Chase family

January 7, 2008

In Washington, NH a family of Chases ran, a farm a headquarters of the Communist Party of New Hampshire, and brought up a number of children. Joseph the oldest was my friend and mentor and a yard conductor on the New Haven RR. He was also the union rep, or as we called them a committee man.
Joe’s father ran for the senate on the Communist Ticket. He didn’t get elected and to tell the truth he didn’t even get close. He did work hard and built the Party from the ground up and his being in a good position to disseminate a lot of good ideas. When he died his wife assumed leadership of the party and was just as hard working as her husband. She was head of the Party, her household and mid-wife and medical helper her neighbors.
Joe, her oldest, organized the rubber workers in Massachusetts, Cambridge and Canton. He won, single handed, the railroad strike for Boston workers in 1946.
Homer was different sort of cat, dedicated Stalinist and very difficult to work with. As a young man he went to Spain with the Lincoln Brigade and was an effective machine gunner. He was captured by the fascists and had many stories to tell of that period. In WW2 he was a paratrooper. An intelligence officer told him he could not go overseas because he was a Communist, I think they called it a premature anti-fascist. He asked this officer if he (the officer) was working for Hitler. When asked for an explanation he told them only Adolph Hitler wouldn’t want him to go overseas. He was sent and had a good combat record with the 17th Airborne Co. B. 513th Paratroop Infantry Reg.

The Chases were descended from Aquila Chase of Newburyport Ma. 1635.

I plan on writing a book on this remarkable family.


Franklin MA

December 31, 2007

In 1962, on a summer afternoon, I was driving through Franklin, MA. I was coming from Warwick, RI on my way to covering the New Haven RR switcher at Framingham MA.

I noticed a sign that pointed to some new housing development, by Al Bolduc on Partridge St.

The drive from Warwick was beginning to be a pain. Being on a railroad spareboard I knew most of my work would be MA.

To make a long story short, I bought one of Al’s houses for $14,500. A nice little house in a nice neighborhood.

Franklin was a very interesting town. It was run by the old Yankee families who owned the mills and other businesses. The Italians who worked for them began to out breed them, and what happens in a democracy they began to out vote them and took over politically.

The first few years were uneventful but the Vietnam War was raging and all hell broke loose.

The old Yankees who were tied to the Universalist church called a retired Congregationalist minister who they thought was a safe choice. The minister, Jack Daniel, was as outrageous as his name. He began to build an anti-war movement in the town.

Jack, myself and Ed Agro from Medway, began to organize and give the town fathers fits. The Italian politicians like most second and third generation immigrants were super patriotic.

In my book, Head Pin and Wash Up, I go into a great deal of detail about the anti-war movement in Franklin, MA and Medway, MA.

Quaker Meeting

December 31, 2007

Yesterday I attended a Quaker Meeting. A man stood and reminded us that Quakers are searchers, unlike many religious sects, they do not believe they have the answers. Looking for answers can be very revealing.