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.


Tuesday, December 5, 2017

ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LIGHTING UP CHRISTMAS!!

I originally published this in 2013 and am reposting in today.
One cannot get enough of Christmases past.


...................



Taunton Green was placed on The National Register in 1985.

Taunton's Green, or Common as it was called,  factored centrally in Taunton's life since Taunton's founding in 1637.  First it was a place to graze cattle and roster the troops. In  1914 it began its story of a spectacle of light and hope at Christmastide. 

 Below is one of the first Christmas Green photographs taken in 1925 from the wonderful book "80 years of Christmas in Taunton: Candles on the Green." released in 1994.  A new one is available celebrating 100 years this year of 2013.  Once again, Charlie Crowley and Dr. William Hanna renew our memories and knowledge of this Taunton treasure.  I have added the framework to give it a nostalgic touch for this post.  



In the next photo taken in 1936, the theme was The Spirit of Taunton recalling the famous Lindberg flight  with a plane at center on a multi-colored globe painted by Frank Taylor.  "The airplane's registration number, shown on its tail, was 593, which happened to be the telephone number of the TMLP."  The Christmas displays each year would mirror the times in which they occurred, in peace and in war. You can see the plane glowing above the globe.

My husband was nine years old that year and recalls this display.  His family made the trek from Swansea each year to see the Green.  He remembers, as do so many Tauntonians, the wonderful arches that so often graced the Christmas Green.



Last Christmas in this blog we followed the Green over the World War II years when blackout rules did not allow for lights and Taunton with the country worried over the safety of its sons and daughters. The romance of my Aunt Alveda and Uncle Ziggy provided a personal pictorial framework for us.


In 1949,  then Mayor ]ohn Parker wrote an article about the meaning of the Green.  A good friend, Louise Foster who grew up in Taunton, shared this photo of the Green that same year.  As so often happened, a blanket of snow covered all.  War was over and the nation was starting to dig itself out. 




This past weekend, on Dec. 7th, Taunton, The Christmas City celebrated 100 years of lighting Christmas up for its people and those from miles around. With its celebratory hat on the City bloomed with venues of wonderful entertainment .  There was even a human Christmas tree in which 982 people participated and broke the Guiness Book of Records!!  Taunton went for it!!


Thanks to Micaila Britto-Patten and the TMLP bucket truck for this awesome photo of this year's
Christmas lighting from I'm From Taunton Facebook page.


One hundred years of living through the ups and downs of so many struggling New England cities, and still our little city shows its spirit! That spirit it demonstrated in the American Revolution, through the Civil War and the terrible wars that followed.  Lights on the Green led us on, even when it would have needed candlelight.  May those lights get even brighter and our birth city pull itself up and onward!

What is wonderful about all of our Christmas Greens is the fact that there has always been a Nativity scene somewhere on them.  Take the one below from 1947 (picture found on the Net) which prominently displays the Nativity right in the center of the Green.  Even this year one was included. Taunton has never forgotten the true meaning of Christmas.



You can easily find a lot of interesting photos and information on this year's Taunton Green Christmas celebration online:  Taunton Daily Gazette as well as with photos and information shared so well on I'm From Taunton Facebook page.

To read my posts from last Christmas about the Green please go to 2012 posts on the right of the blog, then find December 19th and 21st.  Thanks.

                       Thank you to Kathleen Campanirio for her assistance with this post.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

MUSINGS ON CHRISTMASES PAST

For  myself and others graced with a childhood in the "olden days", Christmas memories twine around our hearts like a wreath.  Kind of like the photograph below taken by my
mother.  She had carved and painted the little hearts that are so full of message.



Why, we ask, is the term "Christmas" so frightening for some?  It's been a tough couple of years for "Christmas".  Hijacked, reviled, given other meanings, subsumed into someone else's holiday...poor Christmas.  Christmas has never done anything but be itself.  The term means Christ-Mass, a specifically Christian derivation.

Still with all of that Christmas shines on.  Precisely because
 the term is less seen it shines even brighter!

The remnants of a real Christmas are all around us.  Twinkling lights set off apps in my head tuning into the real meaning of Christmas.  Those of us born in the 40's and 50's
 can access that meaning knowing that it is more about the Creche than commerce, 
more about love than gifts.

There was a spirituality about it all, the Christmases I knew.  We can still find it today if we seek it in the right places, sort of like following the star.  But, back then it surrounded and comforted us.

My memories jostle for space - they live at the foot of years upon years of Christmas pasts.

Joy was found in DIY (do-it-yourself)  long before the term became vogue.  Out in the woods on a sharp snowy winter day looking for the perfect greens, the best moss, holly and red berries. Small feet crunching on packed snow looking for the wherewithal to create a creche for the Holy Family.  

It tickles the top of my nose to remember the cold. 
Our baskets filled with gifts from the forest.

As I went through old photographs not yet on my computer albums, I came across this one. Amazed, I realized it was taken in 1947 and included our Christmas tree and creche or it was my Aunt Eleanor's?   Just above my head (I am the oldest at 7 years old,)  is the creche filled with greens from the woods nearby. Greens we had picked.  You can see the wise men figures approaching the crib.  Note the levels, they were comprised of moss and rocks and perhaps boxes holding it all up. Next to that on the right is the Christmas tree strewn with old fashioned tinsel. That is my little brother on my lap, my sister Kathy next to me.  It was tradition that we girls wore velvet for Christmas day, and this was taken Dec, 25, 1947. To the right is my cousin Helena, my Aunt Eleanor's daughter. To this day I love wearing velvet around this holy day.




One of my sisters has my mother's handcrafted creche with all its ceramic figures she lovingly painted in a ceramics class.  I recognize each little statue like an old friend feeling the curves and lines of the angel watching over it all.  Year after year more tiny figures were added as my mother was given or came upon little squirrels, tiny fish, a mirror to act like it was a pond.  Then she started carving her own little animals, too. Each year the Creche became higher, wider. Soon there were levels that pretended to be hills and sparkling dark blue cloth like the night sky. First, we as children were drawn into the Christmas story within that beloved scene, then grandchildren knew it each year as they grew.  There were two stories.  The great, grand story of a Savior's love for us, and the wonderful warm story of a mother and grandmother's love for us children. Added to that was another Creche created out of love and that was of our dear Aunt Eleanor.  Her Christmas seasons were over too soon but not before her love had marked us and kindled in us the understanding of this season.


                                 Mom's Christmas figures in a new home still telling its story. Below
                                        more tiny creatures to grow the Nativity Scene.





Did you know that St. Francis of Assisi created the very first Nativity Scene in 1223? He had been inspired by a trip to the Holy Land. His Scene was a live one. It started the whole world wide custom and continues to this day. Each culture made it their own with the landscape and people.  For example, the Portuguese put a little pot of sprouting wheat seeds alongside the manger symbolizing the Bread of Life.  In every Christian Church today, some form of Nativity scene is displayed, and in many homes as well.  The Message continues.

As a child, our Christmas times were filled with wonder and what seemed like a never-ending celebration.  The stars in the Village winter nights promised bulging stockings (even if only with tangerines and hard candy) and presents below our tree (not many but each precious).  By the by the Christmas stockings were our own and not works of art.

The great Creche in our Village Church, St. Anthony's, could fit a small child as it did so long ago. The bright warm lights and soaring voices of our choir set our souls aglow. The Nativity set was so large whole pine trees guarded its boundaries, red poinsettias warming it along with the single light shining down on the manger where the child would lay.

Part of all the magic was going down to see the Christmas display on the Green in the center of Taunton.  As a 7 year old the lights and snow must have seemed incredible. Would that we keep our childhood sense of wonder.

Below is a photo of the Taunton Green Christmas display in 1947, the same year as the photograph above with us children. years of the Christmas City displays.  An interesting note from the book "Candles on the Green" is that the lights-on ceremony that year boasted light snow.  On Christmas Eve the temperature was below zero. The day after Christmas, Rosalind Ballroom burned down! A few historical tidbits from my little city that keeps its Christmas displays going even to this day...and always containing a religious motif!



The gift of Family was learned, too.  Back then, the arms of many Aunts, their coats scented with the cold, were always seeking to hug and clasp close a small one.  The laughter and energy of a gaggle of cousins high on Christmas candy and excitement sounded through our house.

We feed on our memories, the good ones from my childhood Christmases color over in bright hues any sad ones.  There was such a place as the Village in the 40's and 50's and we lived there. It takes longer to reach back now, I may forget a thing or two. But, they continue to be brought back to life.

 Our memories can still be a source of smiling and sharing.  They still occasion a prayer for those no longer here.  Today the digital world provides us with a way to share such memories.  The great thing about this blog is that it will still be here long after I am gone.  Still a remembrance of such a place - of faith, family and friends.

But, not yet.  Still going...this little engine of memories.  Still being crafted and dusted off.



         May your memories sparkle this year, soothe what might ail you
 and keep you and yours close.
Sandra Souza Pineault

         

                                                                                               123f.com



Sources:

Story of St. Francis of Assisi and the Nativity Scene
http://www.uscatholic.org/church/2012/10/who-invented-nativity-scene


1947 Photograph of Christmas on the Green: Bristol County Historical Society

Candles on the Green: Charles Crowley and Dr.  William Hanna. Available at the Bristol Country Historical Society as well as Amazon.com.

Photographs from my Collection and that of my sister, Kathleen Campanirio.
Photography collection of my mother, Angelina Souza.



Saturday, September 3, 2016

LOOK WHO HAS WRITTEN A LEGACY DOCUMENT?

                         Ah, of course I could not retire altogether, could I?

Not when something special comes along- like this: THE ROSE FAMILY MUSICAL LEGACY.
This new post is about Arlene Rose Gouveia and her creation of a legacy document or family history. She has packed this work with family history going back decades.

The term legacy document is a legal term but I prefer it to have another connotation. I prefer it
to be a unique kind of written bequest that gifts a family with their own history. Genealogical charts are incredibly important to any family.  But, it is when these facts are brought to life with story
and pictures that it comes alive historically.

                   What a legacy to leave to a family now and way into the future!




Not only did Arlene write a book, with the help of her son it is also an e-book so that untold
numbers of people can and will read it.  You can read it at:


In the case of this book, she has taken only one aspect of her
family history, albeit a very major one,  and created a 
delightful historical textual and pictorial work.  You do not
have to be a member of the Rose family or even have
grown up in the School Street Village to enjoy it.

I am pleased to publish this post announcing where you can find this. Both Arlene and I have been dedicated to keeping our families and the magic Village where we grew up from
being forgotten.  For me, it was this blog.  For her, it was assisting with this blog and now with this lovely and important book.

God bless, Arlene, and we hope this is only the beginning
of more of your sharing to keep our history alive.