XXII - Number 2

March -- 1992

THE FOLLOWING, more appropriate to the month of February, was held over till now due to a lack of space in the more recent newsletter.

THE LANGUAGE of the fan, unknown to most of today's population, is fascinating. We found the following in on old issue of American Heritage, that unique hardcover magazine. First, some background. Fans were known to the ancients, and kept the flies off Pharaoh. The clever Japanese devised the folding variety, and they became popular in the Western world. Whether the thing was made of feathers, silk, or paper, the idea was simply to cool a person. But there was something beautiful about the way a lady waved her fan, and women soon discovered it was a graceful, way of saying yes, no, or maybe. The code we publish here dates from 1879. (The magazine printed this disclaimer: [This magazine] "takes no responsibility for any problems our readers may incur by using it. Like Colt, we merely sell the weapon.") Here are just a few of the code meanings of the flutters.. Carrying in the left hand meant Desirous of Acquaintance; twirling in left hand, I Wish to Get Rid of You; drawing across forehead, We are Watched; twirling in right hand, I Love Another; drawing across cheek, I Love you; carrying in right hand in front of face, Follow Me; letting it rest on right cheek, Yes; letting it rest on left cheek, No; with handle to lips, Kiss Me; and fanning slow or fast indicated I Am Married or I Am Engaged. (A dangerous sport.) Your Society has several fans of all kinds and shapes in its archival collections.

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE . . . The proposed by-law changes were voted at the February meeting and are now in effect. Forty members enjoyed making another oral history tape, sharing memories of the 1940's, VJ Day and after. Old Home Night continues to be a popular program +++ Following the March meeting, the "Brides of Yesteryear" exhibit will be taken down. "My Best Bib and Tucker", a new display, is being prepared using, the Society's collection of period clothing and artifacts. +++ Donations to our collection of manuscripts, artifacts and clothing are always welcome. They are what make out research and reference capabilities work and out museum displays possible. 

Think Stoughton Historical Society when you or someone you know are cleaning out or just cleaning up.                                                      

                                                                                                                                                    Thanks Alice

PROGRAM NOTE . . . March 16th at 7:30 PM in the Lucius Clapp Memorial.

THINK SPRING! THINK CAROUSELS! Linda Winship of North Easton will present a delightful program about those wonderful merry-go-rounds of childhood and beyond. Did you ever catch the brass ring?

WE HAVE WRITTEN about the lengthy tenure of some of our town officers. Here are some other examples of faithful service. In the capacity of Town Clerk, Cornelius Healy was on the job nearly thirty years and was succeeded in 1929 by Jennie McNamara, who served for twenty-one years. "Jennie Mac's" successor was Margaret Fitzpatrick, who retired in 1976 following twenty-six years of loyal service as Town Clerk, her total service to the Town totaling thirty-three years.

FIND A MAN who relates how he used to pump a church organ and you'll have an oldtimer who also remembers raw milk, red bananas, 5-cent movies, trolley car parks, licorice jaw breakers, and fifty-cent shore dinners.

IT IS THE BUSINESS of history too make people understand how things came to be; what were the causes that influenced each phase of change from the beginning of recorded events almost to the present moment. Even in this day, things are being done that will be looked upon objectively at a later date and evaluated according to their effects on the lives of people and on the things that implement their living." Ye ol' Ed wishes he had composed the above; but credit must be given the originator of any thought. The author of the paragraph just quoted is John E.Flynn, and this statement is to be found in Our Society's little history of Our Town, "Beyond the Blew-Hills." Do you have your copy yet?

BENEFACTORS abound if you know where to look for them; most are quite shy and prefer anonymity. Such a person was Charles Welch. Owner at one time of the Phinney Counter Company, he deserves to be remembered for his generosity in later years. His gifts to Stoughton include Marks' field, the triangle at Hodges' Hill in West Stoughton, several acres to the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery and land to the Evergreen Cemetery. He spent much time and money organizing what is now known as the Charles W. Welch Preserve of the Fish and Game Association. This land, however, was not an outright gift, but became available for a token price at his death.

WE HAVE our own contemporary benefactors. Elsie Simmons has presented Our Society with several lovely additions to our finer things; Arthur Lavas has presented something a bit heavier, a section of street railway track from Porter Street; Edward Finn of the Sec. of State's office brought two volumes of historic interest; Roger Hall gave us audio and video cassettes of Music in Stoughton; Evelyn Healy donated supplies for the membership secretary; several visitors have left money gifts in appreciation. Two of these were groups, the Minerva Lodge, Daughters of Italy, and the Massachusetts Catholic Women's Guild. Our sincere appreciation to all.

IN 1891, Robert Porter was a dealer in hard and soft coal in Our Town. In his advertising he also offered all kinds of native wood for fuel, adding that he had a plant for sawing and splitting wood so that he might accommodate his customers' special requirements. He also sold charcoal, flour, lumber, several tons of sweet hay, "sweet as a nut," fertilizer, fence posts of chestnut and cedar, rails of chestnut, "first-class high grade complete manure" . . . and a splendid line of building lots. Oh, yes. One more thing he also sold sewer pipe.

SOME OF our oldest organizations started out under different names from those that are so familiar to most of us. Witness, the Columbia Club became the Knights of Columbus; the Commercial Club became the Chicataubut Club and the Board of Trade became the Chamber of Commerce. All this in 1900, kicking off this century. + + + + HAPPY NEW YEAR + + + +

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