Historical Society Museum Flagpole  
Thursday, September 19, 2002

So I've Heard Column

It took some doing, but a replica of the original flagpole is in place at the Webster-Dudley Historical Society Museum, or the Little Red Schoolhouse on School Street in Webster.
President Douglas G. Williamson shepherded the project, locating old photographs of the flagpole, raising money for materials, and enlisting free labor, mostly by a Bay Path Regional Vocational School carpentry class.
Now, the building has something it never had in the 100 years (1836-1936) it was used as an elementary school--a spotlight. The museum flag waves around the clock, outlined in a beam of light from dusk to dawn. Ellis "Cappy" Bateman, owner of Bateman Electric and Webster Electrical Supply, donated everything, the light unit, timer, and labor.
Mr. Williamson and others are grateful. They no longer have to raise the flag every morning and take it down every evening. The floodlight was installed in time for the first anniversary of 9/11,
I knew a couple of the siblings in Webster's Kennedy family but I don't know who received a Navy Department telegram 52 years ago today, on Sept. 19, 1950.
It reported that Lt. j.g. Margaret G. Kennedy was killed in a plane crash at sea off Kwajalein in the Marshall Islands. Miss Kennedy was en route to a U.S. Navy Nurse Corps unit in the Korean Theatre of War. Site of the tragedy made her the only Webster woman to ever die in an overseas war zone.
Writer Paul Macek and illustrator Jim Morrison spent a couple of weeks this summer backpacking through the Grand Canyon. "It was a wonderful experience," Mr. Macek said on a recent morning, describing some of the sights.
Their book, "Webster-Dudley-Oxford; The Early Years," continues to sell well, said Mr. Macek. "We just got a reorder from Dugan Drug."
Their next effort will probably give a face to workers, as they labored at industries in the towns, Mr. Macek said. Some good source information is available and the likelihood is two books about the factories, before and after the Civil War.
Add Regina Dziembowski-Christman, Cecelia Dziembowski-McNamara and Frances Szwarc to that of Alice Hefner as charter members of the J.T.B.O. (Just To Be Odd) Club, headquartered at Point Breeze during the 1920s.
Commenting on my Sept. 5 column about a J.T.B.O. sign in the Point Breeze Restaurant, Robert K. Christman of Southbridge, a retired banker, provided this information. "For years and years they wouldn't tell anybody what it meant," said Mr. Christman, a Webster native. His mother and aunt were guarded about the name, he remembered.
Mr. Christman, who started his banking career at the old First National Bank of Webster, added a personal note. Robert and Sally are leaving Southbridge to make their home in Florida where they've wintered for several years. "Traveling back and forth is getting to be too much," he said.
When he worked as a letter carrier, Leo F. Beaulac, of Elm Street, Webster, came across an 1846 book about dyeing, as in textile solutions.
Fairly heavy, and in pretty good condition, he gave it a quick study, figuring it might prove of value to somebody. Mr. Beaulac never found a match for the book, out of the Hampden Mills Library.
I got involved by parking my car next to Mr. Beaulac's outside St. Louis Church one Saturday. "So I've Heard" might serve as an intermediary, he suggested. My charge was to find someone interested in the book. I contacted the Hadley, Mass. Historical Society, figuring they might have some interest in the bookplate, if not the book. Ms. Linda Krawiec responded. The Hampden Mills was in their town and, yes, the bookplate would be "a wonderful addition to their museum, she said.
"Wonderful," echoed Mr. Beaulac. "It's theirs." Sept. 6 was a nice day for a drive so I delivered the book to the Hampden Senior Center, the daytime point for H
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Telegram & Gazette

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