere on the net.

"In 1885 there were 182 farms in the area.  In the 1890's there were seven cotton mills in the city which employed 2,000 persons, foundries, machine-shops and boiler works employed 1,000, stove works employed 300, zinc, brass and copper works and jewelry factories, upwards of 300, 600 in brittania and silver plated factories, 500 in tack, nail and bolt, cutlery around 50, and brick, tile and stove linings from 200 to 300.  Railroad coaches, earthenware, rattan and willow and other furniture, yarn, boots and shoes, horse trappings, pencils and crucibles and on and on. The total number of establishments in 1885 were 301.

                                            Jewelry Shop in downtown Taunton circa 1885

Field, Track and Nail Works (established in 1827) was the largest in the country. Mason Works occupies 6 acres and made cotton and woolen machinery, car wheels, engines and locomotives.  Here is one made for the Union Pacific in 1860 in Taunton. Do not know which company made it (that is for another future blog).  But, could have been Taunton Locomotive Mfg. Company.

Of course, there was  Reed and Barton's Brittania Works (the oldest and largest on the Continent), and the Taunton Paper Mfg. Co.

Here is a photo of a sterling silver scent box created by Reed and Barton in 1890.
Note the engraved letter A surrounded by a heart.

There were fisheries of alewives, herring and shad.  The commercial marine embraced 
36 schooners and one steamboat.

The population in 1885 was 23, 674, of whom 5, 232 were legal voters. 
There were four newspapers: The Daily Gazette, the weekly Household Gazette, the Bristol County Republican and the Taunton Courier. The city proper was noted for its beautiful shade trees abounding on all streets."

                                                       (photos from Pinterest and Internet)

"Mass media" consisted of newspapers back then.  Here is the type of item that interested folks, far from the bottom-feeding items we so often see today.  Far from the endless chatter on social media and talk shows never leaving our minds at peace.

That 1890 quote by the Taunton Courier story was carried in 34 New England papers and one in London, England.   Tame by our standards, wouldn't you say?

My city back in those days was beautiful   The echoes of that can be seen in the graceful historic homes in Taunton still standing, many of them on the Historic Registor of National Places.  Here are just a few of them with bits of their history. Many are lovingly cared for and grace our city streets.

Below is the J.C. Bartlett House built in 1889 at 12 Walnut ST.
Mr. Bartlett was a prosperous mining engineer.

The W.C.Beattie House built in 1882 at 229 W. Brittania St. 
He was a designer at Reed and Barton.

           Below: The Henry Morse House, 32 Cedar ST. 
 Henry Morse acquired his father's estate.

Finally,  here is the McInistry House at 115 High St.  Built in 1779 by William McInistry, a minister. In 1763 it was the site of a grisly murder in which one of the family daughters was murdered by a servant.  It is now the parsonage for St. Thomas Episcopal Church.
 Who knew this history?
I never did. 

The times were busy in that era, even nationally.  Here are some events that those Tauntonians lived through in the year 1889/

*Benjamin Harrison was inaugurated as 23rd President.

*President  Harrison opened Oklahoma for colonization.

*Montana was admitted as the 41st state of the Union.

*Washington admitted as the 42nd.

*The Coca -Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Co.
is originally incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia.

Any one know when this sign was put up?

*The first National holiday was set for the centennial of Washington's Inaugeration.
We sure have come a long way since then on national holidays.  
If you wait a minute another comes along!

*The brassiere was invented....hmmm

*For the first time, George Easmen places Kodak camera on sale. 
This same year Thomas Edison showed his first motion picture.
Talkies would not come along for a good while.
In 1927 my maternal grandmother saw the first which starred Al Jolson. 
She also called called her radio a "talking box" (this from an interview she gave).

*Wall Street Journal began publishing,  all that time ago.

*Bayer aspirin was introduced in powder form in Germany 
changing headaches and fevers forever.

*The screw top was about changing the world!


*the first dishwasher was invented!   

Young men rowed their sweethearts on the Taunton River, probably by moonlight.
Have you looked at the I'm From Taunton Facebook page today?

It was not all roses, of course.  In his history of Taunton until 1893,  Samuel Emery Hopkins tells us that there was a smallpox hospital on the Raynham-Taunton line off the Boston turnpike. Such wonders and antibiotics were not yet on the scene.  Infant mortality would have been higher and the life span lower.  But, here we are looking at the quality of life as it was lived by so many.  There are always lessons to be learned from history....and keys to a 
gracious way of living is surely one of them.

                                                          Some of my sources.  
 Increasingly there are more Pinterest photos of Taunton, 
check them out or add your own. 

History of Taunton from Its Settlement to Present Time (that was 1893) 
by Samuel Emery Hopkins.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Wordsmiths, word artists, fabricators of the beauty of the written word touching our hearts.  That is what I believe to be the definition of a poet, cousin to writers and songsters.  One such came forth from our Village, after my time and too soon gone in his own time, but making
himself live on through his art.

I introduce you to the late, Jose "Joe Gouveia", poet laureate of Cape Cod
and a son of the School Street Village.

Joe Gouveia

Once again, threads of the Village wind themselves around our hearts, 
no matter how far we wander.  It is unusual to have so much current information on someone I write about. T his time, we can read Joe's poems and actually see and hear him on You Tube.

Initially, some time back, I received information about Joe from Arlene Gouveia, one was his obituary and the other a listing of famous people from Taunton in which he was included.  I filed it ,as I often I do, until the time is ripe to research it at greater length .  I also had received an e-mail from a reader,  Elizabeth Gouveia Miner.  She wrote to tell me of her father, Joe Gouveia Sr.,who owned and operated Joe's Superette located on the corner of Wilbur and Purchase Streets in the Village.  Before Joe Senior had owned it, it had been owned by his in-laws, the Jardin family. A daughter of that family, Caroline, was a close early childhood friend and classmate before she and her family moved to California.  We lost touch with each other... until the daughter of Joe Gouveia Sr. and  sister of our poet, Elizabeth  Gouveia, connected us all over again. 
 Elizabeth gifted us once more by introducing us to her late brother and his achievements
culminating in his last book, 

Too soon, Joe left us.  He passed on at the age of 49 years. He died of cancer.  But, not before he created his poems about his journey and that of the Portuguese American experience. He graced the Village, the family and people who shaped him, leaving an heirloom 
for each of us who shared that experience with him.

                                            I wager not many villages have their own poet.


Above photograph: Joe Gouveia Sr. and his family.
From left to right: Ann Gouveia Frias.  paternal grandmother Isabel Gouveia, Lori Gouveia Fyfe, Joe's mother Mary Gouveia standing next to her husband Joe Sr.  who is and holding their son and our late poet: Joseph Gouveia.

            I recognize the house and the grapevine right next to it.
            Shared by Elizabeth this was taken 8 years before her arrival.

               Fellow poet, Martin Espada , describes that home beautifully as Joe growing up as:
                      " ...the lone brother in a sweet sea of sisters, a cherished son..."

In a poem by Joe himself entitled Fala Portuguese.he speaks of bigotry overcome by toughness, communal feasting, the pilgrimage to the old country and the return to the Americas when. "they always came back plus one.'  I can identify with this description of growing up in the Village as the culture of being fully Portuguese seeded itself in our hearts.

Our future poet (yes, he is ours) would have run about the Village as he grew getting into the mischief Village boys did in those days, attended St. Anthony's Church and heard the humming lullaby of the Portuguese language all around him.  He would have taken in  the culture just as he absorbed the air all around him. It would have been engraved on his soul.
                                                He would have breathed in Saudade.

His greatest poetic achievement, the book Saudades, was his first fully published work, and he tasted that achievement before sickness overpowered him. Besides his work, he was a presence that made him his adopted Cape Cod's Poet Laureate. It was written that he imbued 
the Cape and beyond with poetry.

We of Portuguese descent know what Saudade is.  Difficult to translate fully into English, its meaning goes beyond nostalgia to more of a yearning, a longing for something you can never have again.   "JoeGo", as he was sometimes called, captured that yearning in Saudade for us and all those who are descendants of those intrepid folk who came to America with courage and dignity. He wrote of growing up in Taunton, and right there he is ours! I do not speak Portuguese, to my dismay, I also do not read it.  Therefore, I cannot read the great poets of the Portuguese language.  But, Joe tells us, that we who grew up in the Village, descendants of immigrants, indeed have our own language, even if it dwells deep in our beings.  I so regret never having met Joe Gouveia, poet and person of great distinction.  I am honored to be able to use his sister's words and those of his friends and colleagues to speak of him here. The more I read and researched the more I found to admire and cherish.

Joe did not want to go to college, but his mother, the daughter of immigrants, and his father, also an immigrant, insisted. At Bridgewater State University he was asked to write a poem in one of his classes.  He did not want to, his professor insisted.  He wrote it in ten minutes in the men's room and the rest is the history we are reading about here.  He graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry and went on for further studies as he honed his own work.

His accomplishments are so many, no doubt I will forget some.  He wrote the "Meter Man" column for the Barnstable Patriot newspaper, he was Poet-In-Residence at Cape Cod Community College, Cape Cod. Poet Laureate Massachusetts Poet of the Year 2001 (awarded by Cambridge Poetry Awards no less), Poetry Curator at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod, hosted a weekly radio show on WOMR called The Poet's Corner as well as Poet's Corner Open Mik for 18 years.  He started the Cape Cod Poet's Theatre. He was a guest on numerous Television shows, including PBS, KDVS-FM University of California Davies, Radio Soulspeak and more. His poetry was published in six countries and four continents. He edited  numerous anthologies and opened for readings for Robert Pinksy, one time Poet for the United States who often was heard on PBS, among other noted poets.

He took poetry to nursing homes and loved open miks (microphones), he mentored many aspiring poets and became beloved because of his generosity. He spoke of his poetry in the rough as "lumps of clay.  Maybe a half page from a journal or five pages, some from here and some from there, ..forming a poem; I take the best of it, reshape it."  These words in an article ,authored by Lee Roscoe, further said hat Joe had worked as a construction worker and "there is somehow a good deal of hand hewn-heft, hammered rhythmically into his words, spoken or on the page. Joe's poems "carried secrets and layer upon  layer of experience and language you cannot absorb in one reading."

Joe taught  bringing "Keep the Rage on the Page" to juvenile delinquents. He mentored and encouraged burgeoning poet after poet.  This is the true sign of a real artist, this confidence, this love of the art and all those who follow it.

Joe and Maya Angelou

There are You Tubes of Joe reading. You can find them easily as they have his name.  Joe shared his experience with cancer with courage and you can see and hear his poem about the last of his treatments in  Joe Gouveia: In Place Live  on You Tube. He married the love of his life, Josy,  from Brazil.  They married on the beach after he had been told he had two months to live.
Two years were their gift after he had been given that dire diagnosis.
Those years were filled with love and creativity.

I urge you to listen to this next video of an interview with Joe...listen to the whole interview!  Take the time and hear how he laces his Portuguese heritage throughout.  Privileged am I to write this and share him with others around the world, for this where this blog reaches.  Privileged in that I knew Joe's father and his mother.  H wrote what is my heritage, too.

 Godspeed to you, Joe, I deeply regret never having met you. Your brief spell here was too short.  But, what a legacy, what a footprint you have left!  For that we thank you and we will remember, for your poetry is living on in our hearts.

Joe's friend, and a poet himself said:
"If Walt Whitman were alive today to hear America singing, he'd hear the voice of Joe Gouveia."

I end this post with this
 excerpt from the poem
The Distraction in Saudades
 by Joe Gouveia.  

All this work in retirement.  All those dreams of afterlife.
If there is a secret to this life, let it be flowers and grass,
because when He said that the world would end
not by flood but by fire, it was because
on God's green earth growth is stronger
and colors brighter after the first burn.
Must be why there is so much war, all those firebombs,
and all that blood soacking the earth with the stud of creation.

Perhaps that is why some settle down - to find sanity
in an insane world.  Let us embrace our joys now,
impatient for an end that comes as slowly
as a single bare footstep amongst the wild fields.
Take my hand, let us rest here, looking to Heaven
for answers, and each other for distraction.

Joe Gouveia


There are many sources for this post and I thank them all
for introducing us to this incredible man.  I apologize for omitting a source,
please let me know if I did and I will rectify the fact.  There is so much written about
Joe Gouveia that I may have lost my way.

As always, Arlene Gouveia for starting me on this search.
Joe's younger sister Elizabeth Gouveia Miner for inspiring it and for the photographs.
Thank you for letting this post come about.  It is each of us, children on the
Village, that keep our history alive.

For the photo of Joe and Josy and the accompanying article.
,,,,,,,, :
a poem written by Martin Espada for his friend and fellow poet, Joe Gouveia.

Joe's website


Saudades, by Joe Gouveia (you can order your copy at Amazon
Do yourself a favor and read the reviews.


Friday, July 4, 2014


Recalling the sparklers of past childhood Fourth of July's is not hard.
They were simple times and included some very minor fireworks, a lot of running around with sparklers which was quite exciting for us. In the Village, of course, the annual unofficial
bonfire on Braga Square on School Street.

Below, in a photo thanks to Stephen Kosta from I'm From Taunton Facebook page,
a peek into the yesteryear of 1939.  In front of Dickerman's Bookstore the Fourth of July buntings are proudly displayed either in anticipation or just after the celebration.

But, we were just kids or our parents were when we did things like this. We really did not yet know what the Fourth of July really celebrated...nor the cost.

An unspecified city in 1918 with American troops celebrating the Fourth, and perhaps readying for war themselves.

In the Village, we always were reminded of the cost walking through Braga Square
 commemorating one of our courageous boys whose courage 
and sacrifice took place in the Korean war. 
Rest in Peace, Anthony Braga.

The square was dedicated in 1953.

Taunton vets remind us the rest of the way, near the beautiful and moving
Memorial Fountain just behind the Congregational Church in Taunton.

So much is owed s to our veterans of all wars....they must never be forgotten.

Some of the photos are from this fascinating site

Others are from I'm from Taunton Facebook photos.

Happy and safe Fourth of July to all!!!

Thursday, June 26, 2014


This blog owes so much to our revered storytellers.  To those who kept. and still keep, our roots and memories alive.  Every time we dip into the stories of our past we ensure once more that they keep going forward for our children and their children.

So, let's hear it for storytellers…shall we?

Just remembering stories in my own life:

Once we had a home with a partially opened staircase going up to the second floor.  We had amassed many family photos, old and new, and displayed them all down the wall section of the stairs. The stairs were comfortably carpeted. Adults and children could be found there looking at the photographs and asking for the stories that went with them.  

Every time we walked up those stairs we could touch the photos and remember.
I miss those stairs and that memory gallery. It was in reality a storyboard .

I live in a smaller home now.  There is a short hall outside the studio where two large collaged framed pieces tell my story and my husband's story. Every day when I pass them, especialy early in the morning as I start my day, I remember those loved faces…known and unknown.  Unlike an album or digital disc it is always there, speaking tour hearts. 

Who does not love listening to a story? We never outgrow that sense of delight.

Pinterest photo from 1920

My husband and oldest grandson taken back in the 90's sharing a story.

  A child in the womb gets used to its mother's voice as early as 30 weeks:
her inflections, her emotional tones.  Later, as soon as a child can scoot 
into your lap, cuddle close under your arm and come close to to your heart, 
storytelling becomesa ritual carried out over and over and over.
Another of our grandson's created a ritual of his own, carefully thinking over 
which book would be read that bedtime and solemnly presenting it .  
We embraced the ritual each time we had the honor to preside.
This is he being read to by my mother
 (note the under the arm and close to the heart position).

Storytelling teaches but most importantly, the person listening is the center of attention.
Listening to a favorite book being read a child will sail off to an imaginary land. But, also, the reader changes.  Do you recall reading to your children and grandchildren? You became animated, you laugh or tear up.  Reader and child read become enclosed
 in a cocoon that wakes up in a new place just waiting to be explored.

That is what it has been like for me writing this blog, and it appears for our many readers all over the world listening to the story of the School Street Village. To go beyond my years growing up there to times that came before is such an experience that I often lose track of time.  
The tales weave themselves around our hearts, our very souls reconnecting us to
 generations long gone, or those just past.

Often that journey is facilitated by the voice of a very special historian.
It is my honor to introduce our


Storytellers and memory keepers are very special people.
In this post I wish to acknowledge the Village Storyteller and
 Memory Keeper extraordinaire:
Arlene Rose Gouveia.

I mention and thank her so often in this blog, that it is time
to introduce this remarkable woman.
Listening to her tell a story of the Village, or of greater Taunton, is a gift I wish for everyone.
She herself enjoys the telling which is the mark of a great storyteller. 
 She brings it all to life, and it is as if you were there.   

Many readers share with this blog, but Arlene I consider the lead contributor.

Arlene has storytelling in her DNA thanks to her parents: Joseph Rose and Mary Perry Rose
pictured above on their wedding day in 1929 at St. Anthony's (you may remember them from the posts on vintage Village weddings).

Joseph Rose told Village stories to his children.  
His daughter remembered them and wrote them down.
Her mother Mary Rose took photographs and more photographs
 The family had a sense of the history they were living and whence they came. 
They keep the flames lit in the hearts of their children,
especially their daughter Arlene
 who let them grow and remain safe.

In due time, their daughter wrote her stories down and created, in her own handwriting, memoirs her father and others of his time had shared with her. Then she in turn shared them, beautiful handwritten pages ascribing each story to its teller.

Growing up in the Village when it was at it's greatest, she became a teacher and taught for 50 years in Taunton schools as well as long years of tutoring at home.  Her students still speak of her enthusiasm for learning and love of history, how she inspired them to be the same way. How she  believed  who they could and would become and made them believe it, too. 

Arlene reached out with those memories and photographs in such projects as the book for
St. Anthony's Church Centennial Celebration in 2003 and Olde Tyme Taunton.

I knew Arlene when I was growing up on School Street.  I knew her parents. I never appreciated how precious they all were and are.  They are part of the Village legacy and have done it proud.

When I began this blog, it was, I believe, a calling. A calling  to keep this, our Village history, 
safe in a format that would reach out to as many as possible.  Once I began it took on a 
life all its own.It did reach out and eventually it reached out to Arlene Gouveia. 

 Arlene's desire to keep that same history safe and mine merged. 
A collaboration started and still continues.
  What I have learned and shared has been amazing! Hearing her 
 enthusiastically narrating these stories is an experience I treasure. 
We mentioned early in this post that a storyteller changes as the story is told.
That is so the case with Arlene Gouveia.  Arlene has learned the lesson of passionate living.

All the wonderful photographs of so long ago one day spilled from my inbox thanks to her son, John.  Each one sent me back to the Village.  I have made copies, digital and otherwise, 
so incredible are each of them.  Such a treasure, such stories to savor and share, to remember.

Arlene jumped in wholeheartedly into this Blog project. She has shared so many photographs, 
helped with so many posts, actually been the impetus for many of them. 
 Her enthusiasm and encouragement has kept me going, kept me researching. 
 Her laughter as we talk and share is a tonic for this blogger.

It seems also that our work together has wrought something incredible. 
Look at these statistics:

The blog is up to over 35,500 page views. This is since its inception in September of 2012.
Look what Mrs. Gouveia has  inspired just as she inspired her students:
This is a ClustrMap, part of the blog which tells us much about where and who,,,,

Each time the blog is viewed a small red dot pops up, if the dot is bigger it means 100 views, if it is yellow it denotes a new viewer.  Blogspot statistics tell me how many viewed each post.

There are readers from 50 states and 73 countries! Highest rate of views from the U.S. are
Massachusetts, Florida, California, New Jersey, New York, Washington state and Rhode Island.

The countries are fascinating: top after the U.S. is  RUSSIA: there is someone, or more than one, who checks in every new post from that far away place.  After that comes Canada ( I know who), United Kingdom, Portugal, Australia, India, France, Italy and Spain. 
Did you know there is a translator function on this blog?

People intrigued about the history of our little School Street Village in New England, and the city of Taunton.  Perhaps it is the Sister City Taunton, England that checks in?  The need to go back and sink again into a simpler time seems universal.

So what can I say, Arlene Rose Gouveia? 

It is my pleasure and my honor
to work with you, to be inspired by you and to call you my friend.
May many, many years lie ahead for this collaboration of love.