Hopedale History
    December 15, 2009
    No. 146
    Otis

    “Hopedale History??? What’s this doing in my inbox?” Yes, I know, last time I said I’d just be putting these
    on the website and not emailing them. However, after hearing from a few people who said they were
    disappointed and they’d miss them, I decided that I’ll continue to send to those of you who asked to be put
    on, and also to those who reply now and then, so that I know you actually read them. By eliminating many
    who had been on my list, and by making the groups larger (at the risk of having some blocked as spam), I’ll
    now send to six groups instead of twenty-three.

    Hopedale in December  

    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.

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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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