Celebrating 50 years of parade watching

12 Jul
183 east main street

An undated photo of 183 E. Main St. from the Webster Museum website

If you ask 100 long-time Webster residents about their memories of the Firemen’s Carnival, you’d get 100 different stories. People talk about spending hours at the carnival as a teenager, or being there as a young child, then returning years later with their own children.

I’ve heard a lot of stories this week. I’d like to pass along one of them today.

It’s about Jeannette Chambers, who currently lives with her daughter Paige at 183 East Main Street in the Village of Webster, at the corner of Curtis Park. You probably know the house; it’s one of the most stately and beautiful homes on East Main, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places It was built in the mid-1900’s by William C. Jayne, a prominent banker at the time. Inside it features five bedrooms, a maid’s quarters, stained glass windows, a huge living room, sitting room, library, attic, and seven porches.  (Click here to read more about the home’s history on the Webster Museum website.)

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Jeannette Chambers (right) and her sister Joyce on the porch of their childhood home.

Jeannette has been living in the house since 1969, the year her parents Granville and Silvia Chambers purchased the property. Its location right on Main Street made it the perfect viewing spot for the annual Carnival parade.

 

Each year for the last 50 years, she and her siblings did just that. The house has a spacious porch, but that was too far away from the action — even though, Jeannette said, “every year my mom would have me sweep and mop the porch, but we always sat out there.”  They would perch in the grassy area in front of their childhood home, watching the fire trucks, Scout troops, clowns and wagons stream by.

Thursday was the last time she’ll be able to do that.

Jeannette has had to sell the grand old house, where she grew up and raised her children. But that didn’t stop her from having one more parade-side celebration on Thursday. She invited several friends to mark the 50th-and-last viewing year with snacks, drinks, fresh-grilled hamburgers and hot dogs, and socializing.

As an adult, Jeannette clearly loves the event as much as she did as a child.

“I love that the town still gets so excited about it,” she said. “They’re out there two days ahead putting out chairs.”

She also clearly enjoyed hosting friends old and new for her small party. It was not something she’d ever done before, but explained, “after 50 years of watching the parade we had to celebrate it differently.”

When the parade comes back to town next year, chances are — for the first time in 50 years — Jeannette Chambers won’t be watching it from the lawn of her stately old home. But keep an eye out for her, because she’ll definitely be sitting somewhere.

Old habits die hard.

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Jeannette and Joyce with friends and family who came to celebrate 50 years of parade-watching on Thursday night

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2 Responses to “Celebrating 50 years of parade watching”

  1. Pat Sweetland July 12, 2019 at 8:34 pm #

    What a neat story! I did not attend the parade this year as it was the same day as my 55th high school class reunion. I wasn’t sure I could stand all that excitement in one day! But, I usually do so I can watch my “peeps” march. My dad was a volunteer fireman in Henrietta for years and I love to watch the firemen because it brings back memories of my dad when he would march in the parades.

  2. Mary Moore July 13, 2019 at 1:27 pm #

    Thank you ladies so much for sharing this wonderful article. What a great childhood you had. What a great life your parents had. Memories made by all. ❤️💕🌺

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