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.

Monday, April 28, 2014


Indeed, this blog is just that…a mosaic.  Look at this precious piece of the Village Story! This is a family photograph of the Castro family who lived on Purchase St. in the Village.  The young man in the center, only son in a bevy of 8 daughters, is the father of Jimmy Castro, a classmate of
mine from Fuller School, and Jimmy's sister Joan.
It is Joan who has shared this amazing photograph with us. 
Thank you, Joan! 

 I have known Jimmy, who is my age, all my life.  I remember Joan well, too.  I remember their Dad and Mom. Who knew that Jimmy and Joan had at least 8 aunts?  All of us kids growing up were set in our own context and never having any idea who the families we knew really were!

            The photograph was likely taken in 1931, and no doubt Boutin Studios produced it.
Top row: left to right: Florrie (Pimental), Joan's Dad Tony Castro, 
Mary (Medeiros) and Helen (DeSilvia).
Middle row: Agnes (Araujo) and Julia (Silvia).  
Bottom row: Grandfather Castro, Catherine (Tenikos), Elizabeth (Texeira), 
Madeline Castro and Grandmother Castro.
Catherine is the only child still living.

Are you with me in figuring that this family produced many of the families that we knew? That from families such as the Castros and the Souzas came our inherited strength of purpose and family values? This family, and my own, are only two examples.. A fascinating privilege to go back to our roots with this photograph. It just sets up greater yearning for more that will allow us to peek way back into the history of the Village.

Following up on my own Souza grandparents and their family, one sees the commonality of the larger family. In the Castro family, the preponderance of the feminine.  Imagine growing up within that cocoon. Nothing against uncles, but oh. the aunts!  No wonder the Village was a world unto its own, a place of such safety. With all those siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, 
in-laws it was built on family and friendship all the way! 

The Grandmoms, Moms and the Aunts were always there.  I had seven paternal aunts.  Along with our dear Fuller School teachers, we certainly had enough role models.

When we see a photograph like that of the Castro family and in the previous post of the Souza family, there is a wisp of a glimpse into the generation of our grandparents as they built the Village community. One sees strength there, although we have only echoes of stories. They were the movers and the shakers of the Village. What were their lives like?  They, in many cases, came to this country from simple backgrounds and those men and women made the Village what it was for all of us.

The Village "grew" its young within those woven relationships…strong.  Both young and old were part of those extended families that nourished us.

Much later, in 1985, I married…and lo and behold, my husband had 9 aunts!  What a treasure, as so many of my dear Aunts were gone by that time.  I nested into this new aunt-dom complete with a precious mother-in-law and felt right at home.  Always smiling, encouraging, those women.  Now they, too, are nearly all gone. Below is a photograph of my husband's maternal French Canadian grandparents with 13 of their living children ( from left oldest to right youngest) .
 There was one other child, the oldest, who died at age 19.

I have heard stories of their third floor dormitory in the family's three decker Fall River home.  Just a bit of imagination is needed to hear the laughter and chatter.

In looking at the statistics for this blog, it is remarkable in its growth.  I am still amazed.  There is a cord of nostalgia that is struck all over the world for stories.  Stories of our roots, of the values and safety nets provided by many of our families and in our case, by a Village.
Click on to the map on the right side of the blog and look at the countries
all over the world where viewers and readers originate.
Many of them are regular readers.
Readers of the stories of the extraordinary people who nourished us
in that little borough on School Street.  Readers who find echoes of their own stories.

                                Maternal Great Aunt Annie Fostin and friend, Winter St. in the 30's

To my Village

The past is a portal
a door to who we are.

We grasp hands, if only in memory,
hands that provided love, friendship, 
 hands that sheltered and guided us.

Down the years, parent to child
who became parent to another child
and on and on
from across an ocean to this piece of home
away from home.

Echoes of the sea, of song, of soft green hills
and Church bells
kept being heard in the soul
of those who came to a land unknown.

and made this our home.


Sandra Souza Pineault

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

TOUCHING THE PAST: the Power of Vintage Photography

Man's love affair with photography is epic.  For us memoirists it is a good thing,too.  Seeking, finding and memorializing old photographs gives us a way to document the times of our families, of what they lived and how they lived it.  Who has not felt the wonderful joy of coming upon an old family photograph that illumines a host of unknown corners?  Once you experience that, you never stop looking.  You never again take a photograph for granted.

While writing the previous wedding posts and reading a discussion
about Boutin Studios in Taunton on the Facebook Page I'm From Taunton, i
t occurred to me that in my documents I might have such vintage photos.
That started my journey through my papers
 and research into the subject. 
It has been a quite a ride.

This image is from a fascinating web site called Retronaut where one can walk through the ages with its incredible images.  I just started to play with it.  As in all things vintage, context of the times is the challenge and the reward.

When you begin to look into the history of vintage photography and what it meant to our forebears, the trip takes on a whole new meaning.


                                    "Nostalgia clings to photographs like dust to knick knacks".

 What a great quote from an article on the subject online on Guardian, com.  "It seeps out from sepia tints and poloroid hues alike.  As the medium evolves, yesterday's invention is today's curio.  The paradoxical condition of photography is to be both immediate and dated. … As soon as it is taken, it starts to slip away in time, a perfectly preserved microcosm of a vanished universe."

A perfect example of this thought is the photograph of my Souza grandparents taken in 1927. I may have included it in an earlier post but it demonstrates our discussion.  The moment when this photograph was taken by Boutin studio (note that familiar background) time stopped in more ways than one.  Not long after this photograph was taken my Grandfather, Joseph Souza drowned in a boating accident in Fairhaven, MA.  Who was to know that he would be with them for so short a time?He sits there, a solid pater families, a successful entrepreneur, content with his life.

We can date this photo by the ages of the children: my father stands 
next to his father with his elbow casually on his chair.

The studio photgraph below is that of my maternal grandmother, Isobel Bento Correia Motta.  It also is poignant since it is one of only two we have of her. She posed for this around 1916 when she was pregnant with my mother.  A calm, serene photograph, it belies the tragedies that were to befall her and her little family. This photograph of a lovely young woman starting her life as wife and mother would push me to find out what really happened to her.  That search would results in a family book: Searching for Isobel.  It would take me ten years to answer all the questions.  It would result in finding a long lost Uncle.

                          We take thousands of photos today, but do we cherish them?   Perhaps
                          with our fascination of not losing the past have learned to do just that.
                          Surely, the wonderful sharing of vintage photographs of the people and
                          places on I'm From Taunton has enriched all of us.  Also, the incredible
                          work of Taunton historian: Charley Crowley.

                                               My appreciation to each and all.
                          But, for this blog Arlene Gouveia gets pride of place. What a reception those
                         fine and very special photographs she and her son, John, get when those photos 
                                                     come streaming into my computer,

I come to my love of photographs and photography through my D.N.A.  My mother's photographs
were award-winning.  I inherited them and speaking of cherish.  They grace many of my cards. My own, well, now with the Internet and my little camera and iPad there is no stopping.
Recently one of my mother's photographs was requested for the cover
 of a women's retreat booklet for a Church in New England.  

The baby in the above photograph is my mother at approximately three years old. 
Clearly in a studio photograph as one notes the background.


Early vintage photographs were called cabinet cards.  Popular from around 1869 up until the 1920's, they were paper photographs mounted on thick cardboard. They were often displayed on cabinets, hence their name and were made to be seen across a room.  The photographer's name was usually embossed or printed on the photo or mount, a gift for future genealogists.  The photographs were durable encased in their heavy protector lasting the years even when tossed into corners here and there. The clear name of the photographer can mean the photograph can be moreeasily dated.

 Here are some samples I found on my Internet wanderings….we only know that these photographs were taken in Taunton in Studios long gone.  You never know what you will find on the Internet.


                         Here is a card advertisement for that studio listed above and where
in Taunton it was located.

                 The next was taken by Hunter Bros. Studio in Taunton. Clearly in the 1880's.

A lovely advertisement for Ye Rose Studio in Providence, R.I.
Note the terms from Cabinet to Life Size.

Just for fun, this is a studio photograph of a cat whose owner
obviously cared enough to do this.  It was taken at a studio in New York City
in the 1880's.


For us who grew up in Taunton, this was the most familiar logo seen on old photographs              Boutin was located at 6 E. Brittania St. and we have him to thank for many of our  precious photographs that allow us a peak into the generations before us.


The photograph above was probably taken between 1910 and 1912.  It is a studio photograph by Boutin Studios of three small children.  They are from left to right: my Uncle John "Bunny" Souza,
my Aunt Mary Souza Bernadino and my Uncle Joseph Souza.
 When this cabinet photograph came my way as I researched the Souza Family,
I could not have been more delighted.
It is one of our oldest photographs in such great condition.

Here is another: a cabinet formal photograph, no doubt by H. Boutin of my
Uncle Ed Souza, youngest of the Souza children for his First Communion.
I would date this in the late 20's.

It is hard to date this formal photograph below.  This is my maternal  Great Grandmother
Anne Bento Correira.  I know she immigrated when she was 60 years old so this had to
have beentaken in Taunton and I am guessing….Mr. Boutin once more. I have no memory of her except her snow white hair at her wake.  She died in 1949 at the age of 87. This photograph probably was taken in the early 1940's or late 30's.  I do not know how long Mr. Boutin was in business.

Here is my Uncle John "Bunny" Souza on the
occasion of his graduation from Taunton High School.
This photo is probably dated around the 1920's.
Graduating from high school in those
days was quite an accomplishment.
Sorry if this is a little off balance, it refused to budge.

Now, we are always looking for more vintage photographs of the Village and of Taunton.  Want to jump on board?  Noticing the number of folks who view our blog, many on a regular basis, I am sure that there are some beautiful photographs begging to be found and shared.

 How about it? 

                                                            Sources for this post: 

The story of my Grandmother Isobel may be
 found on this website. Hit enter and then Patient Biographies 
and you will find her.  
Her photo  resists resetting…..


                             The excellent article I quoted regarding vintage photography

Studio cabinet photographs: Taunton, Ma

 Below is the wonderful Retronaut site for vintage photographs

 Source of the other incidental photography

Friday, April 11, 2014


This is the last (we will never say last!) of the vintage wedding series.
In reading on the net I found a great app tool which allowed me 
to do this collage and more.
I have loved doing this story telling with the beautiful photographs
 that grace these pages. 
 Gratitude for all those who carefully preserved them. 
There is a new one added to the collage and that is of my mother 
as a Bridesmaid in the 1930's.  
She is up at the right corner.  In researching my family genealogy 
I found it as part of another wedding photo.

Like pressed flowers, these beautiful photographs allow us to live moments of love 
from days gone by. As time passed, and as we see in these photos, history changed the way weddings took place. We saw it in the last two posts and we shall see it in this one. 
I recognize many of these faces though I knew them when they were much older.  
Of course, those related to me are engraved on my heart.

Before we begin: a note.  Carolyn, a reader, has highlighted the fact that many of the photographs in this series have the same backgrounds.  Indeed, they were all taken at Boutin Photography Studio on E. Brittania St. in Taunton.  She and I were commenting online that it would be awesome if some of those files exist.  Lo and behold… they do!  A daughter of the woman who owned the Studio kept them and they are going through them, hoping to post on 
I'm from Taunton Facebook page!!
  Blessed be those who do not throw away such treasures!  Blessed by Herminegild Boutin 
of Boutin Studios. 6 Brittania St., Taunton, premiere photographer!


This first photograph is from my my Aunt Alveda Souza Napieralski's photos,  Thanks to my cousin Shelley for sharing.  It is clearly a Village shot.  I recognize my Aunt Lavina Souza O'Connell on the end at the right, and I think I recognize the Maid of Honor.  It appears the others were friends or bridesmaids.  I would think this was in the late 30's or 40's.

The photo also reminds me of stories I was told of the bridal showers given in the Village.  Apparently they included mock weddings and were for gals only.  The history of bridal showers is that back in the day when weddings were arranged by family members, it is said that a Dutchman fell in love with a girl whose father refused her a dowry.  Their friends "showered" them with enough gifts to start a household.  Later, another bridal party included an upside down parasol full of gifts. It was turned upside down over the bride and she was  "showered" with gifts.
 In the Village in the 30's and 40's young brides to be and their grooms
counted on showers to give their kitchens a head start. 
 Today of course showers are as complicated as weddings themselves.

 Not as much time for simple friendship and laughter.


Speaking of young couples starting out with not much, a good example in 1939 was the wedding of my mother and father: Angelina Motta and Frank Souza. 
 My mother was, to all intents and purposes, an orphan without a mother and father 
to purchase a wedding gown and give her a wedding ceremony,
My father was just starting out himself, his father had died in 1927 and his mother, my grandmother was raising their seven children alone.  So, my parents did their own thing.  One cold January Sunday morning they were married quietly and simply after the 11 a.m. Mass at St. Anthony's.  They always said there were a lot of people at their marriage.  That did not mean however, that they were not a stunning couple,  even without the accoutrements of wedding finery my mother is stylish and chic wearing her corsage with as much joy as a bride with a full bouquet.

                               It was not long before war became a fact of life for young couples
                               who were marrying.  Here is a photo from Pinterest of a family posing after
                               a simple wartime ceremony.  No money, time or much else but love to
                               start them off in life, with prayers that he would come back from battle.

 The war meant that Village couples took much on faith as they exchanged their vows.
             That was true for this couple: we introduce Mr. and Mrs. Alice (Pina) and John Emond.
            Before their wedding he was sent off to WWII.  She prayed and waited faithfully until he returned.  She and my Aunt Alveda were best friends.  They waited together
for their men to come home.

Happily, they did.  Here below is their wedding photograph from 1946.



Also, in 1946  the Village wedding of my Aunt Alveda and her husband, Zigmond took place..
You were treated to their wartime romance and wedding earlier
in this blog when we spoke of the Army Base at Camp Miles Standish in Taunton.


                       Below is the 1948 wedding photo of Alice Pina's sister, Virginia Pina, to
                       Manuel Nascimento.  Manuel is related to my nephew's Peter and Roger.
                            The Best Man is Charlie Nascimento also related to my nephews.
                              The Maid of Honor is Mary Pina, twin sister to the Bride.


Finally, I feel we have come full circle with this wedding below in 1946.  Here are Bride: Deloinda "Linda" Rezendes and her husband Antone Carreiro. Her Maid of Honor is her sister, Mary Rezendes, the Best Man is their brother, Tony Rezendes.

Why do I say full circle?  Well, Linda and Mary and Tony were siblings of my dear friend, Theresa.
Theresa and I grew up together in the Village.  Through me, Terry met her husband, Gil. She and I double dated on their first date.  I was Maid of Honor at their wedding at St. Anthony's in 1960.
                                                It is to Theresa that I dedicated this blog.
Now, let me tell you a charming story about the Maid of Honor, Mary, one of the bride's 
sisters. Mary and Linda and their sister, Theresa were from a family that was strict as to 
the activities of the daughters.  Theresa could spend time at my house only if her mother talked to my mother first.  Anyway, Mary's  friends told her if she did not get out and about, she would never marry.  She responded that if God wanted her to find a husband, He would send one to knock at the door.

So. one day she was sitting at the kitchen table in the family's third floor small apartment on Floral St.  There was a knock on the door. Mary answered it and there was Antone.  He had been sent by a cousin to see if they needed dry cleaning.  He owned his own small company and made house calls.  The rest as you can guess is that they eventually married.  I am sure there was a very chaperoned courtship before this wedding took place. Mary did not have to go any further than answering the door!

                       "We bring our years to an end, as it it were a tale to be told." Psalm 90


This series of posts has resulted in over 1,000 page views, it is clear that we all love
 wedding history.
I am glad that this has been enjoyed.  I urge you to share your family photos, the older the better, and stories attached are even more welcome!!


Sources for this series:

There are many web sites relating to the history of weddings, here are some I used :

*Photographs from Arlene Gouveia with Village lore for many of them.
*Photographs from Motta-Souza Genealogy collection.
*Photographs from Shelley Napieralski Au, her Mother'sand my Aunt Alveda Souza  Napieralski's collection:

*Pinterest for floral photo, shower momento and other photographs.

 The photo above was shared by a vintage collecting friend.

Friday, April 4, 2014


Thank you to all who responded so favorably to our first Vintage Wedding Post.  It was a delight to write.  Here now is the second part.

In researching the history of weddings, I came upon this photo on Pinterest.  Notice the clergyman in this photo?  Did you know that clergy were not present at weddings until after the 15th Century when it was degreed at the Council of Trent?  Prior to that a simple." will you marry me? and "yes" was enough.  If a priest was there, it was only for a blessing.

Also in this photo: shoes tied to the bumper was thought of as a symbol of authority and possession. Taking the bride's shoes meant that she would not run away.

                          This photo was probably taken in the 20's from the look of the cars.

But, back to our Village history.

Below are Mr. and Mrs. Morien Costa (Mary Rose) for their wedding which took
place in 1927.  Note the "Merry Widow" hat which we will see in many wedding photos.
Also, her neckline is a departure from earlier gowns.  After 1910, wedding gowns took on a more silhouette streamlined look.  Changes could be seen as the Sufrogette movement started, too.
We could certainly say that this is a more "modern" bride.

She has a huge bouquet: earlier in history what she might have carried, as we said early on,  might have highlighted these symbols:

*dill- lusty
*orange blossoms- happiness and fertility

Now, a very special photo.  Here are Aelene Gouveia's parents: Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Rose (Mary Perry). This is special for me because I knew these two people and remember them.  The marriage took place at St. Anthony's Church in 1929.   

Here again, we see on the Maid of Honor that Merry widow hat and the fluffy neckline.
The bride's veil is more voluminous and is like a train.  The groom and best man are
wearing tuxedos.  It is said that before Teddy Roosevelt wore one at at his wedding
grooms simply wore their best suit.

Here are Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Amaral (Ida Silvia) in 1931. Ida was the sister of
Manny Silvia of the band: The Top Hatters.
This is noteworthy for me as Manny was my father's partner in Souza Electric on School St.
Also, years and years later, after Manny and his wife had passed on, I purchased their
little red house on 12 Ashland St.  I found a printing plate of the Top Hatters in a closet.
I wonder if Manny and the boys played at this wedding.

This lovely bride we see wearing satin, a change once again.  Her headpiece is a tight fitting
cloche, of the '20's style.  Here the gown is getting longer again. She has gloves, too. Her veil is flowing around her feet.

From an ad in the Anchor newspaper.  Sorry for the blur.

Here a lovely bride with the cloche hat once more.  Mr. and Mrs. John Veida,
relatives of Arlene.  Wedding took place in Providence in 1931.
Sadly, pneumonia took the groom shortly thereafter, 

Another couple I recognize a bit.  This is Mr. and Mrs. Frank Sylvia (Anna Brazil).
Wedding at St. Anthony's in 1932.  Anna, if I recall, was always called Anna Brazil 
even after her wedding.  They were the parents of friends Joanne and Pat Sylvia 
and lived just beyond Braga Square.
The Village folk loved nicknames.  One of my aunt's was Joe's Mary
to differentiate her from a sister-in-law also named Mary and so forth.  

Anna's veil is even grander and her cloche hat simpler.  

And here below is that sister-in-law: Mary Bernandino, my paternal Aunt with her husband 
 John Bernadino in 1933. Both were of the School Street Village. My Uncle Joe (his wife was Joe's Mary), her brother, as Best Man.  Maid of Honor is Mary Costa.  Mary later owned and operated the Taunton Flower Studio.

In the 19020's and 30's weddings turned into big business,  Mary Costa benefited as weddings would have been a large part of her business. When I married in 1985, I had them do my flowers, and School St. Bakery, my cake.

Did you know that once the wedding cake was thrown in pieces at the bride, until a baker in Roman days complained of the waste of his confections?

Mary's gown here is long and more elaborate.  It appears both she and her Maid of Honor
wore satin. Mary Costa has only a little pill box of a headpiece. The bride's neckline as well as her Maid of Honors are heading south a little more.

Our last photograph for this post will catapult us into a new wedding style era.
Here are my Aunt Eleanor Costa, her new husband, John (Bunny)Souza, my 
paternal Uncle, and her sister, Alvera Costa and new husband, Arthur Marshall.
Of all of our photos, this is the only one of a double wedding.

Full on, the entire wedding party is in smiles. The women have simple headdresses with enormous veils and trains for their gowns.  Short sleeves, smaller bouquets and demure necklines.

Remember the practice, at least in the Village, of putting a rosary on the clothesline the might before the wedding to assure good weather?  Judging by these beautiful smiles, it worked.

My Aunt Eleanor loved this song and I share it with you
until our next Post of Village Wedding Bells: Part III

Stay Tuned….