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.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Postscript:Camp Miles Standish

Camp Miles Standish closed the year of Alveda and Ziggy's marriage: 1946. 
It was decommissioned January 11th  and it  closed in one day.
All of the civilian workers were laid off in that one day.
There was a brief span of time when Taunton officials tried to get the Camp
 to be the location of the newly founded United Nations.

 That, as we know, did not work out.

                                                              The Echoes of Legacy

The over a million and a half service American and Allied men and women passing 
through the Camp were from :

17th Field Artillery Brigade
20th Fighter Groud
26th Infantry Division
29th Transport Squadron
34th Tank Battalion
372nd Military Police Company
395th Infantry Regiment
452d Bombardment Squadron (medium)
361st Fighter Squadron
49th Troop Carrier Squadron
501st Infantry Regiment
555th Signal Aircraft
57th Fighter Group
5th Ranger Battalion
68th Armor Regiment
70th Infantry Division
95th Infantry Division
99th Bombardment Wing
III Corps
30th Cavalry Reconnaissance Troop
167th  Engineer Combat Battalion

                                     A little spot in Taunton  played a pivotal role in WWII.

   To memorialize those from Taunton who made the ultimate sacrifice in the war an Honor Roll was placed was erected and for years had pride of place on Taunton Green.  The dedication was photographed by Alveda and here is that photograph.... date unknown.  That little boy looks familiar.....

For $1 in 1953, the state purchased the Camp, and on Oct. 26th of that year, former presidential candidate and Governor of Illinois, Adlai Stevenson, with  other dignitaries
 and Governor Paul Dever of Massachusetts  presided at the dedication of
The Paul Dever School for  Disabled Youth. A crowd of over 5,000 was present.
 The School was built at a cost of $10, 200,000.
 Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Becall were also present, remembers one of our readers who was there.
In  2002  due to changes in state policies, Paul Dever was finally closed and now its shuttered remains have joined those left by the Camp.
In 1973, the City of Taunton purchased 700 acres of the old Camp area to establish
the Miles Standish Industrial Park.


Acknowledgements:  Sources:

*Wikopedia:  Camp Miles Standish

*Archives of Alveda and Zigmund Napieralski as shared by their daughter Shelley Au

*70th Infantry Division Association website: History and Remembrances of 
*Jim Koller- Remembrances of Camp Miles Standish- 64 Years Later

*Archives: Taunton Daily Gazette online:
History Of Camp Miles Standish and Prisoner of War Experience 1943-1946 review
of presentation by Dr. William Hanna, Taunton Historian and author History of Taunton.
Many of Dr. Hanna's quotes were used in these posts.

*The Taunton Public Library, Reference Department.


Coming: interim posts as I prepare for the telling of The Origins of the people of the Village.
Welcome to any and all who wish to help with their family history in this regard,

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Ziggy was wounded in France suffering from shrapnel wounds and burns on both ankles.  The scarring and pain would stay with him he whole life. Who knows what memories were also embedded in his mind: he never spoke of them.  He had that in common with
 many veterans of that global catastrophe.

Finally, the war in Europe ended.  Paris was liberated and Ziggy was there with his unit.  This photograph is the inspiration for this entire series of blog posts.  It is incredible.  I wish I could enlarge it more.  Ziggy is in the bottom row, fifth from the right.  He wears a pensive expression. Many of the faces we see here are as serious and thoughtful as he, perhaps reflecting
on the heavy cost paid to get to this moment.

The war ended in Europe in 1945.  In 1946, Ziggy and Alveda were married in Taunton at St. Anthony's Church.  They could now start their new life together and would not be apart again until they each passed on and were united for eternity.

We are so very fortunate to have been able to piece together this story.  As we know, we are losing WWII veterans rapidly each day, and often their stories are lost with them.  It is an honor to consign this one to where it will not be forgotten. 

 Thank you, Aunt Alveda and Uncle Ziggy, for this history and personal memory trip.  I hope that we have done it justice.

A deep appreciation goes out out to my cousin Shelley, their daughter, and to
my late cousin, her brother Barry for keeping this collection safe.
  Thank you, Shelley, you have done your family proud!


Postscript: next post will finish the Camp Myles Standish saga and acknowledge my other sources.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


If  it were not for Ziggy and Alveda's faithful writing and their enclosed photos, we would have no record of what transpired with Ziggy's military sojourn.  Somehow, a large amount of WWII army records were lost in a 1976 fire, Ziggy's included.  Hopefully, government agencies are more careful today with archival storage of these precious records. 
There are probably more records of the Civil War!

But, we do have these precious documents.
Bless those little Brownie cameras on
both sides of the Atlantic.

Ziggy started out at Fort Devens in Massachusetts from Buffalo, New York, was sent
on to Camp Miles Standish to ready for embarkation, where he met Alveda.
His first stop after that, as we know, was Iceland.
While in Iceland, Ziggy apparently witnessed a viewing of the British
and American troops by Winston Churchill.  
Ziggy himself dates this photograph 1943.
This is pretty interesting as the only time I could find (on Google) that Churchill 
was in neutral Iceland was in 1941 when he met FDR on a yacht moored nearby. 
 So Ziggy might have had a jump on historians.....or not.

Ziggy's orders found him next in France as he followed his WWII destiny.  
Here he is with a bunch of guys, some of whom had served with him in Iceland.
 Ziggy notes that those fellows are marked with an X.

This is such a precious photograph.
 Wouldn't it be wonderful if someone recognized a loved one?
Did all of them return.....?   This is for sure in France where  Ziggy would be wounded by shrapnel fire in both ankles, suffering severe burns.  We do not know any other details: just the fact that the pain and scars bothered him his whole life.  He must have recouperated enough because, as we shall see, he stayed over there with his outfit.


The writing across the sea continued and there is little doubt that Ziggy shared the photos of his lovely sweetheart with his mates.  Here is Alveda (left)  with a good friend on the front stoop of the Souza home on School Street sending him a warm smile of home and hope for better days.

Meanwhile, Camp Miles Standish now included a German and Italian prisoner of war camp. Once Italy was out of the war, Italian prisoners were allowed a bit more more freedom and could leave the camp on their own to visit Italian families in the Taunton area.
They still required passes.  Taunton historian, Dr.William Hanna relates that some of the Italian soldiers would skip out under the fence
on their own and change in someone's car.  It seems that that was so common,
" Taunton buses would stop at the gate and then at two holes in the fence."
They could even be seen walking around the downtown area.
 Germans were kept confined under 24 hour guard and were marched to meals.
Only a few of them were allowed, under guard,
 to work somewhere in the Weir, as there was a wartime
shortage of workers.

 A friend tells me her mother forbade her to wave to any of the prisoners.

Sorry if photo off kilter...

                            Note: I plan to acknowledge all my sources at the end of this series

The Camp continued to play a big part in the Village and Taunton social scene.
Another friend relaated that three of her sisters met their future husbands there,
where they were part of the U.S.O.

  The children in the Village knew the camp,too, another Village alumni tells us, since the army trucks traveling from the Camp would lumber down Purchase Street.  No one knew where they were going, but the kids would rush to the corner of Wilbur and Purchase so that the soldiers could wave to them.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Ziggy was sent to Iceland and here he is outside his"living" quarters.
As he calls it, "ye, old Home"....this was just his style of humor. No doubt
Alveda's letters helped to keep him warm.

Meanwhile, back in the Village, Ziggy was not the only young man  away from his family and sweetheart during the war.  Here is Alveda with my Uncle Edward (Eddie), the youngest of the Souza clan.  She shared this photo with Ziggy.  WWII was a catalyst for villagers to start trending away from the Village as they saw new places and often met their sweethearts. Eddie would be stationed in far-off Texas and meet his lovely wife, my Aunt Grace there.  They would live there and bring up their children in Texas their whole lives.

Here is a another photo: this time of my Grandmother Delphina and her great friend, Mrs. Correia who lived with her son and his family on Bennet St. I   regret I never knew her first name only, respectfully, Mrs. Correia. She and my grandmother spent hours chatting in our living room or out on the front porch.  I never knew if they were both from Madeira.
They are on either side of an unidentified soldier but clearly since Alveda sent this to Ziggy, he would have known him.  I hope he fared well.

As we talk of young men like this, including Ziggy, I have to include 
a young man from nearby Fall River, MA. 
 This was my husband's Uncle Leo Pineault in his 
Durfee High School football gear.
This is quite a football history photo.
It is the only photo we have of him/

Uncle Leo was sent to the Pacific.  The day after Pearl Harbor the ship he was on was sunk and he and a few others managed to get on a life boat safely, only to fall into the hands of the enemy on a beachhead where they were executed.  Later one of Loe's grandnephews did some research and found out that Leo's remains were located and he is at rest in the national cemetery in Hawaii.
Just a reminder of the perilous state all of our troops were in during that terrible war.

Norm also had another uncle who was in the Merchant Marines during  WWII
and survived after many treacherous voyages across the N. Atlantic
to England and Russia as well as other countries. 

There is of course, more to tell of the Village in wartime which is anchored in the
love story of my Aunt Alveda and my Uncle Ziggy and some very exciting historical photos.
There is more to tell of the saga of Camp Myles Standish, too.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Village and a Love Story: Camp Myles Standish

I find the information on Camp Myles Standish fascinating.  Much of it has been gleaned from the Internet including descriptions from Dr. William Hanna's presentation on the subject which were found in Taunton newspapers.  Also, a WWII veteran of the Battle of the Bulge, Jim Koller, was stationed at the Camp and he and his son have blogged on the subject.  

In 1942, the city of Taunton was notified by the War Department  that 1,500 acres would be taken over for a port of embarkation for American and allied soldiers 
shipping out to destinations overseas.
There were 10 such ports in the U.S., six of them on the east coast, of which 
Camp Myles Standish was the third busiest due to its proximity to the port of Boston. 
 Camp Myles Standish was named for the first
commander of the early colonial army .

Each port had a staging area where troops underwent physical examinations, vaccinations and such and also undertook training exercises.  For example, on Watson Pond they built a fake ship and did life boat drills.  Each port was set up to prepare an entire division in a single day for deployment. Troops from the U.S., Australia, Canada and Great Britain passed through here. 
The Camp had a 1,400 bed military hospital

The photograph below is of the guard house at the entrance to Camp Myles Standish.
On the 70th Division Association website our veteran and his son mentioned above
wrote that the original main gate was at the intersection of Bay and Watson Streets about
three miles north of Taunton center.  Nothing remains of this entrance and it is easy to miss
the small stone monument dedicated by the Taunton Allied Veterans Council in 1961.

"To commemorate the site of Camp Myles Standish, the major troop
staging area of the Boston port of embarkation through which 1, 531, 711 
personnel were processed from October 1942 to January 1946
and sent forth to engage in World War II."

At its height, the Camp contained 35 miles of paved roads, almost 1500 structures-including more than 600 barracks-500 to 700 civilian workers and at any given time 39,000 soldiers. The population of Taunton then was 43,000.

Troops also returned here from deployement before being sent out again.  This may have been the case of Ziggy whose military tracks we are hard at work following.  

The Camp also later became a P.O.W.
camp for German and Italian prisoners of war, we will write of that later in this series.

The Camp took the areas of what later became the Myles Standish Industrial Park
 and the Paul Dever School for Disabled Youth (more on that later).
 This document from Mapquest shows the area of the Park and its proximity to Watson Pond.
As those of us that grew up in Taunton know, the Paul Dever School was not far from Watson Pond.  It is now my understanding that the Camp took up more of the Paul Dever School
area and less from the Park. When I looked for remnants
 of the Camp, I always thought it just the opposite.


 It seems that Ziggy and Alveda met there and commenced to cement their long term relationship in writing.  As he went through his war experiences, her letters must have kept him hopeful that she was awaiting him on his return to the States.  This is a great photograph of my Aunt Alveda, which she sent to Ziggy.  She is sitting on the front stoop of her family home on School St.  It is a birdseye view of details such as fashion, cars of the time, a possible Elm tree across the street (Elms were fast disappearing in the U.S. due to Dutch Elm Disease).  For me it is a memory of that sloping front yard and the steps at the end of the cement walk coming from the porch stairs.
This cement walk lives in my memory as my little brother Frank
 fell on the ice here as a child and displaced an important front tooth
giving him an impish smile thereafter.

Alveda kept sending letters with photos such as the one above,
and Ziggy would send letters and photos such
as this one of him writing letters in his quonset hut back to her.
His face is serious and no doubt he is wishing he were back safely with his dear Alveda.  

Next post:
The correspondence romance continues: Ziggy in Iceland watching history unfold.
Alveda steadily maintains her post, supporting him with love and news from her life.  She is a mainstay for him and exemplifies how sweethearts, wives, and families kept at their important work of never letting their soldiers forget how much they were loved and prayed for, a work that continues even today with our young people still in harm's way.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Village History and a Love Story

One of the great things about any type of creativity: painting, writing and the like, are the moments when the creative project takes on a life of its own.  I love that with painting and now I have discovered that this blog tells me what it wants to write: post by post.  It is almost as if all those lost voices are urging me on, wanting to share more and more of our roots. These posts are a perfect example.

Last week my cousin Shelley Napieralski Au shared more photos from her mother's collection. Her Mom is someone you have seen on this blog: my Dad's sister Alveda Souza Napieralski. married to Zigmund "Ziggy" Napieralski, my uncle.  These photos piece together to tell a war time love story.

Though my Uncle Ziggy did not grow up in the Village , he had the good sense and the luck to marry a Villager.  But, how did they meet, these two, one from the Village and the other from New York state?

That is where it gets really, really interesting.... They met during World War II, and they met because of Myles Standish Military Complex in Taunton.  Before I could really tell their love story, which is a beautiful one, I had to do more research on Myles Standish.  What I thought I knew, was only a small part of the fascinating history involved.  My Uncle Ziggy and my Auntie Al were smack in the middle of it all, both here and overseas.

     My Uncle Ziggy was beloved in our family, for his smile and his caring.  He grew up in
     Buffalo, New York. As a young man, like so many others of the Great Generation, he was
     thrust into war.  He was sent to Camp Miles Standish in Taunton which was
     not far from The Village as the crow flies. 

                                   The caption below this picture of Ziggy is in his own writing.

Ziggy and Alveda met at a U.S.O. at the Camp and thereafter began a writing courtship that would end in marriage in 1946.  Both were avid picture takers and avid writers.  My Aunt Al kept all the letters they wrote back and forth, all the photos which are graced with their hand written comments. 
 Here she is on the front lawn of the homestead on School Street.  
He would have received this wherever he was overseas.

 Come with me on Part I of this journey. 

 I hope I can write this with
the  respect and love that I feel.  I am honored to do so. I welcome you to 
share any histories of those wartime years that occurred in your families.

                         Next post:  the tale of Camp Miles Standish and its place in history.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


When we were young and traveling somewhere in the car with my parents, especially at night,  I remember those old radio shows that kept us children quiet as mice.  How about the The Shadow "with Lamont Cranston for one!! 
The dark of the, our imaginations went into overdrive.

That was the key, wasn't it?  Imagination in overdrive.  Your mind filled in the scenes, the people, the action. Talk about interactive!  Radio played a big part in our lives, especially before TV became more affordable and common.  It was in the background of our lives.

Think back...your Mom is in the kitchen.  You are perhaps coloring at the kitchen table, you know; the one with silver strapping around the edges. Your Mom is listening to a romantic soap opera: The Romance of Helen Trent.  Helen Trent, the orphan.  Why does that stick in my mind as if it were yesterday?  If you listen to this - even for a! I had forgotten the theme music...

The era of commercial radio began in 1920, becoming more popular in the late 20's. In an interview I read of my Grandmother Isobel in 1927 she spoke of it as a "talking box." The radio was of vital importance during WWII with FDR's famous fireside chats which helped 
to calm a worried country at war.

The demise of radio popularity apparently ended on Sept. 30, 1962 
with the final episode of Suspense.

Here is a list which your ears will recall: mine did.

The Jack Benny Program----    1932- 1955
Lights Out ...........................     1934-1947
Our Miss Brooks..................     1949-1957
Red Ryder.............................    1941-1949
The Romance of Helen Trent-  1933-1960
Stella Dallas............................  1937-1955
Amos and Andy......................  1926-1960   longest running
The Shadow............................  1932-1955
Suspense.................................. 1942-1962
Aldrich Family.........................  1939-1953
Buck Rogers............................  1932-1947
Burns and Allen.......................  1932-1950
Edgar Bergan and
   Charlie McCarthy..................  1937-1956
Fibber McGee and Molly.........  1935-1956

Who can forget the radio programs commercials like: I'm Buster Brown, I live in a shoe. That's
my dog Tide, look for him in there too."  Also, taking directions for getting your secret decoder ring; when it came it said....drink OVALTINE !  A kids first experience at getting ripped off!

...or  the Salty Brine no-school announcements: for years I thought that Foster-Glocester
was one word, one place!  As in   There's no school today in Fosterglocester...

I felt as if I had lost an old friend when, after a long radio career, Salty passed away.

I have discovered a radio station on my computer with storytellers.  I like to listen to it while I am doing my stationary bike exercises.  It is wonderful to get lost in I did as a child, 
like we all did.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Just saying...

                                      My Aunt Lavina, far left, Aunt Alveda second from right
                                                             unknown wonderful car
                                                                circa early 40's

Do you think that the car was a Daimler?  This coming week we are going to an antique car show here, one of the premiere in the country called Course d'elegance so
maybe some expert can tell me.

Arlene Gouveia tells us (through memories of Jeanette Nascimento and Emma Andrade) that in 1933 in the Village, twelve young women formed a club called The Question Mark Club.  After eighty years there is still at least one active member: the amazing Emma Andrade who has contributed to this blog with other memories as well.  Maybe my aunts and the gals above were members...?  Again, that camaraderie that was so real in the Village of that time
shines out for us.

Seeing this photo reminds me of a much simpler time and talking with my husband
we came up with some thoughts:

Remember when they made change for you at the cash register and counted it out in your hand?
They did the arith-me-tic in their heads rather than letting a machine do the work.  They also smiled at you and chatted.  You used cash and not a card and thus
you knew your financial situation at all times.
                                                    Oh, and nobody stole your identity...    

Have you noticed that developers all over the country are building in the "village-mode" or planned developments, as they are called?  They try to capture again what we had in our Village, using smaller homes with porches and the garages in back so that there are walking areas, common green or shared space.  They should just ask us, we could tell them how to do it right. This nostalgia trend is also prevalent in restaurants such as Cracker Barrel - you walk in and woosh, you are back in the 50's!  Old photos, and what they call home-cooking is
the order of the day.

Nobody I knew, certainly not us, had a dining room.  We all ate in the a family. The kitchen was the happening-place all day long. We did not need decorators to show us how to make it a warm and inviting place....we made that happen ourselves. Have you checked out the latest: shabby chic style?    I rest my case.

                                                                      Just saying.....

Saturday, March 2, 2013


In 1951, the new St. Anthony's Church was dedicated, and the dream
long fostered by the Parish was realized.  It was, and still is 
a beautiful Church, simple and elegant.
Far from the darkness of the basement Church, it was full of light with a
perfect shade of blue on the ceiling.  It seemed always cool in the summer and
warm in winter,  It was where I was confirmed and our little sister Mariellen
made her first communion.

Mariellen Souza Smith

Sometime later, the basement Church provided the foundation for a 
new Parochial School which Mariellen attended and from where she graduated.
I remember how she spoke so fondly especially of Mrs. Carew and Sister Rose Emmanuel.
I remember Sr. Rose from catechism classes as well.

Dedication of the new St. Anthony's Parochial School.
(The school existed until 1972 when lack of staff and
spiraling costs caused it to be closed.  In 1990, a
fire destroyed the school building.  In another building feat, in 1999
a large parish center was built and connected to the Church.)

It seemed that the dreams of the Parish were being realized
 with the opening of the school. 
 Yet, in reality, sons and daughters
 were seeking their own dreams elsewhere, just as I did.  
The Parish would stay anchored by the many
 who stayed in the Village.  But, that vibrant,
exciting and rooted parish life especially prior to the 50's
would soon disappear.

Now it lives only in our memories, those of us who
lived it and in the pages of this blog.

Next post:  Memory Potpourri and more.....