In 1900 the Village was just beginning to be formed. Portuguese immigrants were coming to the city and settled near relatives and friends. That was often in the School Street area. Many of those first immigrants, such as my grandparents, would never learn the English language, leaving it up to their children to translate if needed. When I came along I would grow up with the soft syllables of the Portuguese language being a familiar and comforting sound all around me. I would grow up to miss it and to be sorry that I had not learned to speak the language of my forebears.
World War II ended in 1945. I remember as a five year old being taken out into Braga Square as all the bells in Taunton rang out. I remember a big crowd of cheering neighbors and that I wore a blue chenille bathrobe. It was the start of a new day for the nation and the Village.
Minimum wage was $.43 an hour, 55% of American homes had indoor plumbing, life expectancy was 68.2 years of age for women and 60.8 for men. Teacher salaries were $1,441 a year.
Optimism was everywhere. My father started a small electrical company. As we shall see later the sense of entrepreneurship was alive and well in the Village. We were always a gang of kids who grew up together. Here are myself, far right with Sonny Mador, Norm DaCosta behind him,my brother Frank with the hat. My cousin Helena next to him, my sister Kathy next to her and Paul Alvarnaz behind her. Do not know the middle guy. I think these are correct names.... Taken at our home in Taunton.
Sources: The Internet, my photo archives. We will speak more about Braga Square later, I promise.