Bridging the generation gap

Oct 15, 2019

Wareham’s oldest resident spoke with some of the youngest on Tuesday.

Accompanied by her daughter, 104-year-old Mary Rose came back to the school she once attended: Oak Grove School on Onset Avenue. Although now it operates as a Head Start childcare center, the school originally taught children in kindergarten through third grade. 

During her visit, Rose shared memories of her youth with the children and took some questions from curious listeners. 

Both of Rose's parents grew up on the island of Fogu in Cape Verde. Rose knew no English when she first got to the Oak Grove School and made huge efforts to master a new language. 

She remembered that the students who could speak English well sat in front of the class and helped translate lessons from English to Creole.

“When I came home, I helped my six siblings to learn English, too,” said Rose. 

Rose also recalled the first time she learned about television and the day she surprised her family by bringing home a radio. 

“My family, my dad, brothers, and sisters were walking around trying to figure out where the voices were coming from,” Rose said.

Young listeners had many questions for Rose about her childhood. To their surprise, she neither owned a cell phone nor skateboard back when she was a kid. 

“What did you play with?” asked one of the students.  

“We played with each other,” replied Rose. 

Mary Rose’s daughter, Marian Rose also noted that unlike modern girls who wear pants, Mary could only wear skirts and dresses.

“They had long dresses with lots of [undergarments]. Can you imagine walking around with a whole bunch of cloth?” said Marian.

Marian said she hopes to arrange another visit with the children, during which Mary could tell the students more about Cape Verdean music, culture, and food.