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.

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Wishing everyone a good New Year as we say goodby to another one.  This blog is all about keeping memories alive, those memories that we who grew up in the 50's love to share.  There is a lot to learn from these posts for each of us.  It is remarkable how today, many neighborhoods in cities are getting a new lease on life.  People, especially younger ones with families, are seeking what we took for granted....a place where people interact with neighbors who become friends, where children can grow up with other children and feel safe on street, sidewalk, and backyards.  Where one can walk to the neighborhood shops and there are block parties.
 I know a young family in just such a place in the midwest.
Their neighborhood is a place where one can drop in anytime.
 Good for them.

When I read that caption, it made me remember that the pile of laundry ready to go in the machine seemed never to diminish.  My Mom did not make a big thing of us getting dirty, somehow things got done and there were enough clean clothes to put on.  Life was more than being sparkly clean.

As I roam the roads of the internet, read facebook pages, stroll Google and other reminiscing blogs, it becomes more and more apparent that what we had, what still
lives in our hearts, 
many are seeking today.

A place where there were no such things as "family" rooms.  What you had was a kitchen and a living room and that is where it all happened, with emphasis of the kitchen
'round the kitchen table.
We did not have dining rooms....what for?
Where everyone always knew where everyone was, you did not need a cell phone to find out.
You did not need a phone answering machine, either, someone was always home.

Where spontaneous outside games like Red Rover could happen anytime, anywhere.

Where baby and bridal showers were held in living rooms where a whole lot of
laughter could happen.
Where a child's highlight of the day might be admiring a caterpillar, learning botany the real way.

Where there was only 1 T.V set,:you did not split up to watch alone.  It was more fun to watch Uncle Milty and Jerry Lewis and laugh together.
thanks to Pinterest and this website:enjoy the music,too.


Stay tuned, a whole lot more posts are being planned.
If there is a topic you would like covered, let me know.
It is heartwarming to have received much sharing
via email and telephone that will be coming on posts.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

O Holy Night

This is my last Christmas post.  True: there are so many more memories to ponder. But, it is time for me to get back to my own Christmas preparations. There is always next year.

                                                        Remember these little fellows?

This  Christmas post is about Midnight Mass at our St. Anthony's Church just at the edge of the Village.  I still call it the "new Church" even though I was about 12 when it replaced the old nearly subterranian  church I knew as a small child.

For midnight Mass, the new Church was brilliant with light and holiday attired parishioners.  Entering, they came in carrying with them the sharp tang of the evening cold, and perhaps whispers of snow flying about hats and coat shoulders.  I have always felt that this Church was quite unique in its beauty, but never so much as at Christmas.  The blue ceiling, the unique lights, and more, were unlike other churches in the area.

 Most beautiful of all, though, was the Nativity scene. Up on the altar, it covered nearly a quarter of the right side.  A huge scene, it was surrounded and topped with pine branches, and even small trees.
Warm and inviting it symbolized not only the love of our tiny God made man, but the love that each of our families had for the others in our Village.  I never thought about it that way until now.

Light- color- the fragrance of pine throughout the Church, and- finally-
 the music.

In all my growing up when I think of being at worship celebrations at St. Anthony's I hear the
wonder of the voice of Agnes Martin.  Soaring, clear, sweet as an angel, that was her voice.  If liturgical music is a ministry, which it is, then she was the high priestess of her time. We are so fortunate to have this photo of Mrs. Martin (mother to my Fuller classmate: Beverlyann Martin) and our intrepid organist Mrs. Clara Carvalho high up in their choir perch.

I remember the way we all sang in with the carols. Standing next to my friend Terry: how she loved the excelsis Deo.  We would compete with the warbling of our young voices.

                         Photo from the St. Anthony's Centennial Book, given by Arlene Gouveia

There is much reaching back into nostalgia these days. We are not the only ones, to be sure.
Is it because of the fear, the uncertainty of our days now that we harken back to times of warmth,
of closeness, of family and faith?  It was a time of tradition, of a slower, sweeter pace.  Media did not bombard us on every side.  There was time to think, to ponder, to appreciate
 the voice of angels.

                                                  A Sweet Merry Christmas to all


Friday, December 21, 2012

More about Christmas in Taunton

After posting the first blog about our Christmas Green display, I was delighted to receive more photos and information to share with everyone.

I felt it important enough to do a follow-up post. Thank you to Arlene Gouveia. Kathy Campanirio and Shelley Au for these lovely additions to our memory banks.

First, Arlene Gouveia has identified the friend with Aunt Alveda 
as Alice Emond, also from the Village. Arlene says that Alice was
a font of information about the Village.
Here is the photo once more.

Shelley Au has sent another batch of her Mom's
 photos and we know now that it was her Dad, my Uncle Ziggy who probably
took the photos of Aunt Al and Alice. 
Here is Ziggy and a friend....think they were double-dating?
These photos appear to be in the later 40's. After you read the
quotation below, you may agree with me that this was in 1945.
Arlene tells us that the memorial was one she read often. I recall
it so well, it is long gone and so, apparently, is the one
in City Hall.

Finally, Kathy Campanirio retreived an excerpt from
"From 80 Years of Christmas in Taunton-Candles on the Green"
Dr. William F. Hanna and Charles E. Crowley

"1942-1944 strict wartime blackout rules were in effect as war raged in Europe and
the Pacific so there were no lighted Christmas displays on Taunton Green,
the only time since 1914 there were no lights there.
In 1945, three months after the surrender of Japan a beautiful Christmas
display was then lighted on the Green.  At its center was the honor roll listing the names
of 4,900 Tauntonians who served their country during wartime. Atop a gold pedestal
topped by a gold star symbolizing those who had perished in the conflict. On two
sides of the Green stood ten foot high figures of Santa Claus and Uncle Sam, both
saluting the star. These were designed by Allison Macomber, a well known local sculpturer."

Amazingly, Shelley has shared this photo with us: Uncle Sam saluting
the brave fallen from Taunton.  My Uncle Ziggy must have felt
a special emotion as he had only recently served in Europe during the war.
Bless you, Shelley and Aunt Al for keeping this beautiful photo.


This lovely little book pictures all of the Greens from 1922 to 1993
and was released in 1994.  I plan to find myself a copy.

Thanks again to Dr. Hanna and Charles Crowley for
helping the keep the history of Taunton alive.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Our Own Christmas City

Today, in my mind I walk the mile or so from the Village to downtown Taunton.  In this memory walk there is crusty snow under my feet.  I can see my breath in icy clouds.  I'm heading for  the Taunton Green in all its Christmas glory.  It may be evening, the stars in a clear sky, before light pollution, of course.  The Green is at its Christmas best, as it has been each year since 1914!

                                                                Here it is in 1929
I apologize for not recalling provenance of this photo.

In 1914, a group of Taunton businessmen gathered to discuss how to increase traffic to the shops downtown.  They were spearheaded by Mr. C.W. Foster.  In a delicious historical coincidence we have this photo below, probably from the 30's, of my Aunt Alveda Souza on the left with a friend on the Green at Christmas.

  Since earlier days there had been a Yuletide
display on the Green, so this seemed a good place to for those businessmen to put their efforts.
Since the Green was an intersection of many main roads, this was perfect.
The display attracted people from all over southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island at
Christmas time. A cold night, music and lights....magic!

The display started with just a few lights, today they number a million.

Look closer: there are marvelous notes to this photo.  First, the men's shop founded by that same
Mr. Foster is seen prominently on the right.  To the left is the Taunton Bus Station and Comfort Station we all knew so well: a real bus from the time out front.  That station served travelers from as far away as New York, Providence, and of course, the Village.  For us: the Jackson and School Sts. bus picked us up and brought us home. I can still feel the metal poles we held on to as we prepared to get off.

The station itself was warm and clean and the ladies even had an attendant keeping things in good shape.  The stationmaster's office was elevated above everyone else. 
He announced the buses in a deep voice of great authority.


Below is a photo from 1947: Bliss Lumber Co. kept these photos for years: we have them to thank.
(Photo from the website cardcow)

The photo below from 1948 is also from that same website and provides us with none other
then a sighting of one of the little diners on the Green.  Anyone know which?

Finally, another photo below from my Aunt Alveda's collection thanks to her daughter, Shelley Au.  This is a beautiful reminder of the sentiments often expressed on the Christmas Green display.
There was usually a nativity scene prominent displayed.

The display that year sat upon the honor role that listed the names of those Taunton servicemen and women lost in World War II. This display must have been in the 1940's sometime. 
The honor roll, as far as I know, no longer is on the Green.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas lights twinkle in my mind

Back in the day, it would be time to find a Christmas tree.  Our folks would either go out into the woods and chop one down or more likely go off to a lot where they sold them
 (and a lot cheaper then, too).
Once the live tree was roped to the top of the car it would come back home with us. Would it fall off the car before we arrived?  Would it fit, would it hit the ceiling, its slender top tilting off to one side? Would Dad have to chop the top off?  Would the star fit on top?

                    Did you know that today only 25% of people in the U.S. buy a fresh Christmas tree?
                                                            Wall St. Journal report 2012

The tree would next be fitted into the stand and screwed in place.  This could be a  tricky feat, as we had to hold it straight so that it would stand upright. Then the stand had to be watered, it was live, remember?  But, up it would go.  Often we would let it be for the night, letting it "settle."

Do you think Dad had a good drink beforehand?

Phase I : The lights. Those big clunky strands that would somehow not have been put back correctly the previous year ending up in a tangle.  Dad and we got them all worked out and stationed along the branches.  Put on the lights: oh, no, one bulb must be out!
 And on and on and on....

                                 I remember these bubble  lights, too, though they were soon 
                                           replaced with the big colored ones.
                          Dad needs another drink....and the boys sneak out of the house.

Phase ll: the tinsel.  Yep, the tinsel. You took it out of the original  boxes where it had been recycled last year and packed away.   No cheating now: no bunches flung in heaps.  Delicately, strand by strand.  Kneeling, pushing through the branches, reaching up and around.  Suddenly, someone would yell the dreaded: "you missed a spot!".  Finally, probably after an hour or more: done with the tinsel.
    Little known facts about tinsel:  from an old french word meaning sparkle, it used to be made of real silver (only for the rich), then it was made of aluminum (when we all got on board), and now: ready: polyvinyl chloride - translated - do not let your babies and animals chew it.  Thanks to Humor me Blog for those tidbits.

About  now Dad had another libation to keep from uttering words children, they thought, did not know. Dad may have even  quit the process altogether.  Up to us and Mom now.  Looking for ornaments in their old boxes which had sunk in tops from being used year after year.  Mom and us commenced to decorate the tree, finishing with a satisfying sigh...

                                                          Photos all from Pinterest

The house was now scented with that beautiful smell of pines, no spray cans needed, thank you. The glow of the lights reflected off the ornaments and tinsel and also our hearts.  The rest of the house lights went out and,  job well done, we sat and listened to the memories of earlier Christmas days.  We remembered loved ones gone, while visions of sugar plums danced in the minds of we children, for the celebration to come....and the presents (not too many) that would lie at the foot of our tree.

                                 Somehow a quick pre-decorated tree does not do was all
                                 part of a seamless ceremony, those twelve days of Christmas.

                 This year even more hugs for grandchildren.....and gratitude for the innocence of
                       the Christmases we had as youngsters in our very own

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thank you...

This post is for giving my thanks to all those who have supported, commented, spread the word and in general acted as a team for this blog.  The blog is written with love, every word from my heart. It is grand to feel that others share that emotion for the place that made us what we are today.

In particular, I wish to thank Arlene Gouveia and her son John for creating flyers for the blog which will be placed around Taunton as well as for their patience in digitally sending so many wonderful photos that grace the posts. Arlene's written memoirs have provided so much information with more yet to come!  My sister Kathy for her help, my sister-in-law Carol Souza for steadily sharing the blog through her Facebook posts. Thank you to my cousin Shelley, who so willingly shares memories and photos from her Mom's collection: my wonderful Aunt Alveda. Thank you to Charlene who signed on as a member along with my sister Kathy. Thank you to my sister Mariellen for her support.  Did you know you can do that and automatically be made aware of new posts? Thank you to Dave Semas for sharing his memories and precious photos. Thank you to Margaret Walker for a delightful telephone interview about the Village before my time. To Gina, Elaine, Emma Andrade, the Abreau ladies.... I am sure to forget someone but if you are not on this post you are in my heart. Gilda Mello Lynch, Tom Hoye, Nancy Hendrickson, Debbie Moniz: thank you for your interest and comments. Thank you to my nephews Peter and Ryan..I know you are checking in.  Thank you to all the new friends who grew up in Taunton now starting to follow this blog, as well.  You are a rich source of information for this amateur historian.

Comments keep bloggers going! It is more appreciated than you can know.  To everyone who visits: now all over the country and into Europe! Thank you for tuning in.  I started this project when I was getting to what I thought was the end of my written memoir of growing up in the School Street Village. At that point I made the decision to put it online in this Robert Frost said:

                    "....I took the road less traveled by and that has made all the difference!"

The blog and each of you pushes me into new territory, 
into areas of information and memories that delight us all.  

Finally, to my husband who proofs, listens and shares his own growing up adding to each and every post my heartfelt thanks. It is not an easy project, this blog, especially as it grows. I now have a big poster storyboard in my studio to try and keep topics straight and listed.  I need you all, your thoughts and comments, especially stories and photographs.

                                   So keep this coming....we have a long, wonderful way to go!

To each all and your families we wish a Merry blessed Christmas - let us keep the legend of School Street alive and well !!!

                                                           Sandy Souza Pineault

Sunday, December 9, 2012


The first nativity scene dates back to 1223 when St. Francis put on a living creche.  This soon spread throughout Europe becoming a beloved tradition.  It did that in Madeira and The Azores where most of our people originated.  When I was a child, it took center stage for my home and others around me in the Village.

The term on Wikopedia (where else?) for the dramatic and complex nativity scenes in Portugal is called Frioes-Presipio.  I never heard that:  for me it was always the home for 'Minin Jesu'. -Anyone want to help me with that, for surely I did not spell it right.  I could not find the right translation for my memories. It just lives in my thoughts.

Here is what I do know and remember.  These nativity scenes , religious works of art, took center stage rather than Santa Claus in our homes.  Santa surely did have his place, of course, as he was rooted in a Christian tradition.  Basket laden mothers, aunts and grandmothers headed to field and "forest" around this time to find mosses, pines branches, holly leaves and berries and whatever else caught their creative and practiced eyes.  We often went with them, carrying baskets and branches and perhaps even making our own discoveries.  It was quiet, peaceful, and if there was snow it just lent the perfect air to the moment. No other noise than the wind in the trees and bushes and birdsong. The sound of our boots on frozen grasses and moss.

A few weeks before, a handful of wheat grass seeds were planted in a small cup in readiness for its place in the creche symbolizing the Child as Food for the soul and the world in Communion.  Margaret Walker who grew up in the Block in the Village says it was called thicue (phonetic) and took about three weeks to grow after planting it in containers in the house.

While the grasses grew, mosses were kept in a damp place until all was ready.  When the moment came, Christmas music was put on to put us all in the mood.  The scenes that my mother and my Aunt Eleanor built often took up a whole wall or wall and a half in a room.  Each year, my mother would add a new little figure: it made it easy for us to buy her presents as they usually went to this annual project.  I think St. Francis was her inspiration as these little figures often were tiny glass animals, often mother and father and offspring.  Little fish and ducks added to the ponds she created. Lakes were created with mirrors, hills with boxes and little tables stacked high for drama, often covered with material and then with mosses and stones.

 Today I am an artist, following in her creative footsteps...all her daughters are creative, each in their own ways, most especially at Christmas.  When I set up my little scene I always get emotional as the memories engulf me, sweet tho they may be,  She is not here, but she is probably directing St. Francis as to his latest creation. Sadly, I have only one photo from her sets and this is it.  The hardest task was to keep the cat out of sleeping in it, but little hands were invited to touch and move things around. As a small child I have a vague memory of going around in the evening with Mrs. Carvalho, our Church organist and other children, some with instruments, to sing carols in lullaby to the Baby Jesus in homes around the Village.

                                               Creche by Angi Souza in her later years.

                                              Adoration of the Magi this was not...but too
comfy for a kitty to resist

That year, Mom's scene wove all around her grandsons.

Incredibly, adding to her creative skills such as photography, my mother began to do
wood carving.  Her pieces are precious momentos on the hearths of all of our homes.
This is a part of my creche this year, and as each year, this little dog she carved 
sits with pride before the Child.  His tail is high and I decorate it with a few stars, he
almost has a smile to match.  One of my paintings provides a backdrop.

Do you hear what I hear ?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

What Earlier Generations Gave to this one....

November 29, 2012, an article appeared in the Wall Street Journal:
" Cue the Holly, It's Time for Bing &Co."
 It was written by none other than the son of Allan Funt -
remember Alan from Candid Camera?
His son is Peter Funt. It was a great article and I would like to share some of it 
along with my own thoughts.  Here goes.

As we hear interminable Christmas songs everywhere we go during
 this pre-holiday period, this may soften the blow.

Much of the American Christmas music tradition took root during World War II, a period that saw the release of "Holiday Inn" in 1941 in which Bing Crosby first sang Irving Berlin's heart-string tugging "White Christmas".  It was a time when live music ruled the radio networks, giving prominence to pop-standard stars of the time who recorded the songs that remain popular today as holiday classics.

Soldiers far from home and families awaiting their return, shared these tunes that stressed home, hearth and family.  Back then, most people heard the same radio shows and saw the same movies.  It was all a shared experience, quite unlike with today's fragmented media.  Today's music media usually means ear plugs isolating a person from those around them.  No more gathering around the radio...

The war era was a golden age of holiday spirit, not only for Christmas music, but also for the holiday films still cherished at this time of year - It's A wonderful Life, multiple versions of The Christmas Carol, Miracle on 34th Street and more.  It was a time of relative innocence that many folks regard with a sense of deep nostalgia (that's us).  In 1949, Gene Autry sang Holly Jolly Christmas and it still takes second place to White Christmas in holiday hits. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas was 1943 and Blue Christmas in 1949.  Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer was written in 1939 as part of a printed promotion for MongomeryWard department stores.  Talk about longevity! I'll be Home for Christmas released in 1943.

Newer more recent songs of the season just do not have that sticking power. I think that is because when the older ones are played our hearts and memories go into overdrive.  We are sent back to a more family oriented simpler time.

'Our special fondness for decades-old holiday music seems immune to forces that change almost everything else around is.  Now that's a holly jolly thought.'

                               Yes, it is holiday music but the slides are great!  Merry, merry...
                       p.s if the little ad comes on at the bottom, just hit the x and it will go away/

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Whether you believe in global warming or not, there is little doubt that for us winters were full of a heck of a lot more snow and a whole lot of chill and cold.  Bone numbing cold. Snow drifts that to little folk seemed very, very high.  We continued to spend our time outdoors though the temperatures plummeted. Sleds took the place of bikes and ice skates were sharpened. Woolens came out of mothballs and smelled that way, too.

Snowsuit paralysis: did you see the movie The Christmas Story with Darren McGavin? We love it so much our kids gave us the video one year for a gift! There is a scene where the little brother is so layered and bundled for the winter cold that when he falls down he cannot get up or bend his arms or legs.  Here is a photo of my little brother and a can see the snowsuit my brother is wearing.
Doesn't look like he could bend much either.

Our Mom used to put our legs into the sleeves of cardigans then button up the tops around our waists before we stepped into leggings.  Our stocking feet would then be wrapped in Wonder Bread wrappers (my Mom always kept those around, even in her later years). I read in a 50's blog another writer describing her mother doing the very same thing! Thanks to my sister Kathy for the memory of those wrappers.

Thus, we were ready to face the cold staying out for hours til we came in with
 bright red cheeks and bright eyes.

Cordoroy whistles and jean rubs:  my husband shared that when you wore cordoroy pants in the cold they would get so stiff  they would whistle and crack, never mind the red thighs you got from those or jeans in the cold.  As a little girl walking to school with a skirt or a dress, stockings ending just below the knee, my knees would freeze so that they would go numb.  Back then little girls did not wear jeans or leggings to school. Here is a scene from kids in could have been us. Note that the girl has no leggings on....brrr, I can still feel that tingling! When your knees started to thaw, they actually hurt.

Snow forts: we often made forts with the huge mounds of snow against the garage from the plow and more often shoveling by hand. Crawling in and out and never thinking it could cave in.

The music of sizzling radiators: Once kids finally surrendered to the cold and wet they came
in to hot cocoa topped with marshmellow fluff.
The marshmellow gave your mouth a mustache..can you still feel it? 

Dripping clothes, often studded with bits of snow and ice, were placed on the radiators to dry.  The radiators would sizzle, steam and permeate the air with the smell of wet wool.  Somehow polyesters and such materials are not the same as those hand knitted woolens. Did the fact that they were hand knitted make the love in them warm you even more?

You slipped into dry socks and mmmm the feeling. 
Never did hear the word "bored" spoken by children in those days.
 Getting kids to sleep at night was not a problem either.

stock photo from the internet

What do you remember from your winter memory stores?