Chester Chatter: Uncle Kenny was a kid’s best friend

By Ruthie Douglas
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

I adored my Uncle Kenny. When I was growing up, he and my Aunt Dottie lived right next door to us.

They ran a small mom & pop grocery store as well a butcher shop that attracted customers from miles around.

The store was in the basement of the two-story apartment house on Union Street in Springfield. The building still stands. When I was old enough, during the summers I worked at the store dusting and taking out the trash. I was happily paid in popsicles.

Kids would come and hang outside at Uncle Kenny’s, especially on Mondays, when the store was closed, because Uncle Kenny would engage them in his workshop building kites, birdhouses and other objects. We flew those kites all over the neighborhood and tangled them in powerlines and trees.

In his nearby vacant lot, he also laid out a badminton court and a complex croquet court with sandpits and tunnels. Some of us kids developed special croquet shots to navigate his hazards!

Uncle Kenny drove a wood-sided beach wagon, and many times he would pile five or six of us into it and drive us to his lakeside camp for a day of swimming and boating.

I am sitting here today, recalling those days and wishing that every child had an Uncle Kenny.

Scene and heard

Happy birthday to my neighbor Bob Record.

And happy birthday wishes go out to Frank Kelley, teacher at Chester-Andover Elementary School, and Linnea Palmer, my LNA extraordinaire!

Ellen and Kim Farrar have enjoyed spending some of this week in Rhode Island.

The first Crockpot was put up for sale 50 years ago this week.

Classmates Donna Douglas and Sarah Fitz enjoyed lunch together at Jake’s Restaurant in Londonderry on Sunday.


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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. Linnea Palmer says:

    Ruthie you’re so sweet my Birthday was wonderful!

  2. Elisejunker says:

    Thank you Ruthie for your memories and sharing them with us! Elise