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.

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.


  1. Sandy,it's really ironic that I was going to send you a post about Emma Morris Lopes,Sassy's wife. She died on February 8th.Her obituary is in today's gazette.She helped so much with info about the corner. I believe she was the oldest person from the neighborhood.She was 103.

  2. Sandy,I really loved your first entry on "the corner" and "the block". I recognized Peggy's song "Oh You Nasty Man". I discovered it was an Alice Faye hit from one of her early movies.Recently,I watched her bio on The Biography Channel and she sang it. She was a great entertainer!
    Beverly's parents' wedding picture is wonderful! Love to see those old wedding pictures.I have my mother's friends' pictures. I've given them to family members. Those I don't recognize I still can't throw them away.
    Keep up the good work!