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 25, 2014


Children love to draw, to create, starting early to express themselves with crayon, pencil and chalk for the sidewalks, the latter a timeless endeavor for all childhoods then and now.

Early in our schooling back in the Village, Fuller School did not have a full time art teacher but rather a floater going from school to school.  In our case, that was Miss Claire Hyland.  Somehow art class was a place where one could "puddle" going a few steps beyond mud pies and chalk on the sidewalk.  I have no photo of her but etched in my mind is her dark hair, many bracelets and creative style.

                           Bear with me folks, I really am going somewhere with this….promise.

At Cohannet School, I had Miss O'Keefe for art class.  I remember distinctly drawing a copy of a Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover, a bellhop carrying a load of coats, his cap askew.

Then on to high school and this is where I have been heading.  A real art studio classroom finally, with Mrs. Rosemary Corrigan McGrath as art teacher.  A gentle quiet woman who shared with us her love of art with pencil and brush.  Sitting in front of easel tables in a quiet environment  allowed our imaginations to flow.  My project was a bride in a long ivory gown..I think in oil but perhaps, in pastel.  It seems to me that from these teachers was born a lifelong love of creating art and finally teaching it, a second career for me. I was forever hooked.  I just found this photo of that high school art room  in my 57 class yearbook.  Does it bring back memories!  One can sense the quiet intensity as we worked on our masterpieces!

That quiet intensity was fostered by this marvelous woman.  Years and years later when I taught art classes I think that atmosphere was one I tried to emulate for my students.

                                                         Rosemary Corrigan McGrath
                                                      Photo from Taunton High School
                                                             1957 Class Yearbook

Flash forward.  This is where my story gets even more interesting and we see the circles of life.  As I mentioned my first career was in health care.  In the early 70's I was a nursing supervisor at St. Anne's Hospital in Fall River, Mass. Mrs Mcgrath was admitted to that hospital and was very ill.  I was able to return some of her kindness and inspiration as I was able to be with her very often.  Both myself and the hospital Catholic Chaplin were from Taunton, myself one of her former students.  She was immensely comforted by this as was her husband Charles.  To be with her at the end was an honor for me.  She had gifted me with a love of art that would grace my whole life and a belief in my abilities. 

 It is such a blessing when we are ably to give something back in return.

Now on to Mr. Charles McGrath Rosemary's husband.  Here in this Village/Taunton blog along he comes to give something to us as well.  I recall Charles as a charming person when I met him at the hospital.  It seems he was a whole lot more than that. 
 Once more Arlene Gouveia has stepped into one of our stories.  

Charles and Rosemary had married in the 50's, clearly when they were older.  Each had had a career. Charles, my friends, had been in Vaudeville! One day Arlene Gouveia was able to spend time talking with him, finding out the treasure that had been his career.

Charles was a dancer for many years on Broadway in the late 20's and 30's.  He knew those performers who so enamored and entertained us  having performed in the Zeigfield Follies and other Broadway shows with them.  Such performers as Ray Bolger for just one example.  They were apparently great friends, both hailing from Massachusetts, Ray an Irish lad from Dorchestor.  Charlie said he was a nice guy….we could always tell that.

                        I include these wonderful You Tube videos so you can truly get the flavor.
                                    Below Ray Bolger and Once in Love with Amy

                                    He knew Will Rogers, a figure beloved by Americans.

In 1930 when Ginger Rogers got a plum role in the famous Gershwein musical "Crazy Girl", he was already her friend.  Charles danced in that show, too. Ethel Merman was also in Crazy Girl and Fred Astaire was choreographer!!  Charlie was there at the birth of the Astaire-Rogers 
famous partnership that charmed us all.  


In 1933, Charlie met Bob Hope who was on Broadway with "Roberta."  He was there for it all. He even knew Fannie Brice and Eddie Cantor who appeared with him in the Follies.

When Arlene and her husband went in search of the McGraph cemetery site they found a historic marker with a grandfather who served in the Civil War in the Union army.  Poignantly, at the base of the monument is engraved:  Designed by Rosemary McGrath, teacher and artist.  Rosemary and Charles did not have any children, nonetheless they left a legacy and their marks on history.  They did this especially by endowing an art scholarship in their names given each year to a graduating student deserving art student at Taunton High School.

Rosemary died in 1971, Charles in 1981.  For years, Charles worked as a clerk
in the Taunton City Hall Cemetery Department.

This story comes full circle as I write this post.  Who knew the story of that lovely gentlemen who sat faithfully at his wife's bedside day after day, their dignity and love impressing everyone who cared for her.  An example, once again, of the rich history that so often dwells silently in the hearts and memories of the people that God puts on our path.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Have We Come a Long Way, Baby?

In the 40's and 50's little kids wore sturdy clothes, but little girls usually wore dresses.  Take this photo from the Village (courtesy: Arlene Gouveia) Arlene is on the far right.

Even little girls wore hats, like their mothers and grandmothers. 
 Here is my Grandmother Souza with two of my cousins, probably late 40's.
 Like the sweet capes? 
 Grandmother Delphina's hats were always her trademark.

                   Christmas, my mother always made us velvet dresses, often with trimmed collars.
Many mothers made their children's clothes, my husbands mom even
made trousers for her boys.
Actually, my sisters and I often had the prettiest outfits.

                                  Here are my sister Kathy and I in matching homemade dresseswith some of my classmates,  my little brother Frank far left.  The late Sonny Mador, back left
and the late Beverlyann Martin, second row far left next to me.
On the other side of me are Cynthia Luz and Caroline Jardin.

When you went to Church on Sunday, it was de rigeur that you dressed in your best.
 I remember theselittle girls suits.  I even wore little white gloves…
Photo from  Easter 1946, my sister Kathy left, little brother Frank in the carriage,
myself in back of the carriage and cousin Helena in front.
 Ready for the Easter Parade.
 Note the old fashioned baby carriage.

              Then we went on to high school and into another era…though not far removed.

When I look about me now I join the majority of folks my age….  what youngsters wear today would be outlawed back in our youth!  I also ask myself why young women continue to wear fashions that constrict and bind.  Seems, too, that the shock value index has risen as well.  Only the hippies went for total comfort, that is for sure.

Take the case of the crinoline.  Here I am ( top right) with two high school friends and my little sister Mariellen just below me. Notice how those skirts just balloon out? That was the effect of starched, stiff, multiple crinoline under skirts. I can still feel how they scratched and irritated.  But…fashion is fashion.
                    You wore a regular slip underneath but that scratchy feeling found you anyway.
Two of us are also wearing little hats, another style statement of the times.  
This was taken around 1955 or so. Next to me my friend Janis 
and below another friend, the late Lorraine Toledo.

Nylons with (ugh) garter belts were another bit of under-fashion history. If they were not attached tightly enough they would sag.

In those more frugal days, if you sustained a run in your nylon, you repaired it with 
clear nail polish rather than go and buy another pair.

Finally, crinolines were ancient history, unless you were going to the Prom.
Along came the poodle skirt, no crinoline needed.  

When you went to a dance, say at the Taunton C.Y.O (Catholic Youth Organization)
the skirt would swing around your legs.  Weekly Friday night dances at the C.Y.O. were something to look forward to as a teen.  Remember Father O'Connor and "leave room for the Holy Ghost" during the slow dances?  No poodle dancing swirls then.  For awhile even poodle hair cuts were the thing.

The the boy's fashions:

There were two ways to go: the "bad boy" look and the Pat Boone look.
Here is James Dean sporting that bad boy look.

The bad boys often sported black leather jackets and the inevitable D.A. haircut
Sometimes the girls sported that haircut as well.

The Pat Boone look often included raised collars, v neck sweaters over shirts,
chino pants. Here is the man himself.

From my 1957 Taunton High School yearbook here are some of my classmates wearing the inevitable sweaters often in sets, longer skirts and loafers with slumpy socks.  One of them may be wearing a class ring on a chain around her neck signifying she was going steady. 
 Jumpers were also in vogue then, too.
Recognize anyone?

I could go on and on with such things as dirty white buck shoes for boys and girls.
But, you all can fill in….

Have we come a long way, Baby?

Photos from Arlene Gouveia, Souza archives,
Taunton High School 1957 yearbook and Pinterest.