English At Heart - a Memory of Chester.

I am an American who went to school in Chester in 1966/67. Rather, should I say, I was registered for school at Chester College. However, I can't say I was actually in the building very often. There just always seemed to be somewhere else to go, and something more interesting to see instead.

I arrived in Chester just as the hippies were raising their flowered heads back here in the beach areas of southern California where I came from, which had interested my new friends in Chester. I remember my new English friend Tristin wearing very, very long hair (for 1966) a burlap caftan and sandles, riding a donkey from the college across the Dee bridge to the Cathedral, while the rest of us followed chanting and waving branches that were supposed to resemble palm fronds of some sort. As I recall, we were the first hippies in Chester, but then I also seem to recall that the very next day we went right back to being Mods. The donkey had been extremely disagreeable, and the caftans were quite breezy for November, as well as scratchy.

I remember throwing bits of cotton candy to the swans on the river Dee because we didn't have bread with us, but the cotton candy immediately disolved upon hitting the water, and we had to run for our lives when the pissed off swans came up out of the water and chased us around the bandstand. I would now like to sincerely apologize to the very slow little old couple with the walking canes who tried to hide behind a tree.

I remember playing my Motown soul albums in the college common room, on one of the rare occasions when I was INSIDE the building. My new English friends wanted me to teach them how to dance the 'Soul Strut'. It was just a minor point that I had never been to a dance in my life, but had I not watched American Bandstand every week? It did not seem necessary to explain such a small detail to any of them. I may not have been a good student in that building, but I must have been a dazzling teacher.

I remember making the first skateboard anyone at the college had ever seen, made from an old board and the old clamp-on type of roller skates, like we made skateboards back in California. I noisely rode the skateboard up and down the sidewalk next to the college, making a terrible racket, and doing my best surfer moves. I looked up and saw faces watching me from every window, including some decidedly angry teachers, although I did not recognize any teachers; I was never in class enough to recognize faces of staff, you know.

I have so many more good memories of the two years I lived in Chester. I often think of the people I met there, and wonder how their lives turned out. I also wonder how much the town has changed over the years. It was the best time of my life.

A memory shared by Linda Snyder on Dec 13th, 2006. Send Linda Snyder a message.

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