A common problem with historians and collectors of documents and photographs is organization. It is a continual struggle to place items where they belong and can be found at a later date. Sometimes I win on this, and sometimes I lose. Such is the happenstance with this wonderful photograph of the fifth grade 1946 Class at Fuller School below. I had misplaced it and thus it did not get its rightful placement in the last post.
Fuller School Fifth Grade Class of 1946
The accompanying roster of names includes the teacher who was before my time. Her name: Mynette Briody Dewhurst. She was the morning teacher going between Fuller and School Street School. School Street School was way up the top of School St. near downtown (there is an oxymoron for you...up downtown.)She also, the article states, taught many years at Cohannet School in Taunton.
A found photograph and new thoughts to add to our story of the Children of the Village.
A Fuller School and Village classmate of mine, Cynthia, found this bit of paper among her things. A child's writing in shaky cursive learning that good deeds can come from that little wooden schoolhouse. A positive beautiful sentiment. There are so many thoughtful aspirations that we learned...so often forgotten by too many in this contentious day and age. Lined paper, handwritten painstakingly - the good deeds written over as if to emphasize.
This puts all our class photos in a time context
of a simpler, kinder, more honorable day.
The year 1946 saw peace after WW II. Looking at the clothes of the children, you see a higher brand of clothing and a general sense of contentment on the faces of each child . Everything was starting over. The economy was booming: a gallon of gas cost 15 cents, the average house price was $1, 459. Tupperware was introduced and selling in hardware and department stores.
There are many familiar faces for me here. These children were about 5 years older than I.
A cousin, Beverly, and the young Donny Rose we saw earlier in his First Communion photograph are pictured. The youngster in the second row first on the left is the daughter of a dear friend of my Aunt Eleanor and I remember the Riendeau family very well. I remember Linda Rapoza well as she was the sister of one of my classmates. Ronald Almeida I knew as his parents owned the three decker we lived in when my parents were first married where I and my sister came home to after we were born at Morton Hospital. We all looked up to these children, they seemed so much more sophisticated. Elaine Baptiste up in the fourth row middle was the subject of another post and hopefully we will tell more of her story.
It was an exciting post war time, and optimism prevailed...the hope that there would never be such a war again.
The bikini went on sale in Paris. This was the year, Donald Trump was born...connecting the dots to today. There were International War Crimes tribunals in Nuremberg and in Tokyo. The U.S. started testing the atomic bomb on Bikini Atoli.
This was the time when these children started their schooling and went sailing into their lives.
As the War ended, it did so with the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima. A story from Japan told of a little girl who developed leukemia from the radiation. She set out to make 1,000 paper cranes to try to counteract her disease. She made 650 before she died, her classmates made the rest and brought them to her funeral. The war was over but nightmares for children would not be....or for adults for that matter. War leaves unsettled questions in its wake. Slowly more stories would emerge, of the Ghettos, of heroism, of tragedy like that of Anne Frank.
Still, America was settling in with enthusiasm and vigor and that was contagious. All seemed well.
There was much on the horizon. Unbelievable advances in medicine, such as the polio vaccine. The children above and their parents would have been very aware of the danger of contracting that dreaded disease. (Read this post to find out how a Tauntonian was at the center of combating that disease on a national and international level: http://schoolstvillage.blogspot.com/2013/09/post-scriptthe-historic-fight-against.html#uds-search-results). This was an eye opener for me.
Today we are tech savvy and I can write a blog like this with the ease of research that a computer allows, restoring vintage photographs and so much more.
Yet, with it all, we are so in danger of forgetting the values of family, friendship.
It is good to look back, to ponder the things that we learned, that we held dear
for it teaches us about today.
This morning I read an article in the newspaper (Last Guy Chosen for Stickball) by the great writer, Herman Wouk (Winds of War, Marjorie Morningstar and many other books) who has turned 100 years of age. He was born in Bronx in New York and in this little bit of an essay he wrote...
"I was an Aldus Street boy, and that was the end of it. I had no idea there was
something like Park Avenue or Manhattan that might be better. I was happy
where I was and loved being alive. My mother and father - Esther and Abraham-were
old fashioned loving parents, and I'd bring that feeling down to the streets and my friends."
Thank you, Mr. Wouk for putting it so well.