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, February 28, 2013


There was an excerpt from American Interest online by Walter Russell Meade
in the Wall Street Journal this week that seems appropriate to quote 
as I write these St. Anthony posts.

" The Catholic Church in America suffers from an
acute problem as the descendants of the 19th and early 20th century mass migrations
of Catholics from other countries......move farther away from their roots,
they are also moving away from a sense of their
inherited Catholic identity...... The ethnic neighborhoods
with their ...organizations in and centered on parish churches have
been fading away since World War II....."

As I revisit our own neighborhood roots, I am struck by that quote and
how it pertains to the Village.  As we look at these photos, especially the early ones,
we feel the strength, the numbers, the closeness of
this Parish which was truly an anchor.  I am still able to remember and enjoy the end of
those days so can imagine what came before,  It is another reason that this
blog is important as I try to record as much as possible.  Like the saying
I gather these lilies while I may.
We must hold to the treasure that is our history, for as Mr. Meade says,
it is fading fast.

Again, I urge you to share old photos, if you are lucky enough to still
have them.  Simple to scan and email them to me, 
or send them to me and I will scan them and carefully send them back to you.

Let's make those memories shine again!

My own first memory of St. Anthony's was that I was dressed as a little angel in procession with a gaggle of other boys and girls, feathered wings and long silky gowns for the girls afflutter in the breeze.  There were always processions, even all the way up School Street to Braga Square where traffic was halted.  Sonny Mador remembers that well.  Men hoisted on their shoulders a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus or Our Lady, or perhaps the silken canopy for the priest who was holding the Cibborium.  

                                                      My First Communion photo:1948
                                                         I had lost my two front teeth
                                                         so kept my lips pressed shut.

The hardest thing for little kids
was when the Host got stuck on the roof of your mouth and you thought 
you were in real trouble!

  I just about remember
the Minstral Shows (no longer a tradition for obvious reasons) as the one below in 1949.

"I (Arlene) am right behind the interlocator (the M.C.), Chris Soares,
dressed in a white suit.  Tony Pimental, music director, is next to him
in a tuxedo.... we rehearsed in the little parish hall
on Washington St.....many romances blossomed into
long lasting marriages."
Arlene Gouveia


All through the years the basement church was our central core: baptizing our children to
consigning our departed.  It wound about is, offering shelter, absolution,
 friendship and understanding. The parish was so active that often
three priests were assigned to it.

The parish of St. Anthony's was a major link to our Portuguese roots.
I can still hear the shushing whispered prayers of the black clad grandmothers
 kneeling in the pews, and the Mass often 
said in Portuguese, as it still is today.  Portuguese culture centers on religious activities 
for both faith and social needs, and it did so in a much greater way
when we were growing up than today.  What a gift that even though at the
tail end, I could be part of it all.

next post: The New St. Anthony's Church.

   NOTE: please check back on earlier St. Anthony posts as many names 
have been added to the photos!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


After my grandfather died in 1927, my Grandmother in her grief threw herself
into church activities namely laundering and ironing
 all the Church altar linens as well as often doing flower arrangements. I can still see her with patience and care ironing each piece and then, linens folded over her arms, walking them down to the Church, with her signature hat on, to finally smoothing the linens in place. She continued that task until her very
 old age, giving it up only when she could do it no longer.

My grandmother : Tender of the High Altar

                                                              Delphina Viera Souza,
                                                             my paternal grandmother

St. Anthony's was a faith focus for the Village, but it was more than that.  It was a social
hub as well.  Long before the days of solo video and computer watching, people gathered. The little subterranean basement Church pulled together her children, young and old.  Sodality, Holy Name Society and more. These photos tell a wonderful tale of those days around the 1920's and 30's and onward.  In spite of a deep depression, war and the pain of newly minted immigrants St. Anthony's provided a zone of safety.  Within walking distance of most homes in the Village,
it was a simple thing to walk to the Church and join in the many activities there.

       Our first photo is from a Church picnic in 1914......wonder if anyone can identity these folk.

  Yes!!  Someone can and did identify some of these parishioners!  The late Henrietta Carvalho through  Arlene G.  What a precious, precious memory.

Front row: 3rd from left: sally Rebello
Second row: 3rd from left: Elsie Menice Jones
5th from left: Mary Rebello (Sally's sister).

Of the six little girls in white:
2nd from left Margaret Marie Moitoza
3rd from left:Victoria Moniz Carew(who later became beloved third grade teacher
at St. Anthony's School),
6th from left: Barbara Christie with big white bow in her hair.
Father Lauro with hat, curate unknown.

Of the four boys anchoring the corners three of them are Menice boys brothers
of Victoria and Elsie who grew up on Lane's Avenue.  

                                               This is the Holy Name Society in 1929
                                                    ( sorry cannot magnify it more)
                                            photo from Janet Viera Custer niece to Mae Parker.
                                                 names: the late Henrietta Carvalho.

 Of the six men sitting in front row: 2nd from left the then Mayor Andrew McGraw, 5th left is
Rev. Manuel Coute: pastor, next to him Dr. Joseph Nunes: local physician, two down in white (as we always knew her) Mae Perry Parker, wife of future Mayor and State Senator John Parker.
Second row: 6th and 7th from left: Frank and Phoebe Rose,
8th from right Cecile Medieros Foster,
3rd row 6th from left: John Carvalho
last row: 7th from left: Tony Pimental (our neighbor for years on School St.),
next to him Tony Marshall, local undertaker, two down from him:
Manuel Costa (husband of Irene).

         There is a possibility that the above photo was taken at the second Taunton Inn (the first burned
        down in 1926...did not know that.

Attention movie buffs:  One of the priests, Rev. Manuel Vicente who had been
assigned to St. Anthony's 
was in a 1932 movie Tiger Shark starring 
Edward G. Robinson and performed the ceremony in the wedding scene.

In 1939, not on the silver screen and much more quietly, my parents, Frank and Angi were married in St. Anthony's Church.  In lieu of a full wedding (things were tough for the Souza family and my mother was a virtual orphan), they were married after the 11 a.m. Mass.  They always said that it was a full Church for their ceremony.  
No matter, they were always a stunning couple.

Frank Souza and Angelina Motta
on their wedding day.

note: please see a few new additions to the previous St. Anthony's post.

 Thanks and please do share your on memories either
in the comments or directly by email to me at

Sunday, February 24, 2013


The Village has a beating heart center.  For us in the School Street Village
 it was St. Anthony's Church.
It is a part of our heritage as it was that of our parents and grandparents.
 For a great part of our lives that Church marked our coming into the world,
our coming of age,
our weddings and finally,
our funerals.

That means it takes up a whole lot of space in our memory repertoires.

In 2002, St. Anthony's celebrated its' 100th birthday.  For a total history of the parish you can write or call the Church in Taunton (aren't we lucky, ours is still there!) and they will send you the booklet composed for that event.  Of course, Arlene Gouveia our Village historian played a big part in that booklet.   I am using my own photos as well as that of Arlenes' and the booklet in these posts.  I am also fortunate enough to mine my own genealogical research.

The Souza family were there when it all began in the person of my grandfather. My grandfather, Joseph Nunes Souza, arrived most likely in 1905 from Madeira and without a doubt gathered with those pushing for a Church belonging to the Village.  It is known that he was one of
the founders of the St. Peter's Society at St. Anthony's.

The contracts for the  first church building at St. Anthony's were signed in 1905 and thus began that beloved dark, nearly subterranean building, that initiated us into lives of faith.  I remember those deep stairs that descended into the church proper. You could not see the altar until you arrived mid-stairwell.

St. Anthony's Basement Church
inset photo: Fr. Louro first assigned priest
it looked like a cave grotto

The smell of beeswax candles permeated the air. If the lights were not yet lit, it was dark and
added to the air of mystery.  All the woodwork was dark as well.  Once, when I was perhaps
12 or 13 years of age, our catechism class was misbehaving.  Fr. Oliveira who was
teaching the class, decided the best option was to shut down the lights, lock the door
and let us stew in our misdeeds.  It worked.  We shut right up and he returned to commence
his teaching.  So we knew how dark that church could be.  Incidently, we did like
Fr. Oliveira in spite of that experience.

Exterior: St. Anthony's Old Basement Church : date of photo unknown

Below is a photo of the first Choir at St. Anthony's.  This is from the booklet and was too precious not to include here.  I would say that this is very early in the history of our Church.
Incredibly, Arlene Gouveia has their names which were
shared with her by the later Henrietta Carvalho.

First row left to right: Frank Cayton,Mary Lawrence, Anna Lawrence, Barbara Cayton.  Middle row: Manuel Carvalho, Marion Lina Lawrence, Clara Carvalho, Alda Furtardo Mitchell, Father Alexandro Louro, Mary Netto, Anna Castro.  Last row: Sylvina Carvalho, George Carvalho, Annie Thomas Viera and Manuel Costa,  It is interesting to note that two brothers, the Carvalho boys, married two sisters, one of which was Clara.

Clara Carvalho third row, second from the left was the first organist and continued her work there for 51 years!  I sang in the choir in the 50's and knew her. The family lived around the corner from us.

The earliest family photo at the Church is that of my Uncle Edward Souza, youngest of Joseph and Delphina's children.  Here is a photo of his First Communion at St. Anthonys'. It may have been the same year my Grandfather died so tragically: 1927.  If so, the Church marked this joyful occasion and the other which such a loss for our family.

 photo was taken at Boutin Studio
6 E. Brittania St.
(I would love to pick through
those archives!)

There are more posts to come regarding the history of St. Anthony's so stay in touch.....

Monday, February 18, 2013


Remember that we spoke of those young men who called themselves The School Street Alliance and collected metal for the war effort?  One of those young men was Anthony Braga.  The School Street Village not only gave scrap metal to the country's wars it gave its young men.  In October of 1951 during the Korean Conflict, Corporal Anthony Braga made that ultimate sacrifice.

This is not a good photo but nevertheless one can see the wonderful smile of this courageous
24 year old young man.  Read the writeup to see just how brave our young Anthony was and how
much he deserved to have The Corner he loved dedicated to his memory.

Source:American Monuments Commission

On Sunday, September 20, 1953 The Square was officially dedicated to Corporal Anthony Braga.
1,200 people thronged the Square and watched silently as Corporal Braga's brother 
unveiled the plaque orever changing the name of The Corner to Braga Square.  Earlier a parade whose music was provided by the Taunton City Band which he would have known so well started at the Security Office way up on School Street and proceeded to The Square.  Various members of the Braga family, including his mother were present at the solemn event.  Many state and military officials as well as local and city representatives were also present and spoke.

In the end though, it was a Village event and the Village held it to itself 
in  remembrance then and now.


Ironically, one of the speakers that day said: " Our purpose is to pay tribute to the memory of Corporal Anthony Braga who gave his life for us in the Korean war, which has recently, and we hope forever,
brought war to an end."

If only that had been true....  There were a total of 836 young men from the state of Massachusetts  who gave their all in this conflict. 
                                                                                               (source: National Archives).


  Thanks to Elaine Farinha DeMoranville for her research at the Old Colony Historical Society and Arlene Gouveia for help with this post.

I do not have data regarding other young men or women
 from the Village who were casualties of the Korean War or other wars.
If you have such information and would be willing to share it,
please do let me know.  It would be an honor to honor them.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Village Square and the World War II Years

Like a little universe unto itself, the School Street Village made its way through the years.
Although very self contained it still mirrored a world at war in the 40's.

In 1941 Pearl Harbor was attacked and the U.S. got into the war in Europe and the Pacific.
Seeking to find a way to be a part of it all, the people of the Village started to collect scrap metal.
Soon piles were growing near or on the Square, especially at an empty lot at 215 School Street. Beds, cars, cans...everything metal was fair game for the fervor of those patriotic collectors.

Peggy Walker remembers that on a lot across from The Block effigies of Hitler, Mussolini and probably their Pacific counterpart were hung on a tree so that people could take out their fear and frustration in some tangible way. Perhaps it was that same lot where metal was stacked.

The metal collection was often led by a group of patriotic young boys called the School Street Alliance. Collections like this were necessary for the war effort as they were converted into war materials.  Arlene Gouveia remembered that as a child she became proficient at smashing and flattening cans.  The collection was added to by everyone in the Village regardless of age.

                       Source: Shoreline Historical Museum online.  Not from the Village.

Even with the direness of war in the air, there was a famed tradition at the Corner: a major bonfire every Fourth of July eve,  That tradition went on when I was young as well.  A week before the Fourth the boys would start collecting wood and combustibles for the bonfire. People all over Taunton would plan on being there.  This was  our Village version of fireworks.I n later years after paint on a house blistered during a bonfire a patrol car hung around trying to discourage the event but still the tradition continued and the wood kept being collected.  You cannot get rid of a tradition that easily.

Also, in those years part of the festivities on Fourth of July eve was a legendary yearly daredevil performance of acrobatic pole climbing by a fellow named Vincent Furtardo whose stage was the telephone pole between 206 and 208 School St.  

Finally, World War II ended.  Five years old, I still remember the bells ringing all over Taunton while everyone poured out onto the Square from every part of the Village.  There was hugging, singing and tears. I remember I had on a blue chenille bathrobe and that I was so small
in that sea of exuberant celebrating and thankful grown-ups!

                                      Source: Tennessee History for Kids;Online
                                              Not from the Village

Thanks to Peggy Walker, and to memories of Jeanne Nascimento, Delores Veilleux
and Freddie Ventura through Arlene Gouveia.

Next Post:  The Corner is dedicated to one of
its fallen warriors.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tales From the Village Square

What is a Village without a Square? Ours was called for years simply The Corner and
later Braga Square.  The next few blogs posts will be on this topic.

The Corner as it was long called knitted together upper and lower School Streets,
Winter, Floral Street and Longmeadow Road. It was anchored by the Broadway Bakery,
Thomas' Store and just a little off, Jigger's Variety. Anyone with knowledge of the
chronology of these shops please jump it.  When I was a child in the 40's, this is what I knew.
We already know of the cows coming home through the Corner to
their barn on Winter St.   

Let's go all the way back to the 1930's for a full history. We are fortunate enough
to have some wonderful stories to share.

In the U.S. here is what was happening.

In the 1930's the Empire State Building opened in N.Y. City. 
 FDRwas sworn in as President in 1933 and proceeded to establish the New Deal.

FDR and Al Smith in 1932

In the 1930's the Empire State Building opened in N.Y. City. 
 FDRwas sworn in as President in 1933 and proceeded to establish the New Deal.
Things began to get more promising and there was hope that The Great Depression would end.

You Tube: Theme song when FDR was elected: Happy Days are Here Again.


In 1933, my Aunt Mary Souza of 184 School Street married John Bernadino. 
My Uncle Joe Souza, her oldest brother 
and her friend Mary Costa (of Taunton Flower Studio) were best man and
maid of honor. She is a lovely bride and was a person quick to smile and laugh
We miss her, as well as my wonderful Uncles John and Joe.
One of the reasons I did a Souza genealogy was that I wanted the young generation
to get a flavor of the gift it was to grow up surrounded by the love of these
Aunts and Uncles in an extended family.

Left to right: John Bernadino, the new Mrs. Mary Souza Bernadino.
Joseph Souza and Mary Costa.  The marriage took place at
St. Anthony's Church on School St. in Taunton. A Village event.


In 1933, the 21st Amendment ended Prohibition.

Not far from The Corner on School St. was The Block (we went in for simplicity).
The Block housed 10 families: 5 apartments downstairs, 5 upstairs.
Did you know that during Prohibition there was a Speakeasy downstairs in
one of the apartments at The Block? Yep, says Peggy Walker who lived in
those days in The Block.
As a small child she used to charm customers 
by singing" Oh, You Nasty Man"
to them and was rewarded with pennies.
 They loved hearing her and of course, her Daddy was nearby.
 An early Village entrepreneur.
Remember children wandered easily around The Block, as did my late
brother, Leo Campaniriowho at age 2 or so was often sent by his Mom
 from the Block to get bread from Semas Grocery next door.

Speaking of Speakeasies of that time...
Alcoholics Anonymous was founded not many years later..
But, I digress....
Another wonderful story concerns Sassy Lopes' (our barber) father.
Mr. Lopes Senior was an active member of the Portuguese Baptist Church in the 30's 
as well as of The Salvation Army. He was used to rousing music and fiery sermons. 
He decided to share his talents.
Each Sunday morning he would roll his organ all the way from Whitsborough St. to 
The Corner and start preaching accompanied by his music.  People would come out of their
homes bringing their own chairs to listen. Most of them had
already been to Mass at St. Anthony's!  Still Mr. Lopes attracted them.
After his inspiring sermon, he would then wheel his organ  
all the way back home.

Immediately after, the true tenants of The Corner would take back
The Corner and play craps.  In the next posts we shall talk more
about these young men and their place in the History of
our own Village Square.

Young men playing craps. Not the Corner.

from Floridamemories,com


Thanks to Arlene Gouveia who shared stories from her father, 
to Kathy Campanirio for stories from her late husband, Leo,
Peggy Walker for sharing her stories, and to Beverly Bernandino 
for the wonderful photo of her parent's wedding.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Just a Thought

I am a great fan of Dr. Seuss and his philosophy. This is a good reminder of what this blog is
about.  As I write, compose, receive memories from others,  I am struck once more of what
an honor it is to record the story of the Village.The Village, as it once was, exists now only in our hearts and it is from our heart that all of this comes.  Every time the cords of our memories are nudged more memories and smiles come forth to again cheer our days.  I take this moment now to tip my proverbial hat in gratitude to the place we called home 
and to those who were and are
our world.

Coming soon: Every Village Needs a Square.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


Following along with the theme: Where Everybody Knows Your Name
read this after you have read the post just before this, with the theme to Cheers.
I simply had to add the information here from Arlene's comments to be sure everyone reads and enjoys them.  She and her husband, John, deserve a prize for this!!

Arlene tells us that the name sometimes has historical basis, sometimes are Americanized and sometimes remain in Portuguese.  Another wonderful point is, like famous sports celebrities, these nicknames were retired upon the passing of the person named.  The nicknames were labels of affection, after all, so could not be transferred. They were used by friends, boys and men rather than girls (well, there were a few...). and not usually at home.

  •    Pepper                                                                   
  •    Twan                                                                   
  •     Bibber                                                                   
  •     Red (x2)                                                      
  •     Fling                                                                      
  •    Joao Bota                                                          
  •    BoBo                                                                     
  •    Kerchie                                                                                                                      
  •    Horse  
  •    Pinky
  •    Peckum
  •    Doogy
  •    Cockerroach
  •    Flash
  •    Crow                                                                                           
  •    Champ                                       
  •    Chip                                          
  •    Butchy                                    
  •   Fahring
  •   Jug
  •   Fat Man
  •  Benedek
  •   Pingingah
  •   Jigger
  •   Chipper
  •   Flordas
  •   Chummy
  •   Big John
  •   Favaseca
  •   Cappy
  •   Bidgy
  •   Canary
  •  Joe Papea
  •  PeeWee
  • Frenchy
  • Moochie
  • Leftie
  • Joe Mummy
  • Cab
  • Sub
  • Mo

These names conjure up people in my minds: I remember them now. Some I should have known:
Bunny was my Uncle John Souza, Canary was a tenant at my Aunt Annie's on Winter St. next to
Jigger's Variety.  Pinky lived on School St. not far from us.  
Who can forget a name like Favaseca:  me, I guess.

Can you see them in your mind's memory?

Monday, February 4, 2013


The words from the well-loved sitcom Cheers rings in my mind....
(composer Gary Portnay)

                      With the theme as background, I hope you enjoy reading this post as much
                                                                  as I did writing it.

The litany of nicknames in the Village echoes in my heart.  It is as if I am reciting a kind of nursery rhyme..remembering them.  Portuguese folk were fond of anointing one another with pithy ones.The reasons for these nicknames were often lost in the past somewhere: the names just took root and stayed attached to that person, usually for a lifetime.  Here are a few to tickle the strings of your memory. Perhaps they will stir up more for us to share.

                -chicken without eggs....or galinha sems ovos
                     (who knows why)
               -49-50 - cadence for a man who limped, said in english.
-Red Sox
-Tony Hikey
-The Bishop
-Twinney (?x2)
-Too Tall
-Jimmy Pierre
-Sebula (onion)

This is what happens when your lives continually meet and intertwine in the cultural kind
of bubble that is a village. 

Meanwhile as the song goes:

" Be glad there's one place in the world

where everybody knows your name".