Back in the 1930's, Fred Pope, Class of 1939, was a student and a very
talented artist and cartoonist. He made outstanding cartoons for the Major Howard Beal High School newspaper.
In these cartoons, the Shrewsbury teams were always depicted as the "INDIANS". The nickname for the Shrewsbury teams
became the "Indians" because of this.
A few years later, Al Banks, cartoonist for the Worcester Telegram
& Gazette, started producing very colorful names for the various teams in Worcester County. The name he chose for
the Shrewsbury teams was the "COLONIALS". The sports writers quickly took up this name in their writeups on Shrewsbury
sports and thus the "offical" name became the "Colonials" because of Al Banks' great cartoons.
Fred Pope went on to become a minister.
Irving James (Jim) Donahue, Jr. - SHS 1940
Have the school colors ALWAYS been Blue & Gold?
We believe that it was sometime in 1938 when Harold Daniels, a member
of the Shrewsbury School Committee, stood before a general assembly held in the gymnasium of Major Howard Beal High School
and suggested a change in school colors. The SHS colors at that time were Green & White. Harold showed samples
of the present Green & White colored jerseys alongside the brightly colored Blue
& Gold samples. The reason for the suggested change was to present a more colorful image for the great sports teams,
cheerleaders, bands and other school events. The Blue was a royal blue and the Gold was a bright yellow gold.
The members of the assembly showed great enthusiasm for the new more colorful image that would be projected. The students
and faculty unanimously voted to change the school colors as suggested.
Some SHS sports teams of today have changed the original colors to
drab blue-black and oxidized gold which is away from the original intent of the brighter more colorful school colors.
Irving James (Jim) Donahue, Jr. - SHS 1940
Rafaella Lorito - SHS 1938 - has used the last of our 50th reunion
funds to enroll me in the SHS Alumni Association for a year. Thank you Rae! I now have a Blue and Gold Card, but
I can remember when the school colors were green and white. I was told the colors became blue and gold, the Hickey racing
colors, after the extended Hickey-Ward family made a substantial gift to the school athletic fund some time during the Great
My father, Ernest A. Larrabee, became principal of the Ward School
in 1925 on the recommendation of a fellow Mason, Merle A. Sturtevant, Superintendant of Shrewsbury Schools. As he explained
to my father, "I have a bunch of married women teachers there, and I can't make one principal because all the others
would be jealous. If I bring you in from outside it will be alright." And it was. My father had only a mechanical
engineering degree from Tufts University but he had extensive experience in teaching gymnastics and was willing to meet his
largely Italian-American students half way.
My family lived on the other side of town at South Street, opposite
the Hickey Leather Factory, which was already beginning to sag alarmingly. We rented the top floor of a farm house from
Ella Maynard, who was a wealthy woman by the standards of the time. When we first moved in, there was an old barn nearby
which I was forbidden to enter because I might fall through its rotten floor. Somewhat later its rock-hard oak timbers,
held together with wooden pegs, defied destruction at the hands of carpenters.
One of my father's school teacher friends, Gladys Church and her husband,
Lucian Church, lived on the first floor for awile. After they moved out the Layden family and their children, Joseph,
Mary and Frederick, moved in. Mary is another member of the class of 1938. Freddie and I played in the back yard.
Later we both learned to ride Joe's bicycle after I repaired it with the help of my father's extensive assortment of tools.
In those days there were three places to go ice skating - McGrail's
pond, opposite Jensen's Dairy, Dean Park Pond and Hickey's pond. There were even lights at Hickey's so you could skate
at night! Eventually the lights were destroyed by vandals.
When Lindbergh flew to Paris in 1927 it made a deep impression on my
mother. As a skilled seamstress and milliner, she outfitted me in an aviator's costume so I could sit on a horse-drawn
float with a bunch of other kids dressed as doctors, nurses, farmers and lawyers in a procession to celebrate the town's tercentenary.
The decorated wagon carried the legend, "The Vision". They let
me hold someone else's nice biplane model so that my hoped-for-role would be clear. Howard Allen was to be a doctor.
The horse and wagon came from Harold Holland's farm. True to "The Vision", and partly because of the marvellous resources
of the Shrewsbury Public Library, I bacame hooked on aviation and spent my professional life in it.
My old house on South Street sill stands, as does the house on Bruce
Avenue, where I lived from 1935 to 1942. Janet (Logan) Shea can probably remember me flying model airplanes in the then
open field beyound our houses during the late 1930's. The Ward School is gone, absorbed into Building 19/Spags.
As a fan of Garrison Keillor's, I look back on Shrewsbury as a kind
of superior Lake Wobegon, "where all the women are strong, and all the children above average." Although I now live
in the Los Angeles basin, I watch "This Old House" on KCET and listen to Norm so as not to lose my New England accent, as
if I ever could.
I'm supposed to be helping a friend write a book about the history
of airplane stability and contol these days, so I better get back to it.. but it's been nice to rerun my old memories to write
this. Remember when they opened Route 9 in 1932 with rye grass, two feet high in the center divider, to prepare it to
take grass seed next year? Do you remember when Main Street - Maple Avenue stopped being Route 20 and shifted itself
to the "Auburn Cutoff", also known as the "death pike" because of its three lane pattern?
E. Eugene Larrabee - SHS 1938