|It’s a Long Way from Turkey and Greece to Webster|
Thursday, October 6, 2011
Michael Chito, owner of the Townline Restaurant in Webster at the Dudley line, tells the story: His father, Charles Chito, a native of Albania, found his way to Turkey at the end to World War II.
He made the acquaintance of another young fellow, Harry Jordanoglou, a native of Greece. Both sought a way to the United States, to sponsors in Oxford and Webster.
The young men eventually gained passage on the same U.S.-bound ship, happy with their good fortune, and unaware that Oxford and Webster were adjoining towns. They ended their voyage with a good fortune embrace, going their separate ways.
Charles Chito found temporary work picking apples at a farm on Sutton Avenue in Oxford. He was startled to find his high seas friend, Harry Jordanoglou, in an adjoining work line. They lived in neighboring towns, and earning their own way was the priority of the day.
There’s a disconnect of sorts to the story. Charles and Harry remained lifelong friends, but were on their own beyond their initial apple-picking days.
Mr. Jordanoglou became a restaurateur, first operating Harry’s Pizza and then Sandi’s, both in downtown Webster. When Mr. Jordanoglou decided to retire, Sandi’s was available, and another Chito, Charles’ son Michael, was the buyer.
So, Michael Chito now owns and operates the town line restaurant that his father’s post-World War II friend developed.
For my part, I didn’t have the fortune to meet people in the Chito family, though Michael’s restaurant business has come to my attention of late. Charles Chito, the tie to restaurateur Jordamoglou, is also retired now and lives in Burlington, Conn.
And Harry Jordanoglou and his wife, Tina, and family, once our neighbors, are among the great people that we’ve come to know.
Inquiries of sorts, most often about town cemeteries, wind up in the town DPW office. There was one recently about a private burial grounds near the end to Pond Court; off Thompson Road.
Recall on another matter subsequently brought me to the garage. The town appropriated seed money years ago to build a dog pound next to the garage, but plans were never developed. Town Highway Division Superintendent Kenneth Pizzetti had the answer: Ledge was discovered at the location. A $100,000 Fels Family Foundation grant for a new pound brought the earlier effort to mind.
Ms. Ruby, the clerk and / or secretary to the Public Works divisions, had a “by the way.” She has received inquiries about the graves on Pond Court, and is looking for information.
We remembered a conversation with the late William A. Starzec, when he was the state representative for a Webster-Dudley district. As a teenager, Bill’s father, Cemetery Commissioner Alexander A. Starzec, long deceased, hired him and some of his friends to exhume bodies from the far end of Pond Court, and move them to Mount Zion Cemetery.
It was a job none of them really wanted, but it paid money. Mr. Starzec recalled that the late William P. Davern was another cemetery worker, and especially remembered that one of the deceased was a Slater family woman who died in a fire. This is pretty heady stuff to go on, but confirmation doesn’t seem available.
The Webster Historical Commission put a report on town cemeteries and monuments together in the late 1970s. Linda L.B. Kleinerman, Mary D. Davidson, and Richard Dery researched the projects, confirming everything as far as possible.
They found that “the old Robinson burial grounds (off Birch Island Road, now mostly under the interstate) contained several graves. At some point, these graves, as well as several others, were moved to the town cemetery, Mount Zion.”
This raises a question: Were the “several others” moved from the far end of Pond Court?”
John “Trapper” Zalewski’s preteen attempts to throw a folded newspaper to a third-story porch during the 1938 hurricane came to mind during Hurricane Irene. The toss was part of his daily delivery routine.
Now comes Arthur “Archie” Henault, the retired Dudley-Charlton Regional School District’s business manager. “Arch” is remembered as an organizer and player with the Clippers, a World War II era baseball team. “Trapper” Zalewski was a player with the all high school-age team, headquartered at Cyr’s candy store on Lake Street in Webster.
“Trapper” was at bat in a game between the Clippers and the North Grosvenordale A.C. on their home field, says Mr. Henault. “He hit a fly ball to center field. I couldn’t believe my eyes when there was a splash in the river behind the field,” continued Archie. It was a home run, “an unbelievable accomplishment — more than 300 feet.” It was one of the all-time Clipper hits. “Trapper never let us forget it,” says Mr. Henault.
Issues developed as a result of the recent “Thunder On the Lake” Hydroplane regatta on North Pond at Webster Lake.
The din was penetrating, and the noise extended to areas around and at the approach to the lake. If “thunder” is a hydroplane virtue, the recent event was a resounding success.
I haven’t visited Memorial Beach since the Board of Selectmen endorsed the town administrator’s resident beach stickers levy (the original legislation allowed a parking charge for nonresidents), so issues about site matters are hearsay here.
Race sponsors or participants managed to park trailers within approach to the beach front, and a lot of them had dogs, at least two people noted. Signs on the beach read, “No dogs allowed,” added one of them.
I don’t know if the event was a financial success for the sponsors or a fee bonanza for the town, but it was really a noisy two days. Noise off the water wasn’t your average weekend romp.
Hydroplane racing probably has ratings and seems a sport with appeal, but it doesn’t belong on a lake like Webster’s, with layers of highly taxed property owners all around it.
Kenneth Racicot and Michael Pelletier have been friends for 63 years, since opening day at St. Louis Elementary School around 1948.
St. Louis didn’t have a kindergarten at the time, so they were first-graders. Both lived near the school on intersecting ways. This was the second discovery. They were neighbors, and their school and town bond flourished.
Life pursuits kept Kenny pretty much in Dudley and Webster, while Mike was elsewhere and eventually in Florida. They were summer neighbors in Webster, and Michael offered life accountings to the South, with comparisons North.
Kenny and his wife, Carolyn (Poblocki) Racicot, ran a day care for elderly persons before retiring. They’ve already relocated to Florida, in the same area where the Michael Pelletiers have wintered for some time.
“They’ll probably be there to greet us when we return,” Mike Pelletier said the other day.
While talking with Mr. Pelletier, a cable TV installer with an out-of-area truck was slowly driving about.
He paused, “Are you guys familiar with the area?” A positive response brought a call for directions to Long Island. “I hope you’ve got the (customer’s) telephone number,” said Mike. “It’s in the lake.”
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