Jul 26, 2014

DeSorgher: 'From My Window on Main Street'

Dick Porter, an editor and columnist for a Medfield newspaper publication in the 1950s, wrote a weekly column called "From My Window on Main Street." Town historian Richard DeSorgher shares some of Porter's work.

DeSorgher: 'From My Window on Main Street' DeSorgher: 'From My Window on Main Street'

During the 1950’s, Medfield was served by a local newspaper, first known as the Medfield Enthusiast and then the Medfield Messenger.

The editor and columnist was Dick Porter, whose office was on Main Street next to the current and in the store now occupied by . Porter wrote a weekly column called “From My Window on Main Street.”

Sitting at his desk, looking out onto Main Street, he wrote about what he saw happening, who he saw and what he knew about those he saw. It was uniquely Medfield, it was small town and looking at it today it is both comical and something that would just never take place in today’s society. The column often made personal comments about people, it told if they were going away on vacation or had just returned, it told about a birthday party they had and how old they were; town affairs, gossip and personal business were all shared with others in the small town of Medfield.

The first issue came out on Feb. 5, 1953. In explaining his column, Porter wrote:

“When my boss first told me that I was going to Medfield to manage our branch office and salesroom, he said 'Dick, we are sending you there because you are familiar with every phase of our business, and therefore, are in apposition to render to the residents of Medfield the type of service that we want them to have. … Now, the people that you will find in Medfield are no different than you will find anywhere else. They are human beings and are always interested in what is happening in their home town, and it is up to you to see to it that they receive a reasonable degree of such information, and to accomplish this, it will be your job to gather this news and write it in a column which will be known as From My Window on Main Street.'"

The following will list verbatim some of what Porter saw out his window and reported in the newspaper. It is a small sample of the thousands that appeared.

"… Just received word that Mr. Raymond Lord, your local variety store owner, expects to leave this weekend for a trip to Florida. Lucky fellow!"

"… Oh, Oh! There’s Mr. Sheppard out for his morning stroll around the square. We remember Bill when he operated a thriving roofing business in Wellesley; a swell old man."

"… I see a group of children reading the ads outside the Medfield Theater to see what is playing at the matinee Saturday, no doubt. (Yes, Medfield used to have a movie theater; it was located in the top floor of town hall)."

"… From my window, I can see Police Chief Hogan directing traffic, and I notice none of the nervousness that was evident while he sat at the head table during the Testimonial Banquet to the Medfield High School Football Team, waiting to be called on to make his speech that lasted all of 15 seconds."

"… just got a wave from Sally Balcom as she passed my window on her way to the Post Office. Guess everyone in town must know Sally, since she is the chief telephone operator in the Medfield Office of the telephone Company."

"… Oh Horrors! A coal company from Framingham is dumping a load of coal into the First National Store right next door to us. Wonder why they haven’t converted to oil."

"… Just received my daily wave from Father Garrick, pastor of St. Edward’s Church, as he passed my window."

"… Alfred Zullo just stopped in to tell me about the new swimming pool that the Medfield Lions Club is hopeful of seeing constructed for the benefit of the residents of this community. If enthusiasm will accomplish this, then there is nothing to worry about, for Alfred sure has got it."

"… Just received a nice wave from Mrs. Vincent Bravo of Pleasant Street as she went by. Mrs. Bravo appears to be enroute to do some shopping."

"… Mrs. Robert Larking and her little daughter Elizabeth of Pine Street just walked by and they both gave me a pleasant wave. Guess everyone knows that they are the wife and daughter of the Medfield Package Store Tycoon, Bob Larkin."

"… Holy mackerel, there’s the character that dresses like Sherlock Holmes just arriving on the scene. He usually looks pretty neat, but not today. Brother, he looks as though someone had used him as a broom to sweep some barroom floor."

"… 'Red' Plaumbo, owner of the Vet Package Store, on Main Street just drove past my window in his new Plymouth Station wagon. Chances are that 'Red' bought that nice looking wagon from his good friend Larry McKenney, the pleasant owner of the Medfield Motors, who is located across the street from 'Red’s' Place."

"… Mrs. Edward Dorning just swished past carrying a big bag of groceries. Mrs. Dornig is the wife of well known Medfield Lunch owner, Eddie Dorning. Every time I see her, she’s wearing a big smile."

"… Across the street I can see Fred Whittier, the janitor, clearing the snow from the sidewalk in front of town hall. Fred doesn’t seem to be going too fast but he sure is thorough."

"… Joe Marcionette is over in Post Office Square talking to someone. Wonder if he is asking the person to buy Jenney gasoline or campaign for re-election to the Board of Selectmen."

"… Charlie Evans, Captain of the 1952 High School Football Team, just passed by. Charlie must be pretty busy today since he leaves Friday to become a member of Uncle Sam’s Air Force."

"… Must have been a hard day fro Freddie Vasaturo, local R.F. D letter carrier, for he’s just finished his day’s work and he really looks happy about it."

"… Oh Oh! Floyd Ours of Harding Street is crossing the street and he’s heading straight for my window. Brother is he rugged looking. I don’t remember saying anything about him, but he’s still coming toward me so I’m taking no chances and have locked my door. I feel better now, because Floyd has just given me a wave and headed up toward the Square. Whew, I could feel myself being broken in two."

"… Holy smoke, what was that? A red streak just passed my window. Looking at my watch, I have decided it must be the redheaded local telephone operator, Betty Aylward, on her way to work since that’ s the direction that streak was going, and I know she works the 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. shift. I shutter to think of what would have happened to me had I ever stepped out the door as she went by."

"… Barbara Kennedy, clerk at the drugstore, just passed my window and is apparently calling it a day. Barbara is a sister of Frank Kennedy, Medfield High School football star."

"… Oh, oh! There is that fellow that looks like Sherlock Holmes and he’s looking right over here at me. Wow! That will teach him to stare at me from the middle of the street; he just missed by inches winding up in Roberts Funeral Home. Boy that was really close."

"… Dr. A Ritchie Stagg of Pleasant Street just passed by. I do not know the good Doctor personally, but I have heard a lot of nice things about him."

"… Thomas Sweeney, Postmaster at the Harding Post Office, just passed by. Most likely Tom has been talking shop with the boys in the post office next door to us. I understand that he is directing a play for the Senior Class at Medfield High School."

"… Little Go Go Flaherty of Pleasant Street just passed with her mom, and she wants me to know that it’s St. Patrick’s Day with the two green bows on her pigtails."

"… Oh, Oh! Ellis Allen, local tree warden, just passed and either he has a toothache or a tree kicked him, because one side of his face is swollen."

"… I see Joe Ryan of Main Street talking things over with a couple of his friends. Joe is not very big but he sure has plenty of personality."

"… Holy mackerel, what’s going to happen next! That fellow that dresses like Sherlock Holmes just went by  and  gave me a wave."

"… Yup, Bill Kelly, the ever-smiling manager in Lord’s Village Store here on Main Street, just went by and he really must be hungry, for he’s chewing on a bunch of celery like old Dobbin used to do, and man let me tell you, he was really enjoying it."

"… Oh oh! He’s back again, the fellow that dresses like Sherlock Holmes. He’s leaning against the big tree directly in front of my window."

"… Paul Seeley of Spring Street just gave me a big wave. Paul really does a lot of work for the Little League in Medfield and should receive more help than he does."

"… Smiling Tom O’Toole of Pound Street just went past and gave me a big wave. Wonder if Tom has got rid of the water in his basement yet. He sure had plenty of it."

"… Mrs. Eugene Hoell of Johns Avenue tells us that there is a light bulb thief on the prowl in her neighborhood. Several light bulbs have been stolen and anyone caught will be punished."

"… Just saw little Timmy Flaherty of Pleasant Street go by, so apparently Timmie has completely recovered from the recent operation he underwent for the removal of his tonsils."

"… Postmaster Frank Haley just went by and while he always has a smile, today it seems bigger; perhaps its because he beat Bob McCarthy in a game of golf this past weekend."

"… The rumor mill is grinding out the story that Medfield’s most eligible bachelor, Freddie Vasaturo, who just walked by, will get married. All he would say when he went by was 'no comment.'"

"… Little Kevin Burr is in a car right outside our window, while his mother, Mrs. Herbert Burr, of Summer Street, does some shopping. Kevin is giving every indication that he is not enjoying the wait, even a little bit."

"… Just received a big wave from Allen Larkin of Pine Street as he went past. Allen is enjoying a 30-day furlough from his duties with the US Marines, at the home of his brother, Bob, and he really enjoys being back in Medfield."

"… Just received a big wave from Roger Hardy of Nebo Street, as he went by. We understand that Roger has lots of ambition and progressive plans for Medfield’s future."

"… Guess that the popular taxi owner, 'Goodie' Newell must be sneaking a few days vacation, for I haven’t seen him this past week."

"… 'Buck' Buchanan, owner of Buchanan Press on Spring Street, just went by in the rain but, as usual, he was wearing his pleasant smile. We’d like to add that it is our opinion that guys like “Buck” are a credit to this community."

"… We have not seen Chief of Police Coleman Hogan for the past few days. A check reveals that he is enjoying a vacation in Pennsylvania visiting son, John and his family."

"… Mrs. John Kennedy of Main Street just went by and revealed to us that she has been called for jury duty. Mrs. Kennedy is only the second woman to ever be called from Medfield for such duty."

"… Seeing an Atlantic Brick Company truck go past reminds me that the company is the second largest manufacture of bricks in the United States … and its right here in Medfield."

"… The four Horgan boys of North Street stopped in to say hello. We asked them what they thought of Medfield but they said 'no comment.' OK fellows."

"… Phyllis Ganley and here little sister Mary just passed by and the little sisters gave us a pleasant smile. They are the daughters of Mr. and Mrs. John Ganley of Lowell Mason Road."

"… I see Mrs. Charlotte Kelly of Miller Street coming out of the police station. We asked her why she was there and what her story was but all she would say was 'no comment.'"

"…The little fellow who never fails to give us a wave when he goes by is little Freddie Rogers of Hale Place and he is accompanied by his mother."

"… Francis 'Dinny' Horgan of the US Navy is back home for a few days and is visiting his mother Mrs. Michael Horgan of Main Street."

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