Richard DeSorgher leaving town

This email today from the Medfield Historical Society President, David Temple, announcing that Richard and Julie DeSorgher are moving to Mashpee –


Upcoming programs, Mr. Medfield History exits and more!

Your Monthly News & Updates                   April 2017
Exit Mr. Medfield History

It is hard for me to get my head around this idea, but lifelong resident Richard DeSorgher — Mr. Medfield, Mr. Medfield History — and his wife, Julie, just announced they are selling their Lawrence Circle house and moving to Mashpee. The 25th Medfield History Day Trolley Tour coming up on June 17 will be the last.
“You’re famous and beloved here. Why move away now?” I asked him.

 Richard DeSorgher lecturing
Richard DeSorgher lecturing at the meeting house.

“There is no Mashpee Historical Society, but there’s a lot of activity around Mashpee, and we’re looking forward to our new life there.

“After we move, I plan to drive to Medfield — it’s only an hour and 10 minutes from Mashpee — once a week to spend the day with my mother. I’m not moving to the other ends of the earth, and I’ll keep plenty of contact with Medfield as Julie and I carve out a new life in Mashpee.”

The Early Years
Richard is the third of child of Lee and Ruth DeSorgher and the first born after they moved to 23 Summer Street, Medfield, the family homestead now owned by younger sister Eileen and husband Brian Flynn. Richard has two older siblings, Lee of Holliston, and Nancy of Brewer, Maine. His father, Lee Sr., Mr. Medfield Hockey, died in 1996; his mother now lives in Tilden Village on Pound Street.

Richard graduated from Medfield High in 1970 and went to UMass-Amherst, where he majored in history and minored in English and education.

An Uneasy Start
When he graduated from college, the United States economy was in the post-Watergate period known then as stagflation: high unemployment combined with inflation. Gas lines and a slump in the U.S. manufacturing industry. American automakers struggled mightily — they had to meet new safety and emission standards, so cars of the early 1970s became costlier, bigger, heavier, thirstier, clumsier, slower, and crankier…and less competitive with the Japanese. And don’t forget bell bottoms, double knits, overdone hair, and other fashion atrocities.

In Medfield, the student population was down. It was a bad time to be a rookie looking for his first teaching job. Richard started as a substitute and was then hired as a social studies teacher at Medfield Junior High. At one time he was even shifted into the English department — and while he was an English teacher he was ironically voted Medfield’s History Teacher of the Year!

How did he become so interested in history?

There’s more to this story, click here>>



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Upcoming Events


Rendezvous with History — Discovering Who’s Who in the House Next Door

Presenter John Temple.

Monday, April 3

7:30 pm
First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
26 North Street, Medfield

John Temple shares fascinating stories about past owners of his house and asks, “What about yours?”

John Temple grew up in Medfield and now lives with his wife in a 200-year-old NRHP-listed house in Barnstable on Route 6A, at the corner of Rendezvous Lane.

He writes, “A few years ago a chance encounter with an old photo unlocked a century’s worth of history involving a very colorful family that summered here from the 1880s to the 1970s. It included a celebrated admiral in the U.S. Navy and a daughter who married into diplomatic service on behalf of the Romanov dynasty of Imperial Russia… not to mention the admiral’s great-great-great-great granddaughter, who stopped by for a visit a couple of years ago. Join us as John shares these stories.

For more details, click here>>


Recent Events


Student Curators Present Disney-Medfield Connection

Student curators Evan Springer and Camille Kerwin

This year’s student curators, Evan Springer and Camille Kerwin, presented a program about the Disney-Medfield connection on Monday, March 7.

Ours is the only city of town anywhere named Medfield. Walt Disney used to visit his good friend Justin Dart and Dart’s wife, the 1930’s actress Jane Bryan, in the 1950s. The Dart family lived at Holiday Farm in Medfield, on Elm Street between the grounds of Wheelock Elementary School and Adams Farm. Disney would occasionally fly in and land his private plane at the Darts’ private airstrip. Today, this airstrip has been converted into some of the soccer fields behind Wheelock School. Portions of the airstrip are still present today.

Disney chose Medfield College as the name for a fictitious institution that was the location for several of his movies, including The Absent-Minded Professor. The cornerstone of Medfield Middle School, formerly Medfield High School, has a quote from Walt Disney inscribed on it: “Our greatest natural resource is in the minds of our children.


People and Places of the Past



Pat Reardon walking in Medfield, 1999. Photo courtesy Pat Reardon.

In Step with Pat Reardon


by Tim Flaherty

Are you overwhelmed from hearing about all the natural misfortunes like global warming with the polar glaciers melting, the creeping sea level now flooding Miami, Florida and the terrible devastation left by the tornadoes in some of the southern states? If those events don’t get you down then surely, how about the war in Syria? Or Trump’s favorable comments about Vladimir Putin?

News like this makes it refreshing to see a guy like my friend Patrick Reardon getting back to basics, striding purposefully around the streets near the center of town or around the condo complex of Medfield Gardens at 89-91 Pleasant Street.

When it’s cold, Pat simply puts on a heavy winter jacket with a hood and thermal gloves — nothing elaborate. When it’s a little warmer, his University of Tallahassee sweatshirt from Building 19 or his UNLV sweatshirt from Lord’s.

Until a few years ago, to ward off hostile dogs, Pat would always carry his trusty shillelagh — “the black thorn cane cut from the briarwood tree” — but he gave it away to a little girl in Ireland. There are fewer dogs in today’s walking routes.

Pat was born in Galway, Ireland, second of six children. As a child, he attended a Christian Brothers elementary school. Part of the curriculum included daily beatings, which he said would not have happened if his father had been a doctor or a teacher instead of a laborer. He said the most sadistic brother left the order, got married, and drove two of his sons to suicide.
In 1956 Pat was shipped off to Norwood to live with his father’s sister. He learned to be a machinist at Boston Trade, worked in an unhealthy plastics plant on California for a time in the 1960s, and came back to Massachusetts to work for R. B. Bradley, a real estate and property management company.

He saved his money and invested in real estate in the U.S. and Ireland, and he lives comfortably. He said he “rode the Celtic tiger” and did particularly well in the Irish real estate boom about 10 years ago, and he went back to live there for a couple of years.

What does he think about on his daily jaunts?

To read the rest of the story, click here>>



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