Draper softball team, 1943. Back row, left to right: Virginia Marble, Priscilla Sadler, Mae
Pagani, Hermina Cichanowicz, Coach Clifford Smith, Helen Beal, Rose Marcone,
Front row: Louise Dinunzio, Eleanor Smith, Barbara Taft, "Toots" Carron and Marion
"We were fortunate to have Lloyd Fitzgerald as our personnel manager. He was an
avid sports fan. He was instrumental in organizing four girls' softball teams. Each
team had a coach. We took our games seriously and practiced quite often. The games
were held every week during the summer. Because the Milford News gave us excellent
coverage, many spectators came to watch us.
After two years, an all-star team was chosen and we were told that Draper Corporation
had scheduled a game with a professional team. We had heard rumors that the
professionals did not wish to play against us because we were amateurs. Naturally,
we were indignant and a bit timid. We practiced every night and then went to Lake
Nipmuc (rollerskating) to unwind.
When the team arrived in Hopedale, we were still a bit tense. Quite a few fans came to
watch us. The news reporters were also present. Early in the game, Mae (Pagani)
Costanza hit a home run with the bases loaded. She could play better than any
professional and seldom struck out. The final score was 20 to 1. We had won!"
Hermina Cichanowicz, December 2002. To see a 1950 men's softball team, click
Hermina's White City memories Park, Pond, Sports Menu
Memories Menu HOME
I have the fondest memories of Tom MacNevin, Frank Perry and Chippie Fitzgerald. I
worked in the Master Mechanic's office for four years and I have never forgotten them. I
often refer to those years as my "glory years."
I recall the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed. Rumors had been trickling in about the
Nazi atrocities, but not too many were concerned. We had our doves and parades
promoting peace. Then Pearl Harbor!.. Everyone wanted to retaliate. The following day,
there were lines at the recruiting office. We had been attacked.
Draper Corporation was transformed into an ammunition plant. Guards were posted at
each entrance and we were compelled to show our identification cards (photographs,
etc.) Security was tight. This was war.
Rarious items were allotted to each family. Silk stockings were a luxury. Nylon had not
yet been invented. It was not unusual to wear a stocking that had been mended. But,
most of the women in the offices dressed well; fashionable dresses and high heels.
Women who replaced male labor wore slacks.
Because of the draft, the "big band" era seemed to slowly fade away. Saturday nights
had been dance nights. With all eligible boys in the service, girls sought other types of
entertainment. (Click here to read Hermina's account of the Draper softball teams during
the war years.)
The war seemed endless. We had to wait for news. Every letter was censored. Soon,
dreaded black telegrams began to arrive, informing a family that a son or a brother had
been killed in action.
My brother Tony enlisted in the Navy. He spent most of his time in the service attending
classes, even though he kept volunteering for active duty. My mother kept praying that he
would be spared. Finally, the Navy allowed him to go to Japan. While he was in the
middle of the Pacific, the U.S. dropped two atomic bombs and the war was over.
After all those years (seemed so much longer at the time), the home front went wild
when news arrived of the victory. People from Mendon Street and Mendon came to White
City to celebrate.
My mother went into her room to say a prayer of thanksgiving. Everyone else on the Hill
got a bit tipsy-all, except my father. He saw a chance to get some free drinks. Most of our
neighbors had some alcoholic drinks in their homes. My father disappeared into the
night. He came home at midnight-sober! "English woman-she kept giving me tea-tea-
tea! And, she could not stop talking." Everyone was excited. The war was over. Hermina
Cichanowicz Marcus, December 2002.