Chester Chatter: Those old Town Meetings brought community together

By Ruthie Douglas
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

In times past, Vermont folks looked forward to Town Meeting Day, mostly because it allowed one a chance to express themselves and suggest their ideas.

Town Meeting was an all day event, starting at 10 a.m., which gave the farmers time to get their milking and some chores done. School would be closed for the entire day as well.

Most students attended the meeting and sat up in the balcony. Some had school assignments on what they learned at the meeting.

Throughout the morning, coffee and homemade doughnuts were served. The room was full of delicious aromas of lunch warming up.

Everything was on the table for discussion, whether it be how much gravel to purchase, the salary of the town manager or the price of a new typewriter for the town office. There was much discussion and lots of time spent, some of it in heated arguments.

Then it was time for a break and lunch. Vermonters sure love their comfort food. Alice Bliss’s baked beans, goulash, macaroni and cheese, johnny cakes, meatballs, and homemade bread to name a few. And then there were the desserts: all kinds of pies, cake and cookies, coffee and lemonade.

The afternoon session began after lunch. Looking around the room, you would certainly see a number of folks nodding off after such a big and satisfying lunch.

Around 4 or 5 p.m. the meeting came to a close and farmers hurried home for night chores. The bars and stores could once again sell liquor, which could not be sold during the meeting. Town Meeting upstairs in Town Hall was a social event where you got to see folks and have a visit. We cannot go back. Those days are gone forever.

Transitions, healing and a Patsy Cline concert

Jesse Smith is recovering from one nasty cut to his finger. Glad things are getting better.

Arlene LaVallee celebrated her 88th birthday with family at the home of Terry and Jim Rand. Happy days, Arlene.

John Stearns, who grew up in Chester, has died. Our thoughts are with his two children Mercedes and Tyler.

Danny Cook of the Chester Ambulance crew, came to the rescue after Town Meeting when the elevator did not work and helped one of our precious residents down the stairs.

Courtney Shayne sings Patsy Cline

Keep this date: Saturday, April 21. From 8 to 10 p.m. at the Chester American Legion. The Legion Auxiliary is sponsoring superb Patsy Cline tribute singer Courtney Shayne. Tickets are $15 each and funds will help sponsor a candidate to run for national commander of the Sons of American Legion.

Voters during Chester’s Town Meeting took time to praise the town Road Crew for a job well done. Also, kudos went out to the Rescue Crew and the Fire Department. We are lucky.

  • This week’s trivia question:  When was Common Street, behind the Chester Green, made one way?
  • Answer to last week’s trivia question: The Barbie Doll came on the market just in time for Christmas in 1959.

Street Talk

Do you have a line land phone? How about a cell phone?

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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 more than 40 of those years. Ruthie is also a longtime volunteer throughout the community.

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