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, January 28, 2013

Party Time in the Village

We have already talked about Sunday music in the air .  There were other musical sounds, too, like the singing of Happy Birthday. The Village met its own needs. It did not need to go out of it and get all fancy with its parties. They were homespun, relaxing, inexpensive and made for terrific memories. Today folks spend hundreds of dollars on elaborate and competitive birthday parties.
                                                Hands down, I bet ours were more fun.

Birthday parties were a staple of get togethers for kids.  We learned early on to socialize with our little friends from the comaraderie of grownups around us and their willingness to celebrate birthdays. First Communions and so forth.  Remember pin-the-tail on the donkey,
and waiting for the ice cream and cake?

                                                          Photo from the Internet

Below is a  1944 photo of a birthday party in my Aunt Mary and Uncle Joe Souza's kitchen.
The birthday girl is the little girl, mu cousin Carolyn, in the middle.
The doll was her birthday present and it had wandered from her lap.

 How many kids can you fit on top of a table....a whole lot!
 I am third in from top row looking at my sister Kathy...I think. My late cousin,
Jack Bernadino is bottom left. Cousins and friends.
We were a parcel of cousins so that made a party all on its own.  Here friends were invited, too.

My family was a party family.  Cynthia says she recently came upon a note she had written:"I was invited to a party at Sandra's.  I won a prize."  That would have been in the 40's so kudos to you Cynthia for keeping that moment!

See some folks you recognize in the photo below?
 Must have been a Christmas thing as three of us
                        are wearing velvet which was the thing for little girls in that season.

circa late 1940's

 Finally, as we got older, the parties got a little more sophisticated....
but still took place at home.

  My Aunt Alveda in the background, my Aunt Eleanor making the calls
for this Square dancing party:
myself top left with Anthony Butler, Elaine Farinha far right...
My Mom and aunts had removed all the furniture from my parent's bedroom on Blinn's Ct.
to make room for this one.  You can bet that there were lots of homemade goodies, too.  
No need for clowns and pony rides...who could afford that anyway?

Like I said.....homespun.

What kind of parties do you remember ?

Friday, January 25, 2013


Working on this last Band post, I was seeking a good photograph. I need not have worried. Along came this wonderful photo of two youthful band members in the late 1950's.  Here are first cousins David and Norman Rose in their band uniforms.  Love the loosened ties.  This photo emphasizes again the strong family  aspect of the band.  We go on with that legacy now. Thanks Arlene once more for completing the stories in words and in pictures.

Leaving their Rose house School St. location in 1959 only after it was needed for the growing  Rose family, the Band went next to the Ward 5 on Winter St.  James Walczak tells us that he played trombone with the band during those years in the Ward 5 basement.  He said it was grand to play somewhere every weekend, especially at the Portuguese Festas.  Later practice took place at the Eagles Club on Lawrence St. in Taunton, the Gun and Rifle Club on E. Brittania, back to the Ward 5 and then to the Veteran's of Foreign Wars on Engle St.  Someone will have to take on the more recent history of the Band which still plays today.

We know that young musicians were nurtured By John Gonsalves and the band. Often they went on to make their names in bigger venues.  Here are more of them and their stories.

Joe P. Silvia, a trumpet player with the Band later played with the Billy Mays Orchestra and the J's with Jamie (he married Jamie).  Joe excelled in commercials and in 1964 was nominated for Best Group New Artist losing only to Peter, Paul and Mary.  After he died, a Grammy was found in one of his suitcases.

Darrly Bayer played with the Boston Pops under Harry Ellis Dixon, also with Destiny's Child, The OJ's, The Temptations and the Four Tops as well as Michael Bolton. His grandfather, Mr. Schine, ran the little variety store that my Uncle John Bernadino once ran on School Street.

John Gonsalves himself had a son, Jack, whom he taught to play the trumpet. After years following his father's footsteps in the band  he form ed the Jack D'John trio with two other musicians, brothers Dan and John Majkut.

The Trio went off to Las Vegas to make their name, playing in all the big hotels: The Sands, The Flamingo, Cesar's Palace.  Often they opened for big name acts such as Bill Cosby. Once Bill Cosby was very late, so the Trio played nearly the whole evening wowing the crowd. Headlines the next day read "Unknowns Outshine Cosby".  The Trio is still familiar to all of us.

Jack also had a son who followed in his father's and grandfather's footsteps.  Jay Gonsalves is known for the BaHa Boys who began 20 years ago.  The Brothers have played in Las Vegas, Treasure Island, Puerto Rico, Bermuda and for 14 years in their beloved Key West. Last year they were invited to play with their idol Jimmy Buffet in Newport, RI.

Here is where the big circle closes and I come in.  Carol Souza, my sister-in-law, wife of my brother Frank, is former wife to Jack and mother to Jay.  Certainly when I listened and danced to the BaHa Brothers....I had no idea of the legacy that I was tapping into.

Village ties run deep and far and wide. The Taunton City Band was born in the Village and will always belong to it in a special way.  May the Band play on...and on....and on....

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Famous Son of the Band

Little did we realize when we heard the band tuning up on School St. that its sounds had traveled far beyond our little village.  Travel they did: as far as the bright lights of
Las Vegas and New York.

This bit of Village folklore is brought to you by the late Joseph Rose, Arlene's father.
 She had recorded his story that now it reaches out to us.
This is a story of dreams and a belief in one's talents.

Mr. .Rose said that the greatest musician that the
 Taunton City Band produced was
 Joseph Crovello.

 Joseph's father, although non-musical himself,  encouraged him to take up the violin. He immediately excelled in it. When he became a part of the Taunton City Band he could play any instrument he picked up.  He gravitated, however, to the trombone. All his fellow band members recognized that a very special talent was among them.

In the twenties Joseph went to New York City seeking his musical fame and fortune.  He played in pit orchestras for many Broadway shows.  For a time he played with Phil Spitalny before Phil switched to an all girl orchestra, something more common in those years (Phil'sAll Girl Orchestra
 highlighted Evelyn and her Magic Violin if you would like to seek it on You Tube 
that,too is quite a story).

Joseph played in orchestras that broadcast live from ballrooms atop hotels such as the Astor.  He always sent Mr. Rose postcards alerting him as to when the broadcasts would take place.
 Her father, writes Arlene, stayed up very late to listen.  From little School St. to atop places like the Astor a strong and lasting link....  

   Listen in and get a flavor of it all. 
 It is very possible we are hearing the sound of Joseph's trombone.

                                                               Our tale continues.

Joseph married a beautiful Zeigfield follies girl named Sonja.  He adopted her son who became a well known artist in his own right.  The Taunton Gazette ran an article on his son some years back.  Try watching this YouTube video to get a taste of the world in which Joseph Crovello found himself....probably pinching himself to be sure it was true.

In reality, it was too good to be true. Tragically, in the early thirties, at the height of his career, Joseph Crovello died suddenly of "walking pneumonia".  Joseph died unexpectedly while talking to his mother in his apartment.  His mother was visiting from Taunton.

The Village was devastated.  Mr. Rose was heartbroken.  All the Taunton City Band could do was to play for Joseph at his funeral.

                                    Joseph Crovello had just formed his own band in New York.

Next post: more about the Taunton City Band and its history.
 Meanwhile, is it possible that there is
someone who recorded the early sounds of the Taunton City Band?  Hope springs eternal!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NEW: Fourth Band Photograph Identification

Please note that there is an addendum to the Music in the Air post.  I have added an identifying email from Arlene Gouveia telling us who most of the band members at the time were....
                                                                  don't miss it!


Friday, January 11, 2013

Music in the Air

           Certain sounds told you back in the day that it was a summer Sunday in the Village.

  One of those sounds was the sweet music of the Taunton City Band practicing at 199 School St.  Near the Block, two houses up from where Cynthia Luz Mendes lived on School Street, the house was owned by Arlene Rose Gouveia's grandfather. Arlene and her family lived in the house just behind the house where the band practiced.

The Band practiced in that building from 1923 to 1959!! Talk about Village history!  Later they practiced in other locations but we "owned" them for all those years. More to come on that later.Though not all the members were residents of the Village they were adopted by it, not least by Mr. Rose.  In a poignant sharing, Arlene told that when her grandfather was dying he insisted each Sunday morning that all the windows be open so that he could hear the music.

  In those days there were no loud, rancorous leaf blowers and such attacking ones eardrums. Only this wonderful music permeating our Sunday mornings.  Since none of us had air conditioning windows and doors were open to catch the breeze.  They caught the music as well.  I close my eyes and can hear it even now. Arlene put it well: the sound of music and the smell of baking bread from the bakery! Does not get better than that....

In 1923, the Taunton City Band was formed by the merging of two bands:
the St. Anthony Band and the Artista Band.
  The St. Anthony Band had practiced in the brick building on the opposite side of Thomas' Store on School St., the Artista on what later became Jigger's Variety.  The first leader was Arthur Souza (no relation to John Phillip or myself), a relative of the Vincent family on School St.  We think he led from 1923 to 1927.  John Gonsalves was leader at the age of 17 starting in 1927.
In his own right he was a brilliant musician who played the baritone and trombone. 
Director John Gonsalves was from Dighton Ave. in Taunton.

An online article by staff reporter Marc Larocque in the Taunton Daily Gazette Aug. 5, 2012, told of a concert being held in the memory of John B. Gonsalves, former conductor of the Band.  According to Lewis E. Perry, a Bridgewater resident presently the fifth conductor in the band's history, John  conducted  the band for 40 years until he retired in 1967.  He passed away in 1989.  That would mean that Mr. Gonsalves was maestro for the band that we all heard growing up.

Mr. Lewis says, in the same article, that he himself started in the band when he was a boy of 11 or 12 years of age. I have no doubt that the band was a tradition for many families. The Roses, for example, were fond of saying that there would always be a Rose in the band.  There were- until only recently.. Lewis E. Perry has been director since 1968, picking up after John Gonsalves. He played the trombone once and now "plays the baton" (another Gazette article: Aug. 27, 2012 by staff reporter Gerry Tuoti).

I have to give credit for this post, and also the next one, to Arlene Gouveia and her son John. They are true Village historians and keepers of the lore. Arlene interviewed current leader Lewis Perry whom we thank as well.

These photos are from Arlene. We have, unfortunately, neither dates nor names.  Perhaps, you can do more than name that some of these wonderful people?  No doubt John Gonsalves is in some or all of these photographs.

 These are a great piece of Taunton and Village history: the Taunton CIty Band still exists, after nearly a century of providing soul stirring music.  The heritage of the Band will be shared in the next post, there is a whole lot more to come!

                                 Until then, close your eyes, remember and tap those feet....hear them
                                        tuning up and then: bursting forth in perfect harmony.

This is a wonderful addendum, again thanks to Arlene because she has found identification for the above photograph.  I have copied her e-mail below.

Sandy,while I was going through my pictures of the Taunton City Band,I found some research I had done on the fourth picture of the band.As I remember, this was taken on the stage of the Brockton Veterans' Hospital after a benefit performance. Seated right to left: 1.Anthony Rose(my uncle)2.Aniibal Rezendes,3.Joseph Rose(my father),4.John Gonsalves(leader),5.Adelino De Mello,6.Manuel De Mello,7.Edwin De Mello,8.Unknown,9.Liberico Continho(nickname:Burky),10.Frank Enos.Standing left to right:11.Alfred Rose(my uncle),12.John Bettencourt(my friend,Nancy Brady's father),13.Donald De Mello,14.Gilbert Fernandes(Bridgewater),15.----Henricks(He was a great trombonist in the THS Band),16.Francis King,17.John Rebello,18.Alfred Furtado,19.Richard Enos,20.Louis Perry(current leader)21.Richard King,22.Joseph De Costa(not in uniform)He took care of the instruments.23.Ronnie Gordon(He lived on Purchase St.He loved that band.)24.John Burgess,25 .Edmond Camacho 26.Joseph Terrao,27. Joseph Homen,and28.Richard Ferreira. There is someone in the background that is unknown. 

               This is so precious, Arlene, and you are a true Village historian par excellence!
                We have given new life to this music!

Monday, January 7, 2013


Creating a blog does not happen in a vacuum.  Over a decade ago, I began researching my Souza genealogy: the story that waited for me.  At around that time, I started doing the same with the project: "Searching for Isobel", seeking answers to the mystery of my maternal grandmother's life.  The latter would take me over a decade  to unravel its drama and discoveries.

Both families lived in Taunton, but only the Souzas made the Village  their forever home. From the time they arrived around 1905, they set down deep roots for their children and grandchildren.

                  This is what the Taunton Green would have looked like when they arrived.
       Note the trolley tracks, their wires crisscrossing above, the cobblestones and the magnificent
elms that so graced the city and were later destroyed from elm disease.  Also, the building opposite the court house appears to be the post office....but what is the tower?

My grandmother, Delphina Veira Souza, bore one child in Madeira (who died not long after arriving) and the other 7 on School St. in the little house where I and my family would eventually live.  Delphina  died at the age of 82  having lived at that little house for 66 years.


This photo was taken around 1927: we know that as my Uncle Joe's photo was inserted (a photoshop prototype). He was away in the military far from his family when his father, my grandfather Joseph, died in a tragic drowning accident that same year.  My father, Frank, is in the second row to the right, his elbow resting on his father's chair. Front from left: my grandmother Delphina, Aunt Lavina, Uncle Eddy, Aunt Alveda, second row: my Aunt Mary, Uncle John (Bunny), my Uncle Joe and my Dad.  My grandfather would have died not long after this studio photograph was taken.

 My grandfather was 42 years old, at the prime of his life and career as a Taunton businessman and a pillar of the Village he loved.  The accident occurred at Sconset Neck in Fairhaven.  When the extensive newspaper article was finally discovered, it told of several men, along with my grandfather, off on a hot July day fishing trip.  These friends were men from the Village, men who tried to save him.  Though from the island of Madeira, he could not swim.  When you do such research you uncover these details that were somehow never discussed in the family. The
 men were from families I knew growing up.                       

My Dad would live nearly his whole life in the Village, an entrepreneur like his father. Only illness would make him leave to live elsewhere in Taunton, nearer to my sister Kathy.

This research took me into many historical details about Taunton,
 it whetted my appetite for more.
Thus, along came this blog.

 What is the history of your family in the Village?  Those families that have seen so much change, such loss.  Those families that nurtured us all.  There are still strong ties for me with other grandchildren and children of these, our grandparents..  Each time I return to Taunton, I make the pilgrimage along the paths and byways of the Village I will call me forever home.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Fuller School treats for the new year.

As we all do, I am sweeping up some odds and ends left over from last year.  These sort of do not fit anywhere, so I am putting them in this post.  They still are fun to see.

First and foremost: we have had a sharing of paintings done by our own Sophia Dupont! 
Thanks to Mary Farrell for this: she has the paintings.  Kathy C. has said that once when she visited Sophia she was painting on glass, too.  Multi-talents, our Miss Dupont!  So I am giving her her own exhibit space right on this international blog, here and now. 
 Perhaps she is smiling her lovely smile as we enjoy this.

Cynthia Mendes has found the Fuller School song lyrics in her treasures:
 looks like they were written by Miss Coleman.

Cynthia does not have the first verse..anyone have it?

Add these precious tidbits to your Fuller School memory trove.
I am hard at work trying to organize notes to the Blog, working with Evernote which is a challenge.
Any suggestions are welcome.  If anyone would like to take a peek I also have an art blog called:


It was because of this blog experience that I was able to get on the bandwagon for the School Street Village blog.  I learned a whole lot that prepared me for this labor of love.

Am always looking for more class photos from Fuller School.
Would be great if we could get as many as possible.  One of these stormy weekends, a good time to take out your old photos!


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Felicitacao par o ano novo

Happy New Year to each and all!  Hope the computer translator worked well.  Many a new year's celebration and wish is behind us.  For me, one of 2012's sweetest events was launching this blog. Never did I think it would receive the welcome it has nor the support.  We hit 5,000 visits just before yesterday!  This is a legacy for all of us to leave behind and to share now.  There is a lot of material yet awaiting us and, hopefully, more opportunity for folks to send me photos and stories.

The Village lives on in each of us....let us keep up the wonderful work of keeping it going!!

Currently, getting the plan together for coming blogs.  As of now, I am beyond
my written memoirs so keep feeding the blog!

Best of all wishes for 2013


Here is a little gift to enjoy the holiday and get the
year going on the right note!
Hint: watch it full screen.