Chester Chatter: My Canadian grandfather

By Ruthie Douglas
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

My grandpa was born into a large family in Canada. Being the oldest child, he was bonded out to work at the age of 9. He worked on a farm and his pay went to his father.

Grandpa slept in the barn, and it was clean and warm. Once a year, he got a new pair of overalls, shirt and shoes. And he only had a fourth-grade education.

Grandpa worked out his bondage and became a logger. After he and Grandmother married, they moved to Vermont, where he worked as a gardener, a janitor and did other various odd jobs.

Grandpa read: He read newspapers every day and taught himself whatever he wanted to know. He told me stories of walking miles into the deep woods carrying axes and crosscut saws to log in the wilderness of Canada. He said his only day of rest was Sunday, but if you had to walk miles out of the woods and then miles back to camp, you were tired come Monday morning. So most stayed at camp.

On hot sunny days, Grandpa and I would make switchel, a ginger and vinegar water mixture with slices of lemon. I always claimed I loved the stuff because I didn’t want to miss that shared time with Grandpa.

When Grandpa died, he owned an apartment house in Springfield, a nice new car and he had money in the bank. Not too bad for a poor boy from Canada. He never became a U.S. citizen.

Welcome backs and a goodbye

Welcome back to Chester Andy and Linda Papineau. The Papineaus will be running the Hugging Bear Inn until new owners can be found. The Papineaus were once owners of the Chester House Inn and the Stone Hearth Inn.

Lindsey and Joey Diaz and son Jack have moved back home from living in Virginia. Grandmas Karen and Angie and excited to have baby Jack nearby for hugs and kisses.

The family of Bill Keith has planned to hold a graveside service at Simonsville Cemetery on April 4, after which there will be a gathering at the American Legion Post 67.

The Chester-Andover Family Center is once again holding its shopping spree for high schoolers to purchase prom wear and accessories. The center, 908 VT Route 103 South, will be open for this event from 3 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4.

Has anyone seen a robin yet?

  • This week’s trivia question:  Where and when was the first black top road laid in Chester?
  • Answer to last week’s trivia question: Readex-NewsBank opened for business in 1946. And family of the founder still lives here.

Street Talk

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Filed Under: Chester ChatterCommunity and Arts Life

About the Author: Ruthie Douglas is originally from Springfield but has called Chester her home for 58 years, and has been writing the Chester Chatter column for 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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