George Otis Draper

Hopedale History
December 15, 2009
No. 146
Otis

Hopedale in December


All-star baseball team, 1959  

Here’s another reply to the matter of the many buildings in Hopedale that were heated by steam from Drapers. Ann Kampersal recalls that even when there was snow on the ground, there was “a lush green path leading up to the church.” She lived nearby and also remembers
the fire.  “It was actually too hot to stand outside in our winter coats.  Of course we were woken up because of our proximity to the house.”

John Cembruch sent an interesting memory of the 1955 flood.
Click here to read it.

A year or so ago I sent a link to a YouTube video of Model T Fords on the assembly line.
Here’s another, sent by Peter Metzke.

Need a watch?   For yourself?   For a gift?   Check out
John Bevilaqua’s watch site.
And
his other watch site.

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                                              George Otis Draper


The Draper family was filled with fascinating people, and high on any list of them, I’d place George Otis Draper. (1867 – 1938.) He was a son of General and Mrs. William F. Draper. His home was The Larches. Otis was an inventor, a businessman, a world traveler, and he did a huge amount of writing and editing during his life. The paragraphs below are from one of his books.

As the janitor took his time, the school-room warmed up slowly and our protesting mothers obtained a ruling that we should not have to stay did a thermometer register under forty Fahrenheit. We often left for that reason, as the outer air was frequently ten below zero. Many of the boys helped the molders in the local foundry at the pouring-off, so I went with them and got in the way of a dumped mold with a red-hot casting and blistering sand. It took most of the skin off my legs and they knew nothing of skin-grafting in those days. We swam in every wet hole and we skated on every frozen bog. We played Yard-Sheep, hiding in the Church-yard and we hung tic-tacs on windows of angry owners. At the time, there was not one velocipede in the town and one boy was envied for having two picture-books. I cannot remember that my parents ever interfered with any of my activities after I was seven, except to suggest that I should come in by nine o’clock at night. One son of a local magnate had a great nickel-railed double-runner holding twenty-two which was so hard to steer that we took the whole side off a sleigh going forty miles an hour, missing the horse by inches.

Our teacher was the wife of the local head-carpenter who made for her a long thick black-walnut ruler which she wielded with Sadistic joy. Johnny, my former mentor, had to hold out his hand for punishment, but he tore the ruler from her grasp, as it descended, broke it over his knee and coolly deposited the pieces in the red-hot stove. She announced that her husband would finish the job, but the husband discreetly avoided the issue. I once saw our hero take on twin brothers equaling him in size and proud of their fistic ability.

Those who disfavor repressions would have delighted in our era, for we knew them not. These small children used every tabooed word and discussed every tabooed subject. When vacations came, we delighted to play Indian in the woods. We built wigwams and tore down those of other boys. We cut great pines to hear the crash, with the permission of my grandfather, but I found later that they were not on his lot. I stripped beautiful birches to make torches for an election parade and the larger boys appropriated same and smacked me with a switch for being out of line. When lacking other thrills, we taunted boys into fights in which their heads got booted and their fingers bitten. I was turned out of school with many others for a general stone fight. In due season we preferred fights with green apples thrown from limber wands.

I next went to a private school which left a blank for two years, since the teacher was a lady and it was not nice to grieve a lady. A few months at a co-educational boarding school illustrated how all the anticipations of the infants may be put into activity by the more matured. The scholars ran from twelve to twenty-seven in age and included one from a Texas ranch with a moustache like a handle-bar. The schedule was peculiar; we got up at five-thirty to walk to the schoolhouse for an hour of study before breakfast. We were in school again from nine till one and from five till six. We also had study-hour in the evening. Our afternoon sports were selected for us and they even named our bicycle-club, choosing that intellectual cognomen, “The English and Classical Bicycle Club.” It seems strange in these days when copious water is approved to know that they only allowed one glass for a meal and larger boys would steal mine just before the hot pudding arrived. We must eat all the food on the plate and they piled on turnips and squash without asking did we like the same. The widespread viciousness of many youths was due to the fact that one of the principals had run a State Reform School. Woe to any small boy, like myself who displeased one of these depraved youths; boys know tortures which would amaze any Mongol. It was a refreshing change to attend a high school where, for my one year, I did not hear one coarse expression or one indecent allusion; of course, this was long before the day of the automobile and hip flask.
George Otis Draper, Venturing Betimes.

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Recent deaths:

Laurence C. Olsen, 63, December 6, 2009.

Greta A (Stare) Ricciardone, 86, December 10, 2009.

William Wood, 85, December 10, 2009.

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