Thankful for Colchester


Inge Schaefer
Colchester Chronicler
Colchester Fun-atics Pickleball players 2014. PHOTO COLLAGE | MARILYN TOFANI

Colchester Fun-atics Pickleball players 2014.

Just a wild guess, but I bet you missed the Colchester Historical Society meeting when Jerry Fox talked about Suzie (or is it Susie?) “Wilson and the Myth” surrounding her. What’s the myth you ask? One might say that she became known for her relationships with men, or more to the point, that she may have run a house of ill repute. Most of us love a naughty story, so I’m sorry to disappoint . . . but our Susie (or is it Suzie?) simply married a lot. She had four husbands that kept dying on her. She would live in a variety of locations on or near the road named after her and in 1966 would herself die at 92 years of age. Fox has diligently researched Suzie (or is it Susie – probably either was acceptable since her name was Susanna Cassell (or was it Castle?) and provided many interesting tidbits as to her life, family (originally from Northern Ireland) and what might have been her lifestyle (at one point, she cooked for families and later in the Officers quarters at Fort Ethan Allen). So, the myth ends . . . Suzie Wilson Road was simply named after an Irish lass who lived on a road that would later bear her name – not to unlike some other roads in town – Porters Point, Farnsworth, Severance or Macrae Roads. I suspect these roads were named after men and I betcha they had no “myths” to contend with . . . or might there be a myth or two floating around on these fellas, as well. If you know anything, send me an email –

Mark your calendars for the next Historical Society meeting on Dec. 15, Monday, at the Red Brick Church (United Church of Colchester) when the Colchester High School Chamber Choir will present a holiday performance. It begins at 7 p.m., and refreshments will be served. Free, open to the public, and all are welcome. Carol Reichard is the event coordinator, 878-0014.

With all the media coverage of the Colchester Police officer accused of removing items from the CPD evidence room, little was noted about two other Colchester Police officers who saved lives one night and should legitimately be called “heroes.” On Nov. 11, two adults and two children were saved from their burning home on West Lakeshore Drive by Officer Jack Lehneman and Sgt. Jim Roy. They found the home burning, went in to help the two adults out and then went back in to rescue two 6-year-old children. Officer Keith Schaffer (one letter off but still a good name) also assisted; so three officers are to be thanked for their quick and heroic actions. Assisting with the fire were our fire departments – Malletts Bay, the Center and St. Michael’s – along with Winooski’s firefighters. The fire, nevertheless, caused extensive damage, but the residents were rescued and are alive and well due to the heroic actions of three of our police officers. A job well done – congratulations to all.

The high school auditorium was packed Saturday night (Nov. 15), so maybe you were among the lucky ones to enjoy the Colchester Theatre Company’s presentation of “Grease.” It never ceases to amaze me how talented our young people are and this show was no exception. It was a huge cast with more than 70 students participating in some way (with some parents and teachers thrown in as well). At just $7 a ticket and maybe a 5- to10-minute drive from home with plenty of parking, these student productions are the best buy in the area for great entertainment. “Grease” is about the 1950s, which is near and dear to my heart anyway, but this group of young people certainly did it justice. Kudos to John Coon, Director, Carol Reichard, Musical Director, Stage managers Lauren Brooks and Seth Marak and Steven Sonntag, Choreographer, the cast, the crew and the musicians.

Speaking of Carol (whose middle name is – don’t ask me where I find the time) Reichard, the Colchester Community Chorus that she started and continues to conduct, will have its Holiday Concert on Dec. 5, at 7:30 p.m., in the high school auditorium. It is called “The World at the Manger” featuring music and carols from around the world, such as “Carol of the Polish Grenadiers,” “A La Nanita,” a Spanish carol, a spiritual called “Somebody Build a Manger,” a Greek folk song called “Shepherds on this Hill,” an English carol, “I saw Three Ships,” and some secular favorites such as “Feliz Navidad,” and “Santa Baby.” Santa often drops by and you can count on other surprises. If you have never been, one surprise you’re sure to experience is the pure joy of watching your neighbors and friends sing their hearts out for your pleasure. For almost 30 years, it’s been the best way to start the holiday season. See you there.

How many of you have heard of “pickleball?” Every tennis court in town is lined out for pickleball, which gives you a clue as to its nature and its growing popularity. It’s a cross between tennis and ping-pong; it uses a paddle (smaller than a tennis racket, larger than a ping-pong paddle), with a plastic ball with lots of holes. The rules can be strange – like no going in the “kitchen” to hit a volley; it helps keep the mind active as you try to keep score, and there are always new folks to meet. The good news is you run less, hit the ball hard (helping to rid yourself of those daily frustrations), and make up just as many excuses for missing the ball as you do in golf. Summers you’ll find pickleball players on all the town’s tennis courts, but in the winter, they gather at the Miller Center at the end of Goss Court off North Avenue. On Dec. 4 and 11, there will be pickleball clinics for new players starting at 1 p.m. If you come a little early, you can watch some games being played, which will further convince you, that yes, you, too, can play pickleball. The Colchester group is called the Pickleball Fun-atics, sometimes seen wearing a team shirt, some are from Colchester, some are not, but all participate because they are having fun. Try it, you’ll like it – would I lie? Don’t answer that!

Libby and the Davidson family will have their 14th Annual Holiday Open House at 226 Bissette Drive, on Dec. 7, from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. It features great art, cards, advent calendars, kids’ items, hot mulled cider, homemade food, Libby’s watercolor paintings and much more. Call 658-1923, or check Libby’s website:

Josie (Josephine) Ariemma has passed away. According to Marie Pepin, also a member of Holy Cross Church, “Josie was a kind soul who served the sick and those in need whenever and how ever she could. She was patient and good.” And so we remember Josie, her smile and her goodness. Another long-time resident and business owner Bob Molinatti (Small Engine Repair at Fort Ethan Allen) also recently passed away. Bob could be heard often on local talk radio shows sharing his opinion on town or state politics and other issues. He never beat around the bush, was always forthright and honest. We are blessed to have had Josie and Bob live in Colchester, and those others that you may know, as they have all enriched our lives, so will be missed.

So much to be thankful for – our community and its residents, for sure – so Happy Thanksgiving, all. God bless.