Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze & Observer 04-25-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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8 FOSTER APRIL 25-MAY 1, 2019 | VALLEY BREEZE & OBSERVER | SMITHFIELD SCITUATE FOSTER GLOCESTER while Labbe has a knack for tran- scribing old letters and articles. She maintains that she needs to put his- toric hand-written letters into text form because younger generations can't read cursive. Labbe said she was continually drawn to Kennedy's collection of books, some of which were held together with a wrapping of string or rubber bands, in the back corner. She eventually asked Robinson, "what are these?" Turning the pages of an old phone directory, Labbe talked about the many articles found inside. She said Kennedy was interested in world events, but would also clip anything quirky, local and fun. Unfortunately, not all the clippings have dates attached, but Labbe said that is all part of discovering history. Select stories from Kennedy's col- lection have been posted at www. under collections. "The pages are so old and deli- cate I couldn't take them out or scan them, so I'm picking them out one by one and transcribing them," Labbe said. Labbe said she prefers to transcribe stories that have a local connection, such as the April 23, 1936 article from the Windham County Transcript about Popeye the Sailor voice-actor spending the night in town and stay- ing to entertain the Danielson Rotary Club after visiting his mother in Foster. "If we didn't do this, I don't know who would, and it could be gone forever. These little pieces of history are what keep tradition alive," Labbe said. Included in the transcripts are the "This and That - the Editor Chats" of Oct. 8, 1936. An article states that Foster, though sparsely settled, is a jump ahead of Killingly in one respect: Foster will use voting machines in the November election. "They not only expedite the count- ing, but they eliminate all the mon- key business around the counting table," the article reads. Labbe and Robinson join 10 or 12 other Preservation Society members on Wednesday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon where they scan photos, compile genealogy, write grants and talk history. The pair discussed the tendency of the older generations such as Kennedy to leave the family chest, usually a cedar chest that stored the family Bible, birth and death certifi- cates, and souvenirs from ancestors, with historic or preservation societies rather than family. "They're just not as interested and they don't want the stuff. People are here because they want to be here. Our biggest problem is young peo- ple. Life is too hectic to get them to come here," Robinson said. "It means nothing to them," he added. In the past few years, Robinson and the Preservation Society have located historic cemeteries through- out the town and marked them on a digital map that can be accessed through the organization's website. The group is publishing open-access historic images online, all the while recording and publishing the oral his- tory from the people of Foster. "My dream is to have this available to everyone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Robinson said. PRESERVATION From Page One BREEZE PHOTO BY JACQUELYN MOOREHEAD MARILYN LABBE, of Connecticut, vol- unteers with the Foster Preservation Society to transcribe newspaper articles from the early 1900s snipped and glued into old books, like this directory, and publishing the stories online. Labbe said she "loves history." Foster Preservation Society President ED ROBINSON points to a pair of reenact- ment dressed donated to the society. Behind him are boxes of artifact and docu- ments regarding Foster history. You Are Invited to . . . May Breakfast at Cortland Place Come and join us for our 1st Annual Breakfast Buffet Celebration! Wednesday, May 1 • 8:30-10:30 a.m. CORTLAND PLACE 20 Austin Ave., Greenville, RI RSVP to: Gina Lee D'Amore-Brown • 401-487-1947 Call to reserve Space is limited.

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