Scrapbookers Compiled Clips on History, Weather  
Thursday, October 5, 2006
Ed Patenaude So I’ve Heard

Add Harvey E. Bienvenue and the late Alois B. Reich to the area’s single-topic scrapbookers.

Mr. Reich collected national storm stories, beginning in the 1930s, and Mr. Bienvenue gathered World War II headlines up to the war’s end in 1945. He filled 14 scrapbooks.

Mr. Reich’s weather clips, stuffed into a couple of large books, came my way last month. One of his sons, Robert M. Reich, figured they’d make a good research tool. I hope to share them with T&G reporter Bill Fortier, the best weather-wired writer in this region.

Mr. Bienvenue’s scrapbooks start with a skirmish between Finland and Russia, and they go on and on. Harvey was probably 11 or 12 years old when he started to cut war items out of newspapers and magazines in Welcome’s Variety store on East Main Street. His parents, Herbert E. and Anna Bienvenue, operated the business, known by the English translation of the French word, Bienvenue.

All of the scrapbooks were neatly prepared, and they include headlines for a good part, if not all, of the war. Unfortunately, datelines weren’t saved, or included. But then, what pre-teener thinks of everything? Harvey had an advantage of sorts because he had free reign to newspapers and magazines. “But I had to buy the scrapbooks,” he remembered, laughing.

Many of the headlines in the books were in balanced lines, suggesting cuts from tabloids, and most of the feature stories look like those from Life magazine. Some of the clips are in sequence to particular campaigns, such as the German occupation of France. It was a rather methodical operation.

Mr. Bienvenue, a retired Telegram & Gazette pressman, has kept the scrapbooks pretty much in storage since the end of the war. He recently re-examined them and wonders whether they might be of value to a library, history class, group or organization interested in World War II headlines.

Friend Leonard F. Jacob places holiday displays about his Fifth at Crosby streets residence from time to time. If they clash with his collection of New York Yankees signs and pennants, so be it.

An in-house stereo is connected to an outside amplifier, offering music to a particular display. Santa Claus gets lots of play at Christmas. It’s been quiet of late but, believe it or not, Lenny had a salute to this corner the other day. “Have You Heard” was playing. “Pretty close,” he said, smiling. “It’s by the Duprees.”

Webster selectmen had a notice on the town’s public access channel a couple of weeks ago. They’re looking for people to fill a number of appointive vacancies, mostly the “thank you” kind.

The list mentioned five openings on the Public Safety Committee, meaning the agency is inoperative. The panel, with James M. Hetherman as chairman, was a pretty active group at one time, meeting the last Monday of every month.

“Everybody just got worn down,” said Mr. Hetherman, offering his view of the problem. Getting a quorum was difficult. “I’d call (members), but there was always just a couple of us. When I resigned, the other guy did, too.”

Mr. Hetherman is still interested in safety, though.

When an 80-year-old woman was attacked and robbed in the vicinity of Town Hall on primary voting day, he took a hard look at the area.

“There was quite a bit of brush near the sidewalk on a lot across from the park, where cars have to stop for red lights,” he said. “Someone could have hid in there after dark and carjacked a motorist waiting for a light.”

Mr. Hetherman reported the matter to DPW Superintendent Dennis Westgate and said, “He had it taken care of pretty quickly.”

Former Gov. Edward J. King, who died last month from injuries suffered in a fall, turned out to be the last Bay State gubernatorial candidate to campaign from the steps to the Webster Town Hall. The year was 1978.

A number of candidates f
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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