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Old 02-21-2015, 05:04 PM   #1
xoxoxoBruce
The future is unwritten
 
Join Date: Oct 2002
Posts: 71,105
Hampden, Hicks in the Sticks

I mentioned in another thread I'd become aware of an facebook page for the old home town, where people have been posting photos, newspaper clippings, etc, from and about Hampden, MA. I'd post a link but it's a closed page. The guy who started it keeps access as tightly controlled as he can, but with almost "800 members" he's lost control of the page itself... it's become pretty democratic... that's a synonym they use in polite company, for chaotic.

So to make a long story longer, this thread is a place for me to post some of the stuff I found interesting (acknowledging extreme bias), and for your brickbats, guffaws, and catcalls. No Lynchings, I'm already hung.

OK, small town, western MA, in the county with the same name, quasi-rural, suburb of Springfield(no, not the Simpson's Springfield). Population is about 5200 now but 1930 was 684, 1940 was 1023, and 1950 was 1323. Where my grandparents lived, and eventually my parents, got telephones in the late 1930s, but no electricity until the late 1940s... war effort, you know.
OK, that's the setting for these items I'll be posting now and then. I promise I won't repeat all this crap.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

First Item: New Jr High School Principal, Mr Dennis, snappy dresser, new two-tone Buick 2-dr hardtop, neatly trimmed mustache, and not long out of being King of the whole damn US Marines, according to him. His mouth was reprimanding you, but his eyes and sneer said he wanted to kick the shit out of you, then make you march 60 miles, double time, 200 lb pack, and no water.
Um, not real popular with the students... at least us cool ones.

That was in September of 1956, then by the end of November, THIS!



It's Dennis, that son-of-a-bitch, I see his fingerprints all over this. He'd call for full dress blues every damn day, if he could get away with it.
But with Joe McCarthy and Ronald Ray-Guns preparing to drive the commies out from under my bed, what's a school board to do?
This provocation set the stage for a running battle the next couple years. On a personal note, boots. I know this varies, especially in Old Blighty where Wellingtons are rubber, but for this time and place, this is correct.

I wore Wellingtons, but of course Mr Dickhead classified them as Engineer boots. Since that's what I wore all the time, everywhere,(unlike the whippersnappers these days who own two, three, even four pair of shoes), it's a problem. My mother got no where with him, Pop had to go down there. Mr 82nd Airborne convinced Mr Marine Corps to back-the-fuck-up.

Shirts outside of trousers was the next battle. Since my school clothes came with a Husky label (cloth bags for fat kids), I thought my shirt on the outside looked neater and was a lot more comfy. Turns out my mother agreed with me... or had become fed up with Mr I'm-in-charge, so that was a series of skirmishes that last until I graduated.
Toward the end of my illustrious Jr High career the sideburns became another bone of contention because there was no standard for length. Never give a power freak, or a recalcitrant student, any leeway for interpretation, avoid grey areas no matter what shade.

OK, I got a little long winded over a simple clipping but now I understand why my Grandparents would look at a very unremarkable snapshot and drift off with eyes glazed over for extended periods.
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