Chester Chatter: Lilacs for those we loved, lost

By Ruthie Douglas
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Spring is truly here with Memorial Day arriving. Right on time, the lilacs are in bloom. Growing up, we had a row of lilac trees in front of our porch, five purple and one white.

We made bouquets for family graves. Mayonnaise jars were washed and small stones were placed in the bottom. Lilacs and water filled the jar and we wrapped tin foil on the outside and tied it up with a bow. We then had our homemade arrangement for our family members.

Recently, while walking around the cemetery, I saw a sea of plastic flowers, most that looked unreal. There were some plants but missing were the homemade bouquets like my family loved putting together.

I love the flags flapping and flying in the breeze, telling us a veteran lies here at this grave site. So many veterans are in our town cemetery. Chester has many, going back to 1776.

Won’t you take a minute to think of them?

Remembering old friends

The Celebration of Life for Mark O’Neil, held on a recent Saturday at the Chester American Legion, was filled with many friends. Doris Eddy officiated, calling on his many friends to recall memories of Mark. He was so well liked, old times and memories came easily.  Beth O’Neil, Mark’s daughter, and her two sons of Denver, Colo., have been here for her father’s memorial. Nice seeing you Beth.

Butch Gordon, a longtime resident of Chester and recently of Florida, has died. Butch owned the popular Pioneer House that held many fun times and was known statewide for its St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Butch and Mark were good friends, they might be sharing a laugh or two right now. Butch was the father of three children, Wendy, Sam and Heath.

Matt Swenson of Chicago, son of Bev Groshens, has been here for his father Bill Swenson who has been ill and just recently died.

Suzanne Jaquith of Westminster, Colo., has been visiting family and friends and spending some time with brother-in-law Bert Burns. Nice to see her.

The school budget vote on Tuesday had a very low turnout. How sad. The budget did pass however.

  • This week’s trivia question: Who was the meat cutter at Al’s IGA who was always whistling? 
  • Answer to last week’s trivia question: The Hazen family worked at the Depot Post Office for many years. Harriet was the Post Master clerk, Bunny was the clerk Postmaster and George and Steve were mail carriers.  And a big shoutout to Deb Stearns for her correct answers!

Street Talk

What is your favorite part of the West River Farmers’ Market?





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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. Cynthia Prairie says:

    One reason why I started The Chester Telegraph back in 2012 was the lack of information. However if no one sends us the information and we don’t hear about it, we cannot publish it. We have run a number of stories on the school budget vote, including this second vote. But as seen time and again, unless you are particularly interested in school budgets, you likely won’t read those articles.

    As for the West River Farmers Market, we wrote a small article on the fact that it was starting up and it is in its 25th year. You can find that by clikcing here. And, we have just created a new and more responsive Calendar of Events. You can find that here:

    The West River Farmers Market and plenty of other events are listed.

  2. Arlene Mutschler says:

    Thank you for your insights and up dates, Ruth! First about the low turn out for voting? I DID NOT even know when the vote was.

    Perhaps there was sign outside town hall and I didn’t see it??? Perhaps? Perhaps a little more information?

    Second? where is the West River Farmers Market? Is it an ongoing event? weekly? yearly? Looks lovely, would’ve like to have gone?

    The lack of information, outside of the an inner circle, has been a complaint of mine for years. I see things like Craft Fair Main St.. no town? or St so and so Church, Main st, no town, no address. There was a sale of some sort right here in Chester at the UU church…no information. I guess if you belong to these events or towns or churches you know about them..otherwise? you are not wanted?? OK, I’ll get off my soap box!

  3. Deb Stearns says:

    Ruth, Bunny Carpenter was the postmaster & Harriet Benson was the clerk.