Chester Chatter: Remembering Irene on its 10th anniversary

By Ruthie Douglas
©2021 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Rain, rain and more rain. In two days the rains had turned the yard around my house into a swamp. Water ran down the street, turning it into a river. It was late August 2011 and Hurricane Irene had turned into a tropical storm that blanketed the state.

I watched what was happening outside through my window and I was  worried that we would lose power. So I called my daughter Jeanie, who lives in Springfield, to ask if I could come over. I threw a few clothes into a bag and headed to Jeanie’s, where it wasn’t raining. Still, it was very hot and very sticky.

We fixed some cold drinks and sat on the deck and listened to the brook that ran by her house. It was calming. At first. Soon it turned into a torrent and the skies got dark as midnight. Before we went to bed, we played a few games of cards. My bed for the night was the couch in the living room and my companion was Willie the dog.

In the morning, after a good breakfast, we rode around to see if there was any damage from the rains. The dam in North Springfield certainly served the town very well, although we spotted damage in Gassetts and Cavendish.

When I returned home that afternoon, I found that the nearby ballfield had become a lake.  Swept away were all the chainlink fences. The contents of the dugouts were washed away and new trees just planted that spring were gone. To my great sadness my very dear friend Warren Garoni was gone. I had placed some of his ashes below the flag pole, but obviously not deep enough.

The most beautiful thing in small town living is when neighbors get out to help one another. On Breezy Lane folks got out with their push broom and shovels. All around town, folks who had heavy equipment came out. And it happened not just on Breezy Lane and not just in Chester, but throughout our special state of Vermont.





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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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