George Farrar memories

Many will remember George Farrar of West Chester. Below are some of his memories he wrote years ago.

“When working on a Guard rail job on Route 11 in the late summer and early fall of 1939, it was an interesting experience. The company that did the job was from Carmel, Maine. Most of the crew came from Maine. The job started by the little bridge below Simonsville schoolhouse and went to Thompsonburg where South Londonderry and Londonderry roads separate. The boss of the job was a little red-faced fellow whose last name was Toothacher. His help was spread along the highway, digging post holes which had to be dug 44 inches deep, and anchor holes which sometimes took a long, long time. Then after the poles were set, they were painted black and white.


high school
George Farrar in the cow barn. Photo provided.

“Up where Harry Gordon now lives, (used to be Parmalee’s lower place), they had a place to dip the posts, 10 at a time in hot creosote. After the posts were all set, they were measured so many inches from the ground up, and a block or chunk of wood cut off each one. A truck with a power band did the cutting. They also had a power drill to make the holes for fastening on the cable. Tyler Paine came along one afternoon and with his helper, cleaned up all the blocks which were cut off the posts. He had a nice load of wood.

“There was a big Swedish fellow who came from Windsor on a motorcycle. One day the boss came along just in time to see him doing nothing but watching the traffic coming and going. The boss told him he wasn’t paying him to watch the traffic. My brother Francis, worked on the job until time to go back to High School. Oscar Bemis and Paul Richardson worked on the job awhile. The fellows from Maine were a nice crew to work with.

“When in High School, different classes would every now and then have charge of the program at General Assembly. The 7th and 8th graders went up to the High School. In the assemblies, grades 7 through 12 were all gathered in the main study hall.

“One of the teachers who was at CHS for a good number of years, was Miss Ruth Sawyer. She was English, French and Latin teacher. She could make you feel like two cents just by looking at you. Often times Miss Sawyer would say in class,  ‘A word to the wise is sufficient.’, and the student or students would know what she meant. No A’s or B’s were given if you didn’t earn them.

“Those times were great, Glee Club, Orchestra, Basketball, Football, Baseball, Prize Speaking were all extra activities and were usually after school. One couldn’t be on a team (especially underclassmen) unless they had good marks. They could practice, but to be on a team to play against other schools, you had to have good marks in your subjects. All the different activities over the four years, you went out for the four years, helped you if you lacked a credit to graduate. Had to have 16 credits to get your diploma, one-fourth credit each year for different things helped out. Then they used to have silver “C’s”, always a pleasure for the one receiving them. Prize speaking was another nice thing to enter into. Most always it was the girls who won out in those contests.

“In the Home Economics classes, one year the girls would have sewing and next cooking. Sometimes the girls would serve a dinner to the faculty. The girls used to make some beautiful clothes in Home Economics Class. The 7th and 8th graders had the same type of training.

“When I was a Freshman, I took the Agricultural Class my four years. In 1934, my Freshman year, the Future Farmers of America was started and Chester Chapter FFA was one of the best in Vermont.

“Lots of good times were had by our group. Trips were taken to other schools where there was a Chapter. Had lots of competition from Thetford Academy. The Agriculture teacher up in Thetford was Charles Park, a native of Grafton and a former Chester High School student, a very nice man. He was well known around here as the Master of the famous Grafton Cornet Band. During WW11, he became a Major in Military rank.”

I couldn’t help remember Mrs. Orcutt when George mentioned Miss Sawyer saying, “A word to the wise.” When I became unruly, Mrs. Orcutt would pull her glasses down her nose and say to me, “Ronald.” That’s all she ever had to say. Recently Ted Spaulding donated to historical society a group of documents and photos. Included was a journal kept by Miss Sawyer. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but will.

This week’s old saying is from Napoléon. “It’s impolite to interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”

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