Chester Chatter: A call from an old friend

By Ruthie Douglas
©2020 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Our town of Chester is a place to be proud. Most folks are following what our government has asked of us: Stay at home and don’t mingle in person.

While those types of rules are hard for me to follow, in this instance I am doing as I have been told.

My friends have been teasing me by calling me The Gatekeeper and The Traffic Controller. Sitting here on my couch and looking out my big front window near Route 103, I can see traffic pass. I count cars and keep track of those going up and down my road as well as those from out-of-state.

I was most happy to hear from Warren John Mackensen, whose parents, Frank and Mary, once owned the Chester Inn, which is now the Fullerton Inn.

I went to work for the Mackensens in 1959, ostensibly hired for the kitchen. But I worked wherever I was needed included cleaning rooms, bartending and picking up fresh fruit from an Andover Farm.

Warren John and his sister Barbara Ann went to private schools but spent their summers in Chester. Warren John was a precocious child who had free range. Not attending school here, he didn’t know many of the other kids. However, he knew many of the residents along Main Street.

IGA meat cutter Buster Henry was a constant — if not off-key — whistler, to the point of irritating some folks. And of course he taught Warren John his irritating skill.

Other pals included Frank and Ernie, two older men who would meet every afternoon for a couple of drinks at the Chester Inn bar.  Warren John would also hang out with folks at the Post Office, which used to be located in the building where Six Loose Ladies now sits.

Currently, Warren John is writing memoir of his life.

I am most thankful for the telephone, which is how my friends and I keep in touch. And with the coming of good weather, many of us will be very happy to be outside. Stay safe, wear a mask when you go out in public, practice social distancing and wash your hands.

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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. Susan Leader says:

    Dear Ruthie, I look forward very much to reading your wonderful stories each week. I am very interested in the Andover fruit farm! Do you recall where it was, and what kind of fruit? Blessings, Susan