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.

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.

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