FATHER OF 26 CHILDREN LEADS ALL OTHERS AT NORWOOD, TOWN OF LARGE FAMILIES
Highest Birth Rate in State, 32.3 Per 1000, Crowds Schools of Community and Makes Brood of 10 or A Dozen Not at All Unusual
FIFTEEN NATIONALITIES AT BALCH SCHOOL, NORWOOD
Front Row, Left to Right—Josephine Eysie, Syrian; Frank Wastriock, Polish; Tommie Bruno, Italian; Joseph Tesmiere, French; Peter Daly, Scotch; Annie Walters, German; Rosie Mike, Syrian; Anna Langlois, Canadian. Rear Row—Taimi Alto, Finnish; Sarah Kravitz, Jewish; Florence Olsen, Swedish; Nellie Rusktalis, Lithuanian; Bella Sylvia, Portuguese; John McDonald, Irish; Leon Zenkowsky, Polish; Pauline Rancow, Russian; Ralph Peavey, American.
By JOHN HURD JR
NORWOOD, Dec 18-This is the town of tremendous families. There are more storks hovering over the roofs of houses In Norwood than In any city or town in Massachusetts, proportionally. Some 447 babies waved goodbye to their friends, the storks, and said “Well, here we are,’’ for the first time last year. This makes the birth rate 32.3 per 1000 and enables Norwood to lead Winchester and Chelsea as the greatest baby producing center in the State.
The champion father of them all is Carl Meyers, father of 26 children. You enter the Meyers household at 346 Lenox st and there are children swarming everywhere. Mr. Meyers is proud of his family and his manner indicates it as he talks.
You ask him how many there are living at home and he scratches his head.
“Only 11,” he says. “Three of the children have married and moved away. There are 14 of the 26 living.”
Twins Latest Arrivals
Mrs. Meyers, the mother of 15 of the children, sits on a rocking chair near the window and dandles on her aproned knee one of the twins. It wasn’t so long ago that the twins waved farewell to the stork who has been so astoundingly generous to the Meyers. The other newborn babe is reclining In his two-foot bed, which he does not even make a pretense of filling. His pink toe seeks liberty and refuses to be bound by a conventional blanket.
The father, Mr. Meyers, works as a pressman not far from his home. By putting in a good deal of overtime he makes both ends meet. He slips home for lunch, but he cannot spend too much time lingering over his meal and talking to you in a proud and fatherly fashion about the joys of large families.
“There are 11 at home,” you say to him. “However do you keep track of them?”
“I don’t,” the father answers, puffing out his cheeks in the enjoyment of his facetiousness. ‘And yet I really do a large part of the time, because I keep stumbling over them.”
Mr Meyers Cannot Explain
“Where do you stow such a flock of children and babies?” you ask curiously. You look about the house which is plenty large enough for a family of five or six, but a trifle small for 13.
“I have often thought about it myself,” answered Mr. Meyers, “But I have never been able to discover.” Mr. Meyers is of German extraction.
He came to America in 1891. The way he spoke of Saxony made you feel that he might have a tale or two to tell of the old country If he had not the press waiting for him.
After the 26 children of the Meyers’ family, every other must be something of a come-down. Yet there are many other large families In Norwood. For instance, there are the Blasenaks who have 15; Mr. and Mrs. John Matson on Cedar st. with 11, of whom four now have scarlet fever; Joseph Mike at 23 Concord av, with eight children; John Pungetourne of 349 Pleasant St, with 11, and the Hogans at 123 Railroad av, with about 23.
Nordbloms Had Nine
Mr. and Mrs. John Nordblom, who live at 408 Winter st in a renovated structure which looks like a new house with its fresh shingles, have quite a family. They have had nine children In all and of these, there are seven living. The oldest is 14 and the youngest 2. Mr. Nordblom is a carpenter.
A dog with a prodigiously large mouth with a growl, which would make any dog proud, rushes out at you as you walk across a yard littered with sleds, boxing gloves, live cats, and chickens. A flivver sits in the shed. A dead hen hangs head down from a post, it will hang there until supper time.
Mrs. Nordblom does not know whether she wishes a picture taken or not. She feels that she does, but she thinks it is short notice to have the chicken dressed up. Then, too, she would like to have a talk with her husband to see what he would say because she doesn’t know what he will say when he finds out.
Many Chicken Dinners
“Who is boss?” you ask. “You or your husband?”
That decides the matter; the picture will be taken.
“How do the children treat you?” you inquire politely as the group poses with curious self-consciousness peculiar to those having their picture taken. “Do they boss you around much?”
“They still mind me,” the mother replies with a little smile. “But. then, they are still young.”
Mrs. Nordblom brings out a large pan of something-or-other all ground up for the chickens. In her throat she makes a clucking noise and swarms of half-grown hens rush toward her with outstretched wings helping to propel their legs. You see that chicken helps to fill the hungry stomachs of Nordblom children.
“How many eggs a day do you get?” you ask.
Mmm,” snorted Mrs. Nordblom. “These chickens don’t lay eggs.”
“What do they lay?” you inquire, seeking Information.
“Nothing. But they eat a lot,” comes the answer.
3737 Attend Schools
You wonder what the schools have to say In Norwood, the town with the largest birth rate in the State. You interview Herbert H. Houes, superintendent of schools, and learn that there 3737 children going to one schoolhouse or another in town which has a population of only about 14,000 or so. The average increase In the last three years has been 137. The school housing situation is a problem, but the progressive policy of the town has provided enough funds In the past to carry on the work.
Miss Katherine L Carbee, principal of Balch School, cannot pack enough praise in her sentences concerning the work of the children. You find that there are 15 nationalities in her school alone. She sends for them to have their picture taken. It Is Interesting to watch for the racial characteristics as they tiptoe politely into the room.
Nothing pleased you so much when you went to school in the old days as the chance of playing hookey. There is none of that attitude in Miss Carbee’s school. Even when they are sick, children insist on coming to school, for the teachers make learning such fun. Sometimes health officers, learning that a child is really ill, force the child to go home at once and give strict orders to the mother that she is not to allow the child to play hookey from its home and go to school until the doctors allow it.
You are surprised and say so. Miss Carbee tells you that there is nothing strange about It. It Is part of the new system of education in universal practice which make children cry for school, not because of school.
MR AND MRS CARL MEYERS AND NINE OF THEIR CHILDREN—INCLUDING THE TWINS