January 1, 2008
Hopedale History
No. 99
White City in the Thirties 

   Comcast thinks I'm a spammer! Several weeks ago I happened to learn that some of you haven't been receiving these emails for the last few months. It seems to have mainly affected those who are using Comcast. My latest guess on the cause is that I started sending these out to groups of about 30, which was more than I had been doing. That may have exceeded Comcast's magic number, and made it appear to be spam. I've put the stories from October 15 through December 15 on my Hopedale website. There are links to them at the top of the New section
on the homepage

Hopedale in December Pictures have been added during the last two weeks. 

   Were you ever in a play at the Town Hall? If so, maybe your name is on the wall in the closet near the stage.
Take a look   

History of Women's Golf in America Peter Metzke sent this link. Fannie Osgood of Hopedale is listed in it as being the winner of the Women's Golf Association of Massachusetts and also the Women's Eastern Golf Association, both in 1910. Fannie was the granddaughter of George and Hannah Draper.

    We were shocked on Thursday night, December 27, when Tom McGovern called and told us that the Sawyer house was burning. It was one of the homes on the holiday house tour just three weeks ago. Elaine and I spent the afternoon of the tour there.  Milford News articles -
December 28        December 29            Inside the house on the day of the tour.
Click here to learn how you can assist the Travis-Sawyer family, at a website that has been set up for this purpose. 

Lekia Cowen, Milford Daily News Athlete of the Week. Lekia scored 42 points to lead the Hopedale girls to a 65 to 41 win over Milford.                                                    


          White City

I recently received the following story from John Chute. He grew up in White City in the 1930s.                             

                BACK WHEN                           

    I saw the boy of yesterday                          
    Gone these many years                         
    As I reach the 80th candle                           
    I find that boy is me.                                             

   The memories of a boy are not lost, just locked away until some unexpected event unlocks the portion of the brain where each adventure is stored, and presents a vivid picture, with a clarity, as though it happened yesterday.      

    White City, a grouping of thirty-nine white houses built on one very large hill, was to a young boy, our town. We would go to the Community House in Hopedale for Saturday morning movies, and watch Our Gang with Spanky & Alfalfa. The 30s were trying times for parents, but for kids they were the days of Cowboys and Indians, Tarzan, the Bowery  Boys and other heroes to emulate.      

    Fishing for horned pout on Hopedale Pond with an eight foot bamboo pole was a fun time. Rearing back on the pole you could sling that fish fifteen feet into the air and then crash it soundly to the ground. Great sport!      

   Fonzie Calzolaio and I were late arrivals to Park Street School one morning, and upon hearing the second bell, decided we didn't need school that day. Unfortunately a neighbor called the police and the truants were escorted to the town hall, where to our surprise we were led by the collars to the basement, and to our horror were shoved against the bars of a jail cell. Chief Malloy jerked us back shouting "Look out for the RAT!" Although I didn't see it I am sure it was as big as a rabbit.             

   One of our fun games was "King of the Hill". Usually won by the biggest kid, but a good battle made the bruises worthwhile. In 1937 while playing this game one of the kids pointed toward Milford and shouted for us to look. Heading in our direction was a large airship that turned left when it reached route 140. This long, cigar shaped vehicle, was then headed south to its tragic final landing in New Jersey.            

    Thanks for bringing back those wonderful adventure filled days. Shuffling along on "paper ice" would cause the thin ice to dip down and form cracks while still sustaining us. This game was played on our favorite frog ponds, of which there were four. When it was time to head home, Ken Negrotti decided on one last shuffle across. We heard a shout for help and turned to see him up to his neck in ice-cold water. Dino Bracci ran back and helped out, while the rest of us unashamedly had a good laugh.            

   So much more. Memories are the treasures that keep us going. Working a milk route with Kenny Evers, the 38 Hurricane, the snowstorm that kept us out of school for a week.  

   Thanks again
       John Chute                                              

Recent death:  Perry K. MacNevin, 86, December 13, 2007. (J
ust a few weeks ago, I spoke with Perry and his wife, Shirley, about their memories of life during World War II. You can read them, along with the memories of others on this page.)