Chester Chatter: A simple life close to home

By Ruthie Douglas
© 2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

My mother-in-law grew up many years ago in the hilltop town of Windham. Before electricity, before central heat and in the days of the one-room schoolhouse.

It was a peaceful, quiet place to live with no Main Street, no general store or diner. Children walked to school carrying their lunch pails and often times carrying their shoes so as not to wear them out on the gravel road. They would put them on once they arrived at school.

Far away from town in the days before the automobile, folks stayed pretty close to home and simple things were a great treat.

And the one-room schoolhouse was the center of social events for everyone.

The Windham Schoolhouse was as gathering place for community events, beginning with a Halloween party, the children’s Christmas  program, a spring concert and the end-of-school year awards. Throughout the year, many social events were held. One of the favorites was a Spelling Bee involving both parents and students and a great first prize.

Oftentimes bridal showers, family reunions, ladies club meetings and talent shows were held at the school. Town folks had to create their own entertainment.

My mother-in-law wondered why the school children never got sick. It might be because there was no lunchroom. Their lunches were placed on shelves of the back room, not refrigerated. And their milk was in glass jars that the children would bring home each afternoon for cleaning. And the drank springwater from a well, using a dipper shared by all.

Those school friendships lasted well into their adult lives.

Seen and heard

Sue Kibbe’s mom Janet Molony of Lincroft, N.J., spent Easter and some time visiting her.

Sheryl Stowell of Attleboro, Mass., has been visiting her sister and brother-in-law Judy and Don Cenate.

Arlene LaVallee is all settled into her new living space at Gill Home in Ludlow. Stop by for a visit anytime.

Our thoughts are with Mary Williams who lost her husband Albert.

The 8th Annual Dance Away Cancer event was held Saturday, April 7 at the Chester American Legion. There were bands, auction items, food and drinks for the crowd to enjoy. It was a successful fund-raiser!

Happy birthday Bob Record.

Vermont’s state capitol dome is the only one in the United States with a statue of a woman. She is Ceres, an ancient Roman goddess of agriculture. Ceres is down now for repairs, which will be occurring until June, when she will be returned to her perch.

Don’t forget the Patsy Cline Show on April 21 to the held at the Chester American Legion.

  • This week’s trivia question: When did Chester vote to arrange for the collection and disposal of garbage once a week in winter and twice a week in summer?
  • Answer to last week’s trivia question: The Town Tomb once held 18 coffins.

Street Talk

Will you plant a vegetable or flower garden this summer?

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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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  1. Judy Cenate says:

    Interesting about the children sharing and not getting ill. Wonder why the FDA allows all the “stuff” of today on the market.

  2. Bill Moses says:

    My dad grew up in Windham VT also and lived in the same house with Ruthie Douglas’ mother in law. In fact they were brother and sister. At one point they owned and lived on farms south of Chester on what was known as the “Dump Road.” We often went back to Windham to pick blueberries and in the fall went deer hunting. During the summer my father and I would take our hay baler and bale the hay on what is now known as Tater Hill Golf Course. Just wanted to add my two cents to Cousin Ruthie’s comments. Do enjoy her articles.