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Soon Winter By Phil Pothier ........................................3

November 1952 By Clifton J. (Jerry) Noble Sr ..............4

Learning from Heroes By James Putnam II ................8

Pilgrims and Puritans By Carlene Americk ...............10

Southwick Master Plan By Maryssa Cook-Obregon ..12

The Mystery Ambrotype By Lynn Blair ..................14

Turkeys & Us By Michael Dubilo ..................................16

Country Cooking By Mary Kvarnstrom .....................18

Friend to Friend By Jeff King .....................................20

Bulletin Board ...........................................................22

Classifieds ..................................................................23


November’s chill is on the hill,

The year toward winter wending,

And tho’ a warmer day may dawn

‘Tis only sad pretending.

The geese have flown; the hay, new-mown,

Has long been put in storage.

The bears are out, and on the prowl

To finish with their forage.

Each autumn chore we do no more;

It seems, perhaps, we’re finished!

And yet, there’s always something more.

Our rest is yet diminished!

But one day, soon, be night or noon,

The winter days descending,

The snow and wind will come again,

The winter, sure portending!

We do not care! We’ve time to spare,

We’ll rest and take enjoyment.

It won’t be very long until

The springtime’s soon employment!



by Phil Pothier


By Clifton (Jerry) Noble, Sr.

While working for Jack Corco-ran, Opt.D. in Fresno Cali-fornia I had nicknamed my mother “Hester.“ This was because she man-aged my 16-year-old’s earnings so well. Doc C thought his wife, Myrtle man-aged money almost TOO WELL and nicknamed her “Hester.” Mother’s real name was Minnie Emerson Noble, but after we returned to Massachusetts in 1945 lots of folks thought it was “Hes-ter.”

We lived in a $15-a-month cottage by the Westfield River in Tatham and sold show cards to Westfield and Springfield merchants while I worked almost full time at the Westfield Athenaeum for 75 cents and hour.

In October of 1947 I got permanent appointment by Civil Service exam as rodman in the Survey Section of Massachu-setts Department of Public Works. This paid a little more than

November 2012

$164 a month.

By 1952 I had advanced by exams to become Chief of my own survey party and earned $77.01 a week from which 5% retirement ($3.85) and federal withholding tax ($10.20) were de-ducted leaving net take-home pay of $62.96. However, I had ac-quired a new 1949 black Plymouth and was paid 3 cents a mile to transport equipment and my two-man crew.

After getting a driving license when I was 21 I got a 1948 Crosley as my first car. It was blue, 4 feet wide and 12 feet long. With it Hester and I found an unused country schoolhouse in Montgomery and moved in April 30, 1949. There was no electricity, drainage or running wa-ter. I dug a ten-foot well on the lot across the road. (Incidentally our former West Springfield cottage went down the river in the 1955 flood.)

I had been keeping a journal record of events by lantern light in my attic bed-room, but neglected it for a few years after the end of 1952. For that time all I have to jog memory are daily ac-counts and job records.

Accounts show that I paid $1.95 to have snow tires put on, $6.45 for lu-brication and oil change. 50 cents to fix a flat and $20 for a new battery. I recorded everything I spent for the car, BUT never put down the price per gallon of gasoline. It being winter we had to use the engine for heat especially during lunch time. Thus I probably did not get much more than 25 miles to a gallon. I would spend $7.50 to drive about 300 miles. This would figure out to be more than 60 cents a gallon. That’s as close as I can guess.

First class stamps were each, daily newspapers were and Sunday papers 10¢.

Other prices were 23¢ a quart for milk, 22¢ for bread, 77¢ for coffee, 31¢ for oleo, 20¢ for a pint of ice cream. 35¢ for oatmeal, 25¢ for saltines. 19¢ for marmalade, 31¢ for salad dressing, and 21¢ for canned vegetable soup. 30¢ Tums cost 25¢.

During the month I bought a belt for 65¢, gloves $1.25, jeans $3.79 and a jacket for $12. Why I needed a rake in November I



Above: The Lake Shore Limited arriving in Westfield in June, 1942. Previous page: Young Jerry Noble waiting for train to take him to California, June, 1942. Photos by George Tague.


don’t remember but I got one for $2.19.

This month we put roofing nails punched through red cloth to mark baseline every 50 feet along the center of Feeding Hills Road (Route 57) in Southwick. (Stations are every hundred feet so Station 10+00 is 1,000 feet from station 0+00.) From stations and points between, edges of pavement, houses, trees and ev-erything of value is located for mapping purposes. Cross sec-tions of ground elevations are also taken every 50 feet to fa-cilitate design of pavement grade and slopes to meet existing ground.

Baselines have to be put down side streets such as Birch-wood, Fernwood and Powdermill Road in order to design ap-proaches that fit. Even the NY, NH, & H railroad had to be lo-cated a few hundred feet each side of Route 57, and, of course, the College Highway (Routes 10 and 202).

Louis Johnson, my chief when I first started work for the Department in 1947, is taking cross sections with his party from my baseline

My rodman for this month is James Cadigan. Jim also draws advertising pictures for the telephone book. The first half of the month my transitman was Eugene Winkler. and the last half was Ernie Rapisarda. Ernie is engaged to be married next June.

When my widowed mother lost our High Street house to mortgage foreclosure we rented a few rooms on Charles Street. I was 13 and a high school sophomore who would graduate at age 16.(I was youngest in my class because my mother had taught me at home by correspondence with the Calvert School in Baltimore, Maryland, until my father died in 1936.) George Tague lived next door and became one of my best friends. He took our picture on the station platform the evening after 1942 graduation when we waited for the Lake Shore Limited to take us to Chicago on the first leg of our railroad journey to Fresno, California. Now, this month in 1952, his mother just told me of his marriage. I gave her five dollars for him. The couple will occupy an apartment over his folks who now own a house on Madison Street.




By James Putnam II

High School memories are pretty well set in concrete for us baby boomers. We love to recall the good times, childhood friends, vic-tories won, favorite teachers, and funny stories (usually involving our teachers and principals). We have mostly forgot-ten the unpleasant times whether it was courses in which we struggled, disci-plinary infractions, tough games lost, or other painful growing experiences.

Other than to look forward to my 55th class reunion, I thought my perspective on high school was closed. Until recently, that is.

My friends at Southwoods suggested that I write a story based on a book recently dropped off with the Fox brothers at Southwick Florists: Fifty Missions Over Europe: The Wartime Diary of Lt. John Shular, U.S.A.A.C. There on the book cover is a familiar face but in an airman’s uniform: John Shular, one of our teachers who taught business courses from 1963 to 1978. I never took any courses or even had a study hall with him in high school. Still, I recall him standing outside his class room every morning on the west corridor, not too far from the art room. He had a calm, quiet way, watching diligently as we students bois-terously filed in for another school day. Some days there was a bit of a subtle smile, almost like a male Mona Lisa. I do not ever recall him yelling or making a big fuss as he stood duty over his end of the corridor.

There was a powerful back story to this good-natured man who was teaching us baby boomers at Southwick High in the

1960s. After his passing, his family discovered a diary and un-sent letter written by then Lt. John Shular in 1944 during his deployment in the dangerous skies over Nazi Germany. It had never been shared with anyone and had silently survived his career in the US Air Force, a second career in teaching, and finally a struggle with Parkinsons Disease at the end of his life.

We are indebted to the Shular family, led by John’s son Alan, for sharing and publishing this diary and letter as a book complete with photos, maps, and helpful explana-tions. (A copy may be purchased from the usual online book sellers or might be found at a local library.)

The historical context of Lt. Shular’s ser-vice is described in the Forward:

“When John arrived in Foggia, Italy in 1944 to serve as bombardier in a B-17G, bomber aircrews faced an 89 percent casu-alty rate. That meant for every ten aircrew members, nine would probably be killed or wounded, go missing in action, or be made prisoners of war before completing their combat tours. Though this situation rapidly improved as the Third Reich was pushed farther and farther back into Germany and its ability to defend itself became weaker, after John flew his first mission in July 1944, he was faced with the fact that he still had to complete twenty-four more before he would be eligible to go home.”

The diary entries are factual and crisply succinct as to each of Lt. Shular’s 50 missions flown. These missions read like a roll call of the central European air campaign, including Ploesti, Ro-mania; Skoda Armament, Pilsen, Czechoslovakia; Munich, Ger-many; and many more enemy locations.

The commentary is often moving in its simplicity, as in the following from the unsent letter:

“The trip is a ‘joy ride’ except for the ten minutes on the bomb run. That is hell, and I am not kidding. Am used to it, and figure if it’s coming to me, I’ll get it!”

I did a Facebook check of SHS alumni who had Mr. Shular as a teacher. The comments came back positive, but unremarkable. He was a good teacher who knew his subject matter and had mastered the art of maintaining classroom decorum. Nobody recalled that Mr. Shular would only have recently retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1963. He certainly had never mentioned his experiences of 1944.

In 1941, young Mr. Shular had been a teacher in Kansas. With the US entry into the war, he immediately enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. Some 20+ years later he had clearly put his

Learning from


Above: John 1943 U.S.A.A.C.

Right: John 1966 Southwick Scanner Year


wartime experience and subsequent military career behind, at least in his interactions with family, students, and oth-ers in his life.

The fact that Mr. Shular kept his wartime expe-riences and diary to himself is not unusual among World War II veterans. In 2000, James Bradley authored Flags of Our Fathers based on his father John’s story which became a best seller and later a movie. After John Bradley’s passing, a shoe box full of old materials was found, revealing that as a Navy Corpsman he had been one of the flag raisers on Iwo Jima in early 1945. Nothing had ever been said to the Bradley family or anyone else about this historically famous event let alone being part of an iconic image. James Bradley, Tom Brokaw, and oth-ers have observed that this reticence to discuss their experiences was common among many World War II veterans.

I was moved by reading Fifty Mis-sions, recalling that this quiet middle-aged hero-turned-teacher had taught many of my classmates.

It got me to thinking: were there others like John Shular who had served our country in war and then put it behind as they took up their classroom careers? So, I checked as many online obituaries as I could find. Indeed, there were more:

Alexander Prew, our school principal, served in the US Army and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.

Frank Vallon, our 7th grade geography teacher, served

in the US Navy on the legendary USS Hornet during the Battle of the Santa Cruz Islands. The Hornet, an aircraft carrier, was so badly damaged by enemy torpedoes and dive bombers that the crew was ordered to abandon ship before the Japanese navy finished it off.

Herb Pace, our Guidance Counselor, served in the US Navy during World War II.

Hugh Lamb, one of our early physi-cal education teachers, served in the US Army in both the European and Pacific theaters.

I addition to these five, I’ll bet there were other educators at SHS who served in either World War II or the Korean Conflict.

Personally, I greatly re-spect their choice to put the horrors of their war experi-ences behind and to leave their written memories to be found only after they had passed.

I feel incredibly fortu-nate, however, that these American heroes were an important ingredient of the teaching culture during our school career. It had to have made a critical impression on the lessons we learned and the perspectives we gained. We were indeed blessed to be “learning with heroes.”

Top: John in the bombardier’s station of a B-29

Middle: John (Second from left, standing, with his original B-17 crew

Right: John (standing extreme right) and his post War B-29 Crew


Their Way of Life

With the Mayflower anchored in Plymouth Bay, men went to shore to chop down trees to build a com-mon house to store their goods in. Unfortu-nately, the building “by casualty fell afire” and burned to the ground.

After this the settlers were living in “smoky homes”. These homes were dug into the hill-sides. They had roofs of bark and walls of sod. Soon after, they built simple frame houses. The village was surrounded by a stockade and each house within was also surrounded by a wooden stockade inside of which there was room for a “pretty garden plot”.

Common Meeting Place Under a Certain Tree

Further north, the founders of the Massa-chusetts Bay Colony lived in wigwams, and the common meeting place was under a certain tree. One-story wooden houses were soon built, with roofs thatched with bulrushes, or dried grass from the Back Bay salt marshes. Later, cedar shingles were used. The chimneys were made of wood plastered with clay and the floors were beaten earth.

Light was provided only by the fireplace and a few tallow candles. Soon, small latticed windows, with panes of oiled paper or linen were made. Some settlers brought small, heavy, greenish dia-mond-shaped panes with them. It was not until the latter part of the century that the colonists began the houses that are today associated with seventeenth century New England.

Even then everyone had their own styles. The stark, rectangular garrison house with the second story jutting out a little over the first, was an Elizabethan style.

There were pleasant, rambling frame hous-es, with many different sized windows placed haphazardly throughout the frame. The floors were of different heights; and walls were of varying thickness. Craftsmen prepared the framework on the ground. When the house was ready, the neighbors were called in to put it to-gether. These homes were made more solidly than those that came later.

House Fire Every Week in Boston the First Winter

A Puritan family was never sure when it would be accosted by the “fire warder” peeking into the fireplace for “foul chim-ney hearts”, for the old chimney very often caught fire. Of the thirty-two buildings in Plymouth, seven burned down in one winter. There was a fire every week the first winter in Boston. The early meeting houses were rude structures about twenty feet square with two windows, a door, and a chimney. No pul-pit graced them and rude benches were made to sit on. One chronicler writes, “was solid maybe to withstand ye wicked on-slaughts of ye Red Skin. Its foundations was laide in ye feare of ye Indians, for many and grate was ye terrors of em .. .I do mind me y’tall ye able-bodyed Men did work thereat, and ye olde and feeble did watch in towns to espie if any Savages was in hidinge neare, and every Man kept his Musket right in his hands.”

One of the few seventeenth-century churches still standing is the old Ship Meeting House at Higham, Massachusetts.

Their Furniture

The only surviving piece of furniture to have come over on the Mayflower’s first voyage is the wicker cradle of Peregrine White, who was born as the ship lay off Cape Cod. Most of the Pilgrims furniture was made by them in the new land. Furni-

Pilgrims and Puritans in


By Carlene Americk

April 1989

The fireplace provided light and a place to cook and was eight to ten feet in width.


ture was made from logs and slabs of ash, maple, oak, and pine. The settler could fashion benches, stools, and crude tables. If he was handy, he could whittle out churns, buckets, tubs, “piggens”, “rundlets”, “ferkins”, trays and spoons, shov-els flails, and barrel hoops. He could even make his own plow and harrow.

From 1660 on, in Ipswich, Massachusetts, one Thom-as Den-nis made fine carved oak chests and chairs. The English four poster bed was really a little house as was the Puritan settle. The high back and side pieces were protection against the wind that blew in through the cracks of the primitive homes.

Wooden Chests Much Used

The chest occupied the place of honor in any home. In a large chest you could put tools in a medium-sized chest you might find household linens, woolens, and clothing; while little ones were used for seeds, books, and trinkets. The smallest of all were known as “writing boxes”, “desk boxes”, and “paper boxes”. “Bible boxes” were carved on the front with the owner’s initials and had heavy locks. Parents had beautiful ornate wedding chests made for their daughters, in which the home-made trousseau would accumulate over the years.

The first cabinet makers wisely combined their trade with farming, or acted as the neighborhood coffin maker and under-taker. The first professional cabinet maker in the history of our country was Nicholas Disbrowe, of Hartford.

The kitchen table was improvised by laying rough boards across trestles. Blocks of wood about a foot square, hollowed in the middle, served as plates. The entire family would share a single plate. The only drinking vessel was a bowl hewn from a maple knot, or in later days, a Staffordshire mug which was passed from hand to hand would be used. Spoons were com-mon, but to cut meat, pocket knives were used. In 1630 Gover-nor Winthrop brought over a fork, which was carefully kept in a case as a rare curiosity.

Men Ate First

Following an old Tudor custom, the men ate first, followed by the women and children. Often children had to stand be-hind their parents chairs or stools and eat what was handed to them. They were required to stand at the table and eat in si-lence. Because the same room was used for cooking, eating, liv-ing and sleeping, “tuckaways”, the first real tables, were made. They were narrow, with wide leaves, so they could be tucked away in a corner. After a long”day, the hard-working couple would lay down to rest on a “jack-bed”. It was made by setting a post in one corner of the room, about six feet from the wall. A rail extended from the post to each of two walls, supporting a row of slats or short poles. The walls served as back and side. The mattress was stuffed with straw, reeds, chopped-up rags,

feathers, or “flock” (tufts of wool or wool ravelings) and some-times cattails.

The most import ant part of the room was the kitchen. A huge fireplace known as “chimneys” was constructed. Each was from eight to 10 feet in width. A hardwood trammel bar crossed the flue, and from it hung the pots and kettles for cooking, making cheese, boiling soap and dip-ping candles.

Lighting was Primitive

Ladles, skimmers, spoons, colan-ders, and candlesticks were made of brass, iron and pewter. Lighting, be-sides that of the open fire, was pro-vided by tallow candles, rushlights of reeds or rushes, dipped in tallow, and long pieces of resinous pitch pine stuck between the hearth flags. These were known as candle wood sets and gave forth a bright flare and a good deal of smoke. “Betty Lamps” were used also. These were small saucers of iron filled with oil, with a handle at one end, and a nose or spout for the wick to lie in. These “Betty Lamps” came down unchanged over two thousand years from the days of Pompeii and Athens.

The Clothes They Wore

The Puritans set small store by worldly accomplishments or dignities. During this period, the clothes of the court of Charles the First with its brightly colored knots of ribbon, delicate laces, and ground-sweeping feathers, were forbidden. The Puri-tans, who were of higher social status than the Pilgrims, did not dif-fer in their dress from other Englishmen of the same period. Al-though all conspicuous decoration was avoided, their clothing reflected the wealth and rank of the wearer. Continued on page 17


By Maryssa Cook-Obregón

For the past nearly two years, the Town of Southwick’s Master Plan Advisory Committee (MPAC) has been working with input from the community and the guidance of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) to develop a master plan for Southwick. MPAC is happy to announce that the Southwick 2040 Mas-ter Plan is finally here!

What is a master plan?: A master plan is a planning document designed to guide the future actions of a community. Specifically for Southwick this 2040 Mas-ter Plan will, for the next approximately twenty years, serve as a reference for our Planning Board as well as other boards and commissions as they create new by-laws and launch initiatives that will help Southwick grow in a way that reflects the needs and wants of the people and busi-nesses in town. Without a master plan, Southwick will con-tinue to be developed without a clear, unified direction.

What does the Southwick 2040 Master Plan contain?: The new master plan looks at eight different areas: Land Use, Hous-ing, Economic Development, Open Space and Natural Resourc-es, Historical and Cultural Resources, Transportation, Public

Facilities and Services, Climate Change and Resiliency. Each chapter contains recommended strategies and accompanying actions as well as recommendations on which boards and commissions within Town Hall should be responsible for particular actions. There are 138 recom-mended actions between the eight chap-ters, with an emphasis on balancing our town’s rural character with sustainable growth, conserving open space, promot-ing more agriculture, revitalizing our downtown area and preserving histori-cal sites, as well as proposals to for how to create an inviting environment for new businesses in town, all of which were points repeatedly expressed by commu-nity input over the course of the last two years.

Some examples of recommended ac-tions within the chapters are:

Land Use: Adopt by-laws to allow for both in-law apart-ments and/or tiny homes and consider other forms of accessory units in existing residential areas to promote diversity of hous-ing options.

Housing: Adopt Low Impact Development standards for


all new residential developments.

Economic Development: Invite MassChallenge, Mass De-velopment and any other regional small business incubators to discuss in a pub-lic forum how to foster an environment of innovation here in Southwick that will lead to “business incubation” and attract new businesses, including green/environmentally-cognizant industries and new models of sustainable and re-generative agriculture.

Open Space and Natural Resources: Establish a multi-community aquifer advisory committee that is inclusive of all towns that tap into the aquifer located in Southwick to regularly address drinking wa-ter quality issues and provide education about groundwater protection and adverse effects on the aquifer.

Historical and Cultural Resources: Explore the options and designate studio space for local art, makers, painters and musicians.

Transportation: Create a