Political signs are sprouting up everywhere  
Thursday, October 14, 2010

Let’s offer a few observations about political signs today, along with declarations about other things by others.

•A fair sprinkling of political appeals became obsolete after the Sept. 14 state primaries, including those of “Bove for Sheriff.” Someone got rid of one of the Bove standards by leaning it against the wall in front of Mount Zion Cemetery in Webster. A dead campaign seemed the implication. Too bad; candidate Bove appeared well-qualified.

•Connecticut’s U.S. Senate race features signs with a single name, “Linda,” and there’s a lot of them on lawns in the greater Thompson area, right from the state line at Webster and Dudley. Linda McMahon, said to be a big name in promoting professional wrestling, is the Republican nominee for the seat being vacated by Democratic U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd. Connecticut’s attorney general, Richard Bluementhal, is his party’s choice to keep the office Democratic.

•Guy Glodis, unsuccessful candidate for state auditor in the Democratic primary, lost the votes of a couple of horticulturists I know because one of his workers planted one of his campaign messages in the floral divider at Lake Parkway and Thompson Road.

•It’s a long ways from sweet corn to the Governor’s Council, but that’s the combination that rolled through town recently. The sign on the pickup, “Corn Man,” was overshadowed by a cab-high message, “Jen Cassie for Governor’s Council.” Oxford’s Russell Caissie is the well known “Corn Man,” and his daughter, Oxford Selectman Jen Caissie, is running for Governor’s Council, reports friends Irene and Ronald Savageau. The whisper says, “Vote for Jen.”

Edmund O. Breault, who ran a TV sales and repair business in Webster for many years, says he ran across a script for a variety show that he attended in 1944 at Camp Pendleton, Calif. “I was in the Navy, and one of the guys in charge gave me the script as a souvenir,” says Mr. Breault. “It featured some big names of the time. They’re probably mostly dead by now.”

Camp Pendleton was a Marine base, but a joint military group was in training there, preparing “to invade Japan.” Pausing, Ed added, “When they dropped that (atomic) bomb it saved us. A lot of Americans would have died.”

The Watch and Ward Society, organized in Boston around 1878, became known for its crusades against racy books, burlesque, and social evils, judging from a recent Sunday Telegram book review, “Banned in Boston,” written by Neil Miller. Richard Duckett’s finding puts the new issue on to-read lists. The society was renamed the New England Citizens Crime Commission around 1950, when the fight against gambling became the priority.

However, the society started to monitor illegal gambling in Webster from the 1940s while it was still the Watch and Ward Society. With a lot of slot machines behind storefronts and bookie parlors in the downtown, they didn’t have any trouble finding the gambling. Keeping investigators in the town seemed the problem. The society was apparently short on local donations. Ironically, a couple of housewives riddled Webster’s gambling crowd with letters to the weekly Webster Times.

Margaret Zumpfe and Catherine Baumeister were linguists who brought their campaign against slot machines with humor and insight, making their point week after week with Irish quotes and wit. Everyone knows what ultimately happened: The state went into the gambling business, and the New England Citizens Crime Commission went out of business.

John Mrazik, the retired Bartlett High School teacher-coach and an author on railroad and trolley travel through this region, thinks Garrett Moore’s “faint” recall of Webster trolley tracks, noted here a couple of weeks ago, may be of real iron, and not cement fill-ins, as suggested.

Garrett was just a little boy when he accompanied his grandfather, Jerome Moore, on nostalgia walks to the downtown. Grandpa Moore was a former freight agent for the trolley company.

Mr. Mrazik, actually a bit younger than Garrett, says Mr. Moore’s time frame to recall, the mid-1940s, falls to the years “when actual trolley track” remained in sections of Lake, Slater and School streets. School Street trolley tracks were undoubtedly within eyesight when preschooler Garrett and his Grandpa walked past the old fire and police station — with fire access on School Street, and police access on High Street — to watch the big trains chug over the Main Street crossing.

Arthur “Archie” LaPlante of Webster has a talent for matching little mechanical toys.

His latest is a pink piglet that reacts to a back scratch with a sway, a pucker, and an “oink.” Matched to a pup that scampers and barks, the battery-operated toys seem to challenge one another. They’re yard sale purchases that Archie has timed for performance. The trick is to set them down at the right moment.

Keeping up with Archie’s toy menagerie is a challenge. His latest acquisition is a seal, he said recently.

-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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