The pictures on this page were sent by Alexander Montville in May
2020. Here's the first message I received from him. Attached were
three of the pictures. A day later he sent the other five.
My mom recently gave me a wooden/iron desk and chair combo that
came from the Dutcher Street School in Hopedale. I'm told her mother
got it in the 60s when the school closed, but all the graffiti inside seems
to be from the 40s and 50s. The company that made the desk is
Kenney Bros & Wolkins out of Boston, and they made school furniture
from 1900 to the late 30s. I included a few pictures of the desk/chair
combo on my porch as I was cleaning it up, but don't worry, it's not
Anyway, the most visible piece of graffiti is by someone named Ray
Midgley (pic attached) and I see he wrote an article for your website:
The graffiti itself is fantastic it reads:
RAY MIDGLEY 52'
OCCUPIED THIS CELL
DURING THE FINAL YEAR
OF A FOUR YEAR STRETCH
If you have any way to contact him or anyone in his family, I'm sure
they'd love to see it!
Thanks and take care,
Well, as luck would have it, as the saying goes, I had an email address
for Ray Midgley. I forwarded Alexander's message to him. Here's his
Good to hear from you!. I will forward this to my remaining classmates.
I need a favor. Could you down load a picture of the graffiti for Shirley
Butcher? Her cousin Carlo is on it!. She lives in South Hopedale and
has no internet..
The desk is from the high school, not Dutcher Street. I sat in the back
row of the main room that held about 120 desks
Of course I agreed with Ray. Amazing. His message, written in 1952,
getting back to him 68 years later.
I wrote to Alexander again, forwarding Ray's message. Here's his reply
That's awesome, and thank you! My mom (Susan Eddy) swears it was
at the Dutcher Street school when her mother got it in the 60s though.
Most of the graffiti (like Ray's) mentioned 4 year spans which make
sense for high school, but some of the more recent names on the desk
only have 2 year spans, which would fit more with a middle school. My
best guess is the furniture was updated for the high school at some
point and the middle school inherited these as hand-me-downs, but I'm
unsure. There is one picture I attached that looks like the name was
Richard Paul Collins from 1956-1957, which is the clearest example of
this, and appears to be the most recent date on the desk. I also
included two pictures with Carlo's name; the one near Ray's which we
saw before, and one other that I found on the inside of the top which
looks like Carlo used a push pin to "stab" his name into the wood. I
also included a close up of someone named Shirley Brescia who
appeared to be dating someone named Butch at the time, and another
couple named Tim and Ally, whose last names were not written.
Feel free to use these images as you see fit!
As to Ray's high school desk turning up at the Dutcher Street School,
here's what I think happened. At Hopedale High, up until 1957, all
students began and ended each school day in what was called the
main room. As Ray said, it had about 120 desks. By 1957, the classes
were getting larger, and the main room system was no longer
workable. It was divided into three classrooms. There were probably no
more than 30 desks put into each of the three,,so the rest, Ray's
included, were sent to Dutcher Street. Anyway, that's my guess.
Thanks very much to Alexander Montville for these pictures.