Archive for July, 2014

Chester Calendar… a year full of memories

This year's calendar is dedicated to Dominic Piergiovanni, a "Gem of our Valley."

This year’s calendar is dedicated to Dominic Piergiovanni, a “Gem of our Valley.”

How would you like to be reminded of your Chester days at least once a month for a year! The cover photo offers a view of the Chester Granite and Polishing Works which once entirely covered what is now the ball lot. Sprinkled throughout the calendar are photos of both familiar and unfamiliar (because they have changed so much) places around Chester, anniversary classes of Chester High (1945, 1965 and 1990) and a number of photos of Veterans and community pillars. There are also news clippings reproduced that will amuse and amaze.

History and trivia buffs will perhaps especially enjoy the calendar itself because it includes a number important dates things happened in Chester. I’d been wondering exactly when the “new” Fire Station was built and my calendar informs me it was 1956.

One of the news clips posted for December includes some information about the Chester Bowling Alleys. “…bowling cost 55 cents a string, pinsetters were paid 18 cents a string. Rachel Meyer remembers going out on dates to the bowling alley…” Well, I remember setting pins for the women’s league! No, we did not receive hazardous duty pay but we did frequently have to jump out of the pit!

The calendar can be purchased for $12 at the Chester Village Market and Chester Electric Light Office or by contacting a Historical Society Member if you’re in the area.  Those wishing to purchase by mail, please add $2 for postage and send a check for $14 to the Chester Historical Society, 15 Middlefield Road, Chester, MA 01011.




“Dear Old Chester High…”

by Walter Boomsma ’65,

During this year’s reunion I issued a challenge… “We need more information regarding our school song! We always perform it admirably and with gusto, but who wrote the words? Where did the music come from?”

Well, thanks to Paul Petersante, Janice Brown, Fay Piergiovanni, Phyllis Salvini, and the Chester Historical Society we think we’ve figured out:

The tune is“Far Above Cayuga’s Waters” is Cornell University‘s alma mater. The lyrics were composed circa 1870 by roommates Archibald Croswell Weeks, 1872, and Wilmot Moses Smith, 1874, and set to the tune of “Annie Lisle“, a popular 1857 ballad by H. S. Thompson about a heroine dying of tuberculosis. (This information from the Wikipedia Listing.)

As for the words… we believe they were written by Claudia J. Sword Nesbitt, Class of 1932–who may have moved from Chester before actually graduating.

Dear old Chester High, we love you,

To you we’ll be true,

There’s no other school above you,

Neath the skies of blue.

And when school days have departed,

Memories shall cling,

Though they leave us quite downhearted

At  the thoughts they bring.

Thoughts of friendship, thoughts of teachers,

Memories of old times,

Gathered round our Alma Mater

With our thoughts sublime.

Chester High, we’ll always cherish,

Though we wander far,

Memories that never perish

Thou art our star.

Reunion 2014

Click on photo to enlarge…

Chester – As approximately 100 Chester High Alumni and friends gathered in town, there developed a picture of history, nostalgia, and community/school spirit. The annual reunion and meeting always draws a large number of people associated with the former Chester High School, including Chester Residents who attended or graduated from Gateway after Chester High School closed in the late 1960’s. This year’s meeting was held on June 28 at the restored Chester Train Station.

Special recognition was given to Aldo Bizzazarro from the class of 1938 who was present for his 76th reunion. Bizzazaro was given the distinct honor of leading the buffet line through the delicious spread prepared by Chester Foundation workers.

Association President Walter Boomsma noted that these reunions are “drifting in the direction of becoming as much a town event as a school reunion.” Noting that the Chester Foundation handled most of the meeting arrangements and food, he also pointed out that the Historical Society supports the occasion by offering special hours for alumni to visit prior to the reunion. “We had lots of help setting up and people who volunteered to stay and help clean up,” he said. “I think this is proof that small town America is alive and well, at least here in Chester.”

Election of officers was also held. Elected as President for his ninth year was Walter Boomsma. Also returned to office were Vice President Robert Goewey, Secretary Annette Fimbel LaMoutain, and Treasurer George Morey, Jr. Morey is the only treasurer the organization has ever had with a record of service spanning 62 years. When introduced and acknowledged for his service, he replied, “I’ll keep doing this as long as I can.”

Edith Cooper Whitaker and Judy Davenport Olson were reelected to the Board of Directors. Mary Woodis Gleason was elected as a Scholarship Custodian.

Members agreed unanimously to maintain the Chester location and time of the annual event because “it’s good to be home” and “there is some economic benefit to local organizations and businesses.” Just one example this year was the generous donation by Frank and Phyllis Salvini of a pair of Chester Theatre tickets which were auctioned off to benefit the Alumni Association and introduce the lucky winners to the Theatre.

Scholarship awards were presented to Elisha Jameson, Justin Edinger, Athena Furioni, Curtis and Calvin Dowers, and Elizabeth Bean—all 2014 graduates from Gateway Regional High School.

The Association has already started planning for the next annual meeting, scheduled for June 27, 2015. Those associated with or in some way connected with Chester and/or Chester High School are encouraged to be certain the Association has current mailing information by contacting Annette LaMountain, Association Secretary, PO Box 206, Chester MA 01011. The Association also maintains an informational web site at and a Facebook page.

Categories: Classmates, Reminiscing