Representing Chester Georgia Through Storytelling

by Jennifer Greene-Sullivan

Chester Georgia 411

Going to school in Chester while I grew up in Roddy, Georgia, was such a happy and nostalgic time. My own family lived four miles from the town of Chester, and I now just like my parents have reared my children in this rural town. My daddy, my uncles, and my grandfather graduated from Chester Elementary School, just as I did.

Chester Elementary School established 1929

In 1990, Dodge County School District was consolidated, and I went to school in Eastman. With the closing of our proud school, Chester seemed to dry up.

The old ones passed away with their descendants moving from here to there, including myself. I spent twenty years living in Lowndes, Clinch, Wilcox, and Bleckley counties. However, in 2010, I moved a house out to our family property in order to be closer to my daddy, and my girls and I lived in Chester once again.

Now, my husband and my five children live in my parents’ home on rural route Chester, Georgia, nestled between Yonker and Chester. Our quiet, rural lifestyle soothes my soul and has brought such a sweetness to my own creativity. I find myself creating characters that bring life to such a slow, small community.

Thus, I felt it fitting to place Esmerelda my main character in the Esmerelda children’s book series as a resident of Chester. In this children’s book, Chester becomes current and intriguing while the citizens of North Dodge County attempt to survive an attack from a fatal foe–the Pocket Fuzz Monster!

I lovingly sent my illustrator real photographs of my little, dying town. I sent him images of the post office, the school, the now closed singular restaurant.

Esmerelda’s Chester Elementary School looks welcoming and life affirming. She and her puppy Rudy decide to protect her friends and her school. I hope to give my hometown a new life, albeit, a cartoonish one. I long to hear and to share more nostalgic memories with former students, former residents, and current residents of Chester, Georgia.

We might be a town of only 81 families, but we have HEART, and we have HOPE. Most importantly, we now have a HERO–her name is Esmerelda, and her ally is a five-pound chiweenie with a shrill, yippy bark, named Rudy.