Chester Chatter: Lifelong strength in small town friendships

By Ruthie Douglas
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

What is it about growing up in small town America? Making forever friends in our first years of school happened to many of us. Some 30 of us who started first grade at the same time often get together once a month for lunch.

Over the years, many things have not changed. As friends, we know the good and the bad in our friends, yet we still offer them support.

As we near 80 years old, the friendships haven’t changed. I take comfort in the fact that I can phone a friend and tell them how I feel without expecting advice, but just looking for someone to listen. That was all I need.

More than 10 years go, on a visit to Washington, D.C., I bought a rose. I visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and “the Wall,” honoring those who died, including a school friend, Roger Stearns. I find his name and place my hand on the wall and recall riding bikes with him, playing in my sandbox, scooping up tadpoles in the brook.

Back in Vermont, I drive by the grave of my long ago friend. I take a minute to recall the good times. Friendships are indeed special.

Scene and heard

Former Chester resident Steve Harrington, now of New Jersey, spent the Super Bowl weekend with friends Pat and Haley Gordon.

Lots of get well wishes are going out to Angie Peterson.

Classmates and friends of Lois Golden are sad to learn of her death. We send our sympathy to the family.

Friday’s snow/ice/rain combination was a perfect storm and I was out of power. While it was still light out, I hurried to gather up flashlights, candles and matches. Here in downtown Chester, we are almost never left in the dark for very long. However, this time was different. My daughter Jeanie and grandson Ben came and got me so I could spend the night in Springfield, where they had power.

Chester has lost three find folks recently: Fred Way, Chuck Whelan and Chris Work. Our sympathy to their families.

Remember when we celebrated the birthday of President Washington and President Lincoln separately, on their birthdays?

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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. arlene mutschler says:

    I do feel sympathy for you. I am in my early 70’s having paid RE taxes for more than 50yrs. and I HAVE NO CHILDREN. I am paying for the future citizens as those before me paid for my generations. AND I however, went to Catholics school, (yes parents choice) yet my parents paid taxes just as if they had children in the system. No, exception or exemptions were made then or now. And I wont tell you what RE taxes are on LI NY! 6-8x what they are here. Again a choice. Here in VT deductions are made based on income and I would assume a disability? If your house is a burden to you and you are on the verge of losing it? Why not sell it? before that happens and find subsidize housing? you’d be rid of the burden and the stress? And get the equity out of your home? Yes, shame you have to leave your ancestral home, but sometimes it is time to move on? Just saying. I don’t know you or you whole story or situation. God Bless.

  2. jo a richardson says:

    This is way out in left field, but I have to say it:

    Those of us retired or on disability find it hard to make ends meet. I know I am not alone here.

    Where I live on Popple Dungeon Rd has been in my family for many many years. The house is under 900 square feet and not even worth $85,000. My property taxes are ridiculously high for what piece of land I have.

    Between my parents and I, we have paid the town thousands and thousands of dollars in taxes. Way more than what it is worth. I have no children in the schools anymore, haven’t in years, yet school tax continues.

    I find it hard every year to pay these taxes and heaven forbid I get behind, like I am now, because the town threatens to sell my house! No one really owns their house…ever. That is very sad to think about.

    Why is it a law can not be written that when homeowners reach a certain age in their life, or becomes disabled, that property taxes stop. It’s not that I haven’t paid this town over and over and over again for this piece of dirt and rocks.

    Even ending the school tax for those of us with no school aged children would be a big help.

    I am just tired of struggling every day.

    Just had to vent.

    Jo Ann Richardson.