Chester Chatter: Honoring Helene for Women’s History Month

By Ruthie Douglas
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

This is the month of the woman, Women’s History Month. Who is the woman you honor? My mother-in-law, Helene Douglas, meant a lot to me.

It started when I married her son and moved into their farmhouse. I was 16 and didn’t know how to run a vacuum cleaner, cut vegetables or cook. She loved me from the minute I came into that house. She accepted me even though I knew very little about being a wife and a housekeeper.

We had a family business and had just bought the farm next door. Every member of the family had to pitch in to make it work and make the farm successful.

I had a lot to overcome. From the beginning I was scared of the cows. But the next thing I knew, I was working in the barn. My first job — without pay of course — was cleaning up the barn and haying “the girls” to settle them in for the night. I learned to drive tractors and other farm equipment.

But most of my time was spent with Helene. We also went picking apples, raspberries, blueberries and peaches, which we canned up for pies, jams and jellies.  We raised a large vegetable garden and would put up 52 cans of each vegetable as they came into season so that every dinner table featured something different. We never needed much at the grocery store.

I  learned to raise chickens for both eggs and meat, providing us with fresh eggs. I also developed an egg route, where I dropped off eggs to customers every Friday.

But my connection with Helene was more than just food. We always took time to have some fun. We played cards, visited with friends and took Sunday afternoon drives. Helene also got me interested in town events and state and world news, which I am still interested in to this day.  Helene showed me the way.

Scene and heard

Happy birthday to my granddaughter-in-law Sarah Bolaski.

Spring is creeping into our daily life. But you never would know it by Sunday’s weather.

Members of the American Legion Post 67 are happy to be open once again.

This French-Canadian lady seems to start thinking that she’s Irish. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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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. Holly Hull says:

    You were blessed to have her as a mother-in-law. I thought so much of her. Many fun times. I still think of her everytime we pick blackberries as when they came in season we always called her and she made short cakes. Proud to call her my aunt as well!