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xoxoxoBruce 02-21-2015 04:04 PM

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. :p:

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. :rolleyes:

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.:o

busterb 02-21-2015 07:22 PM

I went through some of the same shit

xoxoxoBruce 02-24-2015 10:31 AM

Poem For A Small Town
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This poem is labeled anon. I Googled it just for the hell of it and it showed up a couple of places but no one taking credit. Therefore you are allowed to read it in any voice you want, Poe, Longfellow, R2D2, anyone.

I do know the art work was done by my first art teacher in grade school, however she retired when I was in I think 3rd grade. She had been really talented sitting with a pair of shears, no scissors for her, real shears, and she cut profiles out of black construction paper. You could even tell who it was. Her paintings sold for real money and wouldn't hang on anybody's refrigerator.

The first class with the new teacher, she brings an easel, pad, and water colors already mixed in jars. She proceeded to paint a black cat without a drawing under it, just painted the whole thing freehand, not as good as the old teacher was of course, but not bad. I couldn't make out much detail though, with it being all black,and without a drawing under it. The only thing that wasn't black was the eyes, they were still white because she hadn't painted anything in the holes.

Now when the cat was done, I couldn't tell because I couldn't see much change for some time, she took out the jar of headache inducing nuclear yellow paint, and a rather large brush. When she was satisfied everyone who didn't have to pee was paying attention, she took the rather large brush and painted yellow over the cat. Not a second coat, more like trying to obliterate graffiti on a cement wall. Well the yellow didn't do a lot to the black, kind of tinted it a little... highlights I guess, except the eyes. Now those burning yellow eyes with no pupil, no detail, on an almost featureless black cat, were pretty impressive. The best part was nobody saw it coming, just as she'd intended. I had a 3rd grade shock and awe art teacher. :shock:

Gravdigr 02-24-2015 12:21 PM

I'm liking this.

fargon 02-24-2015 04:27 PM


xoxoxoBruce 02-27-2015 11:16 PM

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This isn't the first cold winter in New England. Some winters were not real cold, below freezing at night but getting above freezing during the day a couple days a week. Other winters would have periods which were colder than a witches boobie, for weeks. I theorized we didn't have much snow when it was real cold because any moisture in the air turned solid, hundreds of miles before it could get to us.

It did make it unpleasant to get out of bed at 5, and hike down to the barn, feed, water, and milk, then hike back and get ready to catch the school bus at 7. And because the bus turned around at our house, I didn't have the luxury of waiting inside until the bus went up the road then wandering out because they always loaded on the way down. Back then they didn't give a shit which side of the road you lived on, extending clutch life was more important.

I remember this date when it hit 37 below down along the river, we were toasty at 25 below up on the mountain. But as much as it was the topic of conversation, it was only for a couple nights then back to normal misery.

glatt 02-28-2015 07:32 AM

Gotta be careful of those frozen deadly body parts, whether they be rat's tails stabbing cats or frozen legs of lamb used as bludgeons before they are eaten by investigators.

xoxoxoBruce 03-05-2015 11:09 AM

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One of the local characters, one of the few more famous than infamous. Thornton Burgess wrote books about his friends, Peter Rabbit (briefly known as Peter Cottontail), Jimmy Skunk, Sammy Jay, Bobby Raccoon, Little Joe Otter, Grandfather Frog, Billy Mink, Jerry Muskrat, Spotty the Turtle, Old Mother West Wind, and her Merry Little Breezes.

There's is no River Road, he lived on Main Street. :rolleyes:

xoxoxoBruce 03-10-2015 10:17 PM

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Speaking of Burgess...

BigV 03-11-2015 09:09 AM



xoxoxoBruce 03-13-2015 08:53 PM

John Hampden was a Brit rabble rouser who looked from what I've found, more like Don Vito Corleone.
I think Sundae posted a photo of his statue over there.

So Don Vito... er, John, along with four other dudes told King Charles I, he could run the country but only with Parliament's blessing.
Kings don't like that uppity tone, so wham bam thank you ma'am, the English Civil War was on.
But as only the British can do, the 9 year war 1642-51 was divided into three parts, 1642-46, 1648-49, and 1649-51.
I guess 1647 was tea time?

Anyway, the County of Hampden, state of Massachusetts, in the new world was named for John Hampden.
Now when the hicks broke off from Wilbraham (formally Springfield Mountains) some people didn't agree.
Not surprising considering how cantankerous those Yankees are.

xoxoxoBruce 03-21-2015 12:18 AM

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I was curious what year, at least approximately, this happened. I asked some people but nobody I had easy access to, remembers Homer Goodrich or Hampden Garage. Well, it seems Homer must have had his spinach ration. Of course back in the day you used whatever bolt you could get your hands on, not like these whippersnappers with their 'torque to yield", one use bolts. :headshake

fargon 03-21-2015 06:38 AM

Eye injuries are never any good, did he fully recover?

Lamplighter 03-21-2015 06:43 AM

Poor bugger. I'll bet that hurt... go ask Harry Reid how much.

xoxoxoBruce 03-21-2015 08:42 AM


Originally Posted by fargon (Post 924209)
Eye injuries are never any good, did he fully recover?

Who knows, I can't even find out when it happened. I could probably narrow it down by combing the census reports, but I don't want to invest that much in it.

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