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.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


" American childhood, as lived in the fifties by a...middle class

family that seems barely to exist anymore." 


                      Quote by  Amy Finnerty reviewing Richard Russo's own memoir "Elsewhere."

I have drawn up a very rudimentary map of the shops in the Village which ringed it around .  This is not according to scale, of course, just a homey map to orient ourselves.  If you have a review, addition or correction
let me know.  Early on my brother corrected one of my memories...some of them get kind of knocked off now and then so no offense will be taken.

Having written about a lot of those little stores we took so much for granted, 
there are a few more to mention.

When I was growing up there was Sassy's Barber Shop.  Sassy was perpetually cheerful,
 neat as a pin, tall and elegant.  Some of my girl friends even had their hair cut there.
 (Brenda Silvia got a crew cut or "rah'rah" and scandalized everyone).  The door was always open and there was always laughter and banter to be heard,

I do not have a photo of Sassy's, but of an earlier barber shop...
anyone remember this or just where it was?

 Right next door to Sassy's was our own Jimmy the Cobbler, or 
Jimmy the Shoemaker as we called him: 
Jimmy Lawrence.  Jimmy had a thriving business and that sharp smell of 
leather and shoe polish still occupies
a space in my olfactory memory. I recall the piles of shoes ready
 and waiting to be worked on or picked up.

That was a time when we all recycled more and were less of a throw-away society.  
Do you think we are finally going back to that?
 I notice I am......

I did not know that there had been shoe rationing during the war. Do you? 
Just found this on Pinterest. 
Seems it ended in 1945.

  There were other types of businesses growing in our Village: Abreau Oil on Wilber St., Souza Electric, started by my Dad, Frank Souza,  first on Blinn's Ct. and then on School Street.  Enos Plumbing on School St. was another. 
All started by boys from our village, sometimes from their Dads. sometimes on their own.  I researched this more when I worked on the Souza Family Genealogy.  My grandfather, Joseph, whom I unfortunately never knew (he drowned on a fishing trip in Fairhaven in 1927) was one of the first entrepreneurs in the Village. In the early 1920's he had his own wood cutting business then later a furniture store (first on School St., later downtown ). I dearly wish I had known him.  Apparently he was involved in many ventures.
My brother took on the business mantle from our own Dad.  
I think the entrepreneurial spirit runs in our blood.

Abreau Oil on Wilbur St. was started in the 1920's also 
by George Abreau Senior who happened to be a
good friend of my grandfather.  
I remember this stately, quiet and gentle man well.

Ventura Grain, Inc. on Longmeadow Rd. was started in 1924 by Arthur Ventura Senior
 and to this day, along with
Abreau Oil,  is still a flourishing business.  

Ventura Grain, Co.way back when...check out the truck.

 Finally, one last photo before we leave the little businesses of The Village 
and go on to a new subject.
Who could ever forgot the guy who kept the wheels turning in the Village: our own 
"Red the Mailman".
Twice a day up and down each front walk walking his beat.  
Hats off to you Red and our thanks for keeping our mail coming and going.

                                                     I never even knew his name....did you?

                                                                        Red the Mailman

If you have more photos to share, even if they are not on the topic we are posting, please do send them to me.
I will use them at one time or another, even in a special post.



  1. Just the other day I found a rationing book in my mother;s file. Coincidental. Red Phillipe ( red headed Portuguese mailman.) Even after he retired he would talk to me about his route being his family.
    Now Sassy's -that was where all the young guys went to look at Plaboy magazine. My Dad learned to cut hair from Sassy and Dad would cut my hair. If I moved he would hit me on the head with the scissors. It only took once then I never budged. We learned and minded our elders.

  2. The other barbershop was Frank Duarte's on Purchase St. and later on Washington St.across from Cherry Ave.His father was a barber and some of his brothers.

  3. Red Phillipe,the mailman,would always attend wakes. When you'd see him after he retired,he would greet you by calling out your address. He grew up on Cohannet St.,but he had a deep love for the School St. village.

  4. Sassy's wife,Emma,is still alive at 102.I believe she is the oldest person from the old neighborhood.She is in a nursing home now.However, until recently she would go to Jimmy's Restaurant on Broadway for breakfast where she would delight patrons and staff.They always made her a birthday cake.They miss her a lot. She really helped me when I did some research on the village.

  5. Although Theresa Rezendes' brother, Tony's cobbler shop wasn't in the village, it is interesting to note that he learned his trade by working for Jimmy,the cobbler.His shop was across from Cohannet School.If you went to Cohannet School,you had to walk home for lunch and back again. It was quite an ordeal. Theresa and her friend, Gina, ate their lunch there every noon for three years . Gina's description of eating with all the smells especially the glue is hilarious. Did you ever join them for lunch? I have my own tale of how I avoided that long trek at noon, but I'll leave it for another day.

  6. Arlene, I was thinking of Tony when I wrote about Jimmy the Cobbler, I did not know that he apprenticed with him, thanks for that. I surely knew about Tony over near Cohannet School. I was the third party with Terry and Gina. Often Tony would give us all a ride home from school Yep- the same smells as Jimmy's shop...
    Delicious story of Red calling everyone by their addresses and attending wakes....
    Good one, Kathy, about the boys reading Playboy at Sassy's....

  7. Sandra, thanks for the picture of Red the mailman! I use to love waiting for the mail. He was so friendly to everyone, such a nice man. It was a good memory seeing his picture!