Sue Bucceri Interview:
Katherine Chilcoat is interviewing Susan Chilcoat Bucceri on July 26, 2014 in Biddeford Pool, Maine. This is tape #210.
KC:Susan, give us your full name, your date of birth and where you were born.
SB:My full name is Susan Kay Chilcoat Bucceri. I was born on Dec. 24, 1961, in Sharon, Ct.
KC:Who were your parents?
SB:My father was William Henry Chilcoat; my mother is Katherine Payne Chilcoat. (See file 53/65 Katherine Chilcoat))
KC:You have brothers and sisters?
SB:I have one brother who is one year older than me, Richard Payne Chilcoat and my sister who is 6 years older is Dona Lee Chilcoat Alexander. (See file 47/59 Richard Chilcoat and tape #161 Dona C. Alexander)
KC:Alright Susan you were born in Sharon. You have lived your whole life in Lakeville /Salisbury. Tell us where you went to school.
SB:For elementary school I attended Salisbury Central; I was there from kindergarten through 8th grade. When I graduated from Salisbury Central, I went to Housatonic Valley Region High School for 4 years. When I graduated from there, I went to Hartwick College, which is a small liberal arts college in Oneonta, New York; I graduated from there in 1983 with a degree in Anthropology.
KC:A degree in Anthropology, what did you ever do with that degree?
SB:Really nothing, it was a very serious interest of mine, but when I graduated from school, I came back home and ultimately married Lou Bucceri. We just settled in town and raised our family in Salisbury. I never really had an opportunity to use that degree for anything.
KC:In your early married life you and your husband lived where?
SB:We actually met at Indian Mountain School in Lakeville, Ct. I was the receptionist; he was a first year teacher. He had come up from New York City to teach at Indian Mountain. We met there, and the following summer we were married. We stayed at Indian Mountain for a number of years, living on campus in the dormitories and other housing on campus.
KC:Now you said that you never did anything with your Anthology degree, but you did teach Anthropology didn’t you briefly?
SB:I did. I did a number of things at Indian Mountain. I started as a receptionist, and after Lou and I got married, the school asked me if I was interested in teaching. I started teaching some math classes to the students and then I asked if it would be possible for me to teach an elective class of Anthropology to
9th grade students. They agreed, so for a couple of years I did teach sort of a general introduction to Anthropology class to 9th grader which was fun to do. I will mention so we have it on record that one year when I did that class, our students put together a time capsule. I want to say in 1985. We put all kinds of things into the time capsule; things that the students wanted to have to be saved for the future. That time capsule was buried on campus. At the time we put together a packet of information about the time capsule which we asked the school to put in the safe so that at some date in the future they could dig up the time capsule. I know exactly where on campus it is buried. If anybody is interested I can let them know. I am just hoping that at some point in the future when Indian Mountain has a significant anniversary that I can remind them that it is buried there. Maybe we can dig it up and see what survived.
KC:That would be fun. I know that there is a time capsule that the students at Salisbury Central did that was inserted in the foundation I believe of the town hall when it was built in 1985. I am not sure anybody maybe other than myself remembers that that time capsule exists.
SB:Well, now it is on record so maybe both time capsules can be dug up at the same time.
KC:Tell us a little something about what it was like growing up in Salisbury in the time that you did- that would be the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.
SB:My memory of living in Salisbury #1 we lived in a house that was sort of right on the main drag coming into town (now 56 Sharon Road). I have a memory of spending a lot of my time sort of going around town, getting together with friends and having pick-up ball games down at the ball field behind where Patco is now. We spent a lot of time at the Grove. We used to ride bicycles down to the Grove and spend the whole day down there. I spent a lot of time with my friends in the brook that sort of runs next to where the Salisbury Bank & Trust is right now (Burton Brook) because I had friends in that neighborhood. It was a time of being able to gather with friends from school and just having fun outside. We would get together and bike ride and just kind of explore the town and have fun. There were a lot of kids my age who lived right in town so we were able to get together and just have fun and do whatever it was that we thought of to do, visiting each other’s houses and playing. Because my brother was only a year older, he used to do a lot of that too so there were a lot of times when he would let me join in. There was would be pick-up football games and riding bikes through town. He and I spent a lot of time together; we had a lot of mutual friends. It was just a great time to be able to be free and have fun with friends.
KC:Who were some of the other children your age in town?
SB:The ones right in town that I remember most significantly were the Szczieuls who lived in a house right in town (corner of Bostwick and Main St.) They were a very large family so I spent a lot of time there. Jimmy Hickey was a neighbor; I spent a lot of time with Jimmy; we would hang out and play and just have fun. A lot of my other friends in elementary school were Joanna Eddy; her father was a
teacher at Hotchkiss (See Arthur Eddy Tape #144A Ed.). She wasn’t right in town, but I spent a lot of time with her. Other friends were Kim Kosciusko who grew up in the Robin Hill Lane neighborhood, Shelly Rice who lived on Woodland Drive (See Oral History Denise Rice tape #133A Ed.), and Mary Beth Alto who lived in town for a while and then moved up onto Wells Hill Road. Sandy Gilpatrick was a friend of mine sort of in middle school and high school, and her mother lived in the building that was the House of Herbs (#91 Canaan Road, Salisbury). She was a very good friend of mine in high school. Beth Waitkus was another friend who was the step daughter of Peter Gott. She and I were good friends. My brother was friends with for example Jeff Lloyd, Peter Sisson, and Jamie Ghadossi. Jeff Lloyd I remember because he lived just up the road; we spent a lot of time hanging out with Jeff. Those were pretty much my core group of friends in elementary school.
KC:When you were in Junior high school and high school in the summer, did you just do nothing or did you have jobs?
SB:The first job I ever remember having was for a family that lived in Lime Rock by the name of Saladino. My sister had worked for them for a while as a babysitter to their young son. She graduated from high school in 1973 and went off to college. When she left town, they hired me to take her place. They were New Yorkers; I worked for them on the weekends as a nanny to their son. I did that for probably a year.
KC:What did Mr. Saladino do, do you remember?
SB:He was an interior designer; he became quite famous in circles in New York City as a designer. At the time I worked for him, he was sort of just beginning to be well known.
KC:Where did they live?
SB:They lived in Lime Rock. I can’t remember the name of the street, but I know exactly where the house was.
KC:They lived in an old mill, did they not?
SB:Yes, they did, and he had redecorated the whole thing so it was a wide open beautiful house. But it still looked like an old mill in some respects.
When I stopped working for them, my mom gave me the idea of putting an ad in the Lakeville Journal advertising myself for hire as sort of a helper. I put in the ad that I would do anything from gardening to housekeeping to pretty much any odd jobs that they would need me to do.
I was hired by George Leubuscher. She always called me her grandmother’s helper because she was an older lady. I started working for them in 1975 when I was in 6th grade. I used to go to their house on the weekends. I did everything from making jams and jellies to ironing to housekeeping, dog walking, gardening; I did all different kinds of things for her and her husband Leubuscher. They were an
elderly couple who were very well known in town. I remember knowing at the time that he owned several buildings in town including the apartment building that sits on the corner where Belgo Road comes down to the main road. (125 Millerton Road) They used to bring me up there to do some cleaning in that building. They had a beautiful house with several other houses on the property right on Lakeville Lake. I worked for them for a few years just doing all kinds of odd jobs. I would polish silver. I would help her harvest grapes from their grape vines so we could make grape jelly. She was a fascinating woman who was very involved in Audubon, a real nature lover. I learned a lot of things from her. She was a wonderful lady and we kind of kept in touch through the years. It was a wonderful experience working for her.
At that point once I got to high school I was very good friends with Sandy Gilpatrick; she worked at the Salisbury Pharmacy Ice Cream Parlor for Anna Whitbeck. She got me a job working for Anna, and I worked for Anna all through high school during the summers and sometimes even when I was on vacation during the school year. We used to work all summer long. Again it was a great experience to know Bam and Audrey quite well and Anna of course and Nancy Rutledge who was sort of the manager of the pharmacy itself. I worked with her and I worked with Sandy through that time also. I was glad to have had the opportunity to know the Whitbecks. Sam Whitbeck worked at the store at that time. I got to know a lot of the regular customers who came in. I remember George Vincent was a regular customer; he was very good friends with Anna. Eileen Mulligan who worked at Noble Horizons (See tape #147A) was a regular customer. I still see many of those people in town today.
KC:When you were in college, you came home in the summertime, were you working for Anna then?
SB:I started in my junior year in high school because I remember being 15 or 16. My memory is that when I came home in the summers, I did work for Anna at the ice cream parlor. I remember vividly when I graduated from the high school and going off to college, Anna being very proud of me graduating and excited that I was going to school. I do remember that one summer between my junior and senior years in college I stayed in Oneonta and worked for the college for the summer. I remember one summer I went to South Dakota for a while and worked on an archeological dig out there, but I think I must have worked for the pharmacy other summers in my early college years.
KC:Now after you graduated from college and came back to Lakeville, got married, you had children. Tell us who your children are.
SB:My older daughter Katherine Bucceri was born in 1985. At that time Lou and I were living at Indian Mountain School (See file #61/73 Louis Bucceri). Our younger daughter Elizabeth Bucceri was born in 1989, and we were also living at Indian Mountain School when she was born.
KC:So they were both born in Sharon Hospital?
SB:Yes, they were both born in Sharon Hospital.
KC:They went through Salisbury Central?5.
KC:Where their grandmother was in the office?
SB:Yes, they both attended Little Scholar School (See Jeanne Wardell tape #132A) in Lakeville, Ct for pre- school and then they both went to Salisbury Central right through 8th grade. Actually during the time my girls were at Salisbury Central their grandmother retired (1992) and their mother started working in the office. I was working at Salisbury Central when they both graduated from Salisbury Central.
KC:You have worked at Salisbury Central School for at this point how many years?
SB:I am starting my 22 year.
KC:So you have seen a lot of people come & go.
SB:Yeah, I often think that I spent 9 years in school there and 21 years working there so I have spent 30 years of my 52 years at Salisbury Central School.
KC:Who are some of the people you particularly remember either from being a student or now that you have worked there? Who are some of the most memorable of your teachers? Let’s start there.
SB:Of course I had an absolutely fabulous fourth grade year with Miss Porter who is now Jean McMillen. I do remember her very vividly; she and I had a very nice relationship. She was a stern but great teacher. Jeanine Coleman was my fifth grade teacher. When I started working at Salisbury Central in 1993, she was still a teacher at Salisbury Central. I remember having such a hard time calling her Jeanine as a colleague as opposed to Mrs. Coleman as a teacher. I do remember her very well. I remember my middle school teachers the best. I had a wonderful math teacher Mr. Rutka. Fred Romeo was my science teacher. He still lives in Salisbury with his wife Marion. Miss Everett, Mr. Boucher, Mr. Thurgeson, and Doris Alexander were my middle school teachers. Mrs. Alexander lived in town with her family for a very long time and my older sister Dona is now married to her son Rick (See Richard Alexander tape #162A) Alexander and they now live in Florida. They are the teachers I remember.
Mr. Gerry Nolan was a principal I remember very fondly. He was very supportive of girls playing sports so he was a real enthusiast when it came to the school sports teams. I remember that about him. I had the pleasure of working for him when he was an interim principal at Salisbury Central a number of years ago. He is the principal who stands out in my mind.
KC:When you were growing up, your father in particular was very involved with the Methodist Church. You were more or less raised in the Methodist Church. What are some of your memories of the Pollock family? (See Nancy Pollock Williams File #58/71)
SB:I was most closely connected with Heidi Pollock who was my brother’s age. I remember her most of all of the Pollock children. I do remember doing a lot of fun family activities with the church. I remember Sunday school although I do not remember who my teachers were in Sunday school. I do remember that I went through Sunday school in particular with Jonathan Costa who was from Sharon. We were always in Sunday school together. I remember being a part of the junior choir. Mrs. Pollock would work with us, with the junior choir; we had our own robes and we would sing songs in church every Sunday. I remember doing chicken barbeques at Camp Sloane; I remember doing a lot of pot luck dinners, that kind of thing. The church was very active and filled with people back then. Susan Romeo, Fred Romeo’s daughter I also remember as being part of Sunday school and the choir. There were a lot of kids my age who were in the church and active at that time and of course Gerry Pollock who was wonderful. My father just loved the church and made it a fun time for us when we would go to church on Sunday. I remember he was -this is a side note. When church was over because he was an usher, he always stayed behind and cleaned up the pews and just kind of straightened up the church. He would always give us change out of his pocket so we could go down to the Apothecary Shop down the street where Mrs. G. was (Mrs. Gentile Ed.) He would let us buy a candy bar or some kind of a treat that we could have while we waited for him to clean up the church and go home. That was always a fond memory-my brother and I going down to the Apothecary Shop and getting to buy a treat.
KC:What have we not touched on? Are you involved in anything other than your work and your family at the moment that gives you…?
SB:I will say because I grew up in the town of Salisbury and my children have grown up in the town of Salisbury, I sometimes kind of look at our experiences and see that there are things that we both have experienced. When I was a kid growing up, one of the things that we always did was to have swimming lessons down at the Grove. Art Wilkinson was in charge of the Recreation Program in town; my brother and I would go down and we’d do swimming lessons. When we got a little older we got involved in the swim team; there were a lot of people, friends of ours from school who were on the swim team. I remember Shelley Rice and Jackie Rice. I remember Steve Lloyd and Jeff Lloyd. Jay DeMarken was on it. There were a lot of kids from town. It was a very popular thing to do in the summertime. When my girls got old enough, they did the same thing. They started taking swimming lessons and ultimately joined the swim team. At that point Art Wilkinson was still running the Recreation Program in town. Both the girls experienced the swim team so that was something that I became involved in as a parent and as an adult as my girls were growing up. Their experience living in town, we didn’t live right in town; we live in the Amesville section of Salisbury so my girls didn’t have the chance to bike ride around town and that kind of thing but they certainly spent a lot of time at the town Grove.
Going through Salisbury Central my girls had some of the same teachers that were there when I was a student. I didn’t necessarily have them but similar teachers. That was kind of fun to be working in the office as my mother did when I was a child. When my girls were going through school, I was working in the office. So that was a similar experience. I think it has been wonderful; I am so glad that I raised my girls in town. They have made very good friends and they still have friends that they grew up with in
Salisbury. My older daughter Katherine has a son Michael Parris who is 4 years old. She is very happy to be raising him in the town of Salisbury. She has signed him up to play recreation soccer. He is the third generation of Salisbury recreation participants from the family which is great. I am very happy that they are in Salisbury.
When I moved back to town, I started working at Indian Mountain School. Lou and I were there for 9 years, associated with Indian Mountain. When I went back to work after the girls were born, I started working at Salisbury School. Dick Flood was the Headmaster then. I worked in the Alumni Development Office with Woody Rudder. I worked there for a number of years. I left that job to begin working at Salisbury Central. I think it is interesting that I have worked at three different schools within the town of Salisbury, all very different places. I had wonderful experiences at all three. I tell people at this point I consider myself a lifer and I will probably work at Salisbury Central until I retire which is fine with me. It is a wonderful place to work. I can’t really think of anything else that stands out, any particular memories from childhood.
KC:Just a little side note seeing as this is an oral history, when you were at the high school you took a class that involved doing oral history. Can you tell us a little something about that class?
SB:Yes, I can’t remember what year I took it, maybe freshman or sophomore year. It was a course I believe it was a folk lore class taught by Mr. DeVoti. One of our assignments was to find someone that we could interview who could tell us stories of their past, significant stories from their childhood. I was drawn to a Salisbury resident by the name of Betty Haas (see tape #21A, 22A&B Betty Haas). I remember at the time she was living in her house which is now the Pastorale Restaurant (223 Main Street, Lakeville) which sits in front of the Iron Master’s Inn. She invited me to her house and we sat there for quite a while. I interviewed her; she told me a lot of stories about what it was like growing up in Salisbury when she was a child, the different adventures and things that happened while she was growing up. I don’t really remember any specific stories, but I do remember being very nervous about interviewing her, but once I got there she made me feel so, she was such a wonderful lady. She really did make an impression on me. She was a wonderful story teller. I remember just sitting there and enjoying listening to her tell stories about what Salisbury was like when she was a child in comparison to what it was like, when I was a child. It was a wonderful experience.
KC:Well, Susan can you think of anything that we haven’t touched on that you would like to speak about?
SB:Nothing in particular.
KC:I would like as the interviewer to put a foot note on this tape. This is the 6th tape in the Oral History collection dealing with my family, my family being Katherine Payne Chilcoat. There is a tape that I did, and each of my three children Dona, Richard and Susan have done a tape. Dona’s husband Rick Alexander did a tape. Susan’s husband Lou Bucceri has done a tape. So there is an entire family on record in the Oral History Archives.