Making History Since Nineteen-Nordy Four

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For anyone interested there is still time to RSVP to the fundraiser in memory of Katie Hewson who passed away earlier this year at the age of 27.

It is being held this Friday (November 2nd) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 10 Lincoln Street, Worcester at 8 PM. Admission is $25 in advance or $30 at the door. There will be hors d’ouevres, a cash bar, dancing and a silent auction.

Those that can can’t go can still send a check made out to the “Katie Hewson Memorial Fund” which can be sent to: Rebecca Almont, 126 Brook Street, Brighton, MA 02135 OR to Stacey Szeidler, 66 Mast Road #2, Lee, NH 03861.

If anyone has any questions about the scholarship, please contact Jaime Hewson Wood at If there any questions about or if you’d like to donate something to the silent auction, please contact Laurie Gillis at

Here is a link to the evite (please feel free to pass this on to anyone who you think might be interested – even if they didn’t know Katie, this is a great cause and a way to remember and honor someone who truly loved life.)

If you have time, please read the article about Katie below that was published in last week’s (October 18) edition of The Landmark.

Celebrating Katie’s life of love, laughter

STERLING – Fifteen years ago, Katie Hewson’s grandmother Kay Drechsel passed away. For many years, Kay had kept a journal detailing her family’s daily activities, and the day after her death Katie opened the book with strawberries and daisies on the cover, writing the following under her grandmother’s last entry: “August 13, 1992. Graney passed away. I’m now the record book keeper & writer.”

Thirteen-year-old Katie describes her best memories of her grandmother, and how she loved to make her Graney laugh. “I’ll always miss her, but she’ll always be in my heart. I would just like to say I love you, Graney, and I will always be proud to have you as my grandmother.”

Flash forward. A spiral-bound booklet is delivered to Katie’s mother, Dee Hewson. The artwork on the cover depicts an empty hammock strung between two palm trees with an ocean view. The simple lined pages inside also are decorated with palm trees at the corners, and the lines are filled with remembrances. This time, the heartfelt thoughts are not penned by Katie, but instead are about her. This passage is typical:

“Your glorious wholesome child will be hugely missed. Her contribution to all that is decent and loving to St. John and mankind is a testimony to how you raised her, and to the universal spirit that spawned us all.”

On February 7, 2007, Katie Hewson, 27, a Sterling kid, Wachusett grad and the connective tissue to an enviable network of friends and family, was killed on St. John in the Virgin Islands in a freak accident. Her “universal spirit” will be recalled and honored at a November 2 cocktail event/silent auction to raise money for scholarships that will go to Wachusett Regional High School students interested in foreign travel and study.

Katie loved life, says her older sister Jamie. She had a big heart, with a special fondness for children and the elderly. When Katie attended the University of Central Florida, she volunteered in the Meals on Wheels program, growing so close to her clients she made certain to have her photo taken with each of them before she returned home to finish her studies at Northeastern University. (She referred to them as her “Bun Buns,” a term of affection she also used for the children she babysat.)

“She was gregarious; she made people laugh,” Jamie says. “Katie had a great sense of humor, and she wasn’t afraid to make a goof of herself. When she walked into a room, she made her presence known, and people were excited to see her.”

Katie was intrigued by the world beyond her hometown. She studied international business, meeting students from Europe and Haiti. She traveled to South Africa to work in orphanages with AIDS babies, and when she graduated she landed a job in Boston for a company that supplied technical support outsourcing in Northern Ireland for U.S. firms. Trips to Wales, Scotland, England and Ireland gave her a deeper world view.

Katie enjoyed the job, but it kept her desk-bound and she grew restless. In January 2006, after a year and a half, she quit and went to live on St. John in the Virgin Islands, where she tended bar and quickly became a fixture in her Coral Bay neighborhood.

“She was trying to figure out what she was going to do,” says her mother.

Katie stayed on the island until June 2006, but bad news brought her home. Her father, Charlie, was dying of Non-Hodgkins lymphoma, and was spending his final days at the family summer house in Jefferson, Maine on the shores of Damariscotta Lake. Charlie, who’d been divorced from Dee for several years, had beaten cancer 11 years earlier. But after receiving treatments in Florida in recent months, he learned his condition was terminal.

Charlie adored his three children – son Jeff, Jamie and Katie – and they him, says Dee. In those final weeks in Maine, Katie took charge of caring for her dad right up until his death in late August.

Katie stuck close to home before returning to St. John in November. Her father’s death had hit her hard, and returning to the island’s sunny beauty and easy ways were like a balm. She was also considering a new career, says Jamie, perhaps something in the field of health and nutrition. Katie had talked about returning to school and was eyeing Portsmouth, N.H. as a place to relocate.

“There was never a definite plan with Katie but still, she was also well grounded,” says her sister.

On the night of February 7, 2007, at about 7 p.m., Katie was preparing to head out for the evening. She drove her car from the house where she rented an apartment, opened the gate at the end of the driveway, and parked her car on the inclined road just beyond it.

As Katie got out to close the gate, the car began to roll backwards. A neighbor would later say he saw Katie trying to hold back the car, but the vehicle had too much weight and momentum. It rumbled into the driveway, pinning Katie between the vehicle and her landlord’s parked car, the impact crushing her lungs.

Neighbors ran to her aid as Katie managed to stand. “Are you hurt?” they asked. “Yes,” she said, “badly.” Then she collapsed.

A 911 call was made, but it was too late. Katie died enroute to the hospital.

Her funeral at First Church in Sterling was fashioned around Katie’s go-for-broke personality, with a dose of irreverence and out-of-the-box touches. The music was culled from her voluminous CD collection (the Israel Kamakawiwo’ole version of “Over the Rainbow” concluded the ceremony), and friends offered treasured memories. One read a poem Katie had written while a student at Wachusett, an ode in praise of the gummy candy “Swedish Fish.” It was her father’s favorite poem; the original was found among his papers after he died.

Capture her spirit

The scholarship fund was the result of much discussion about how best to celebrate Katie’s life. It was decided that helping kids see the world captured perfectly the spirit of a young woman who loved her home, yet longed to explore the globe. Substantial contributions have already been made, including $1,500 from friends and neighbors of Katie’s on St. John.

Dee Hewson likes to tell the story of how Katie got her name. She was born prematurely, weighing a scant 2 lbs., 8 oz. She was supposed to inherit her grandmother’s name, Katherine Elizabeth. But Dee took one look at her newborn and decided the name was too long for such a tiny infant, and instead retitled her Kathleen, shortened further to Katie.

Dee says the helpless preemie who grew into a confident woman who embraced life wherever she went never stops inspiring laughter and tears from those who knew her.

“No parent should have to lose a child; it’s an exclusive club nobody wants to join,” she says. “But in some ways I have it easy. My child is not coming home in a body bag from a war I don’t believe in; she wasn’t one of the Virginia Tech students. Katie left us with so many tangibles to hold onto.

“I was amazed at how many people came up to me at her funeral and said, ‘Katie was my best friend,'” says Dee. “Katie had a lot of ‘best’ friends. She was a happy person who made people feel good.”

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After last year’s championship season, it has become apparent during this off-season that the Class of ’94 remains committed to excellence. “We are the best and we will continue to remain the best,” said class president Mo Cheeks from the oval office. “We refuse to rest on our laurels of awesomeness.”

On the heels of last week’s blockbuster trade in which we landed wily veteran Adam Cederbaum, several of Adam’s former classmates from the Class of ’93 have decided to jump ship and become members of The Best Class Ever.

Although not as noteworthy as the Cederbaum deal, Mo Cheeks said, these are still notable acquisitions.

“This bolsters our roster and adds much-needed depth to our rotation,” he said while rolling in a bed of money. “These are players who show up to work day-in and day-out and get the job done. They make us a legit threat and fortunately for us, they bring business savvy, experience and a can-do attitude to our class.”

Pirani – Sometimes called Piranha for his vicious demeanor and razor like incisors.

Because he is so tall, Pirani is expected to hang up posters at future class reunions.

Class scientists Drew Davis and David Blehar are working on a way to use the sun’s energy to reflect off of Pirani’s head and shoot deadly gamma rays at our enemies.

Ben Cranston – A native of Sterling, Cranston was signed for his goatee. This will allow the Class of ’94 to always purchase beer and hard liquor without a driver’s license.

“People forget that facial hair is a form of identification,” Mo Cheeks said. “It says, ‘Hey. Look at me. I am over 21.”

Kristen Mitchell – At 4’3″, she is small and can burrow into holes and fit into cardboard boxes and birthday cakes.

“You can never have too many small people on your team,” Mo Cheeks said. “Sometimes with small people you never see them coming. She adds an element of surprise to our attack.”

Kristen can also fold filo dough and is best friends with a mime.

Eric Chevalier –
Eric has seen the Lord of the Rings trilogy 483 times in the past three years. Two years ago he spent four successive weekends watching all three movies without sleeping or eating.

He can repeat each movie verbatim and his Bilbo Baggins impression is spot on. He has gone so far as to grow hair on his feet. This will come in handy during any lulls in future reunions.

Mike George
– He has two first names which is sort of cool.

Jamie Farley –
Voted one of the Top Five Bullies to ever walk the halls of Wachusett, Farley brings a level of intimidation that our class has never had before.

Farley’s expertise is in shooting spit balls, tripping people, giving noogies and Indian sun burns, putting opponents in headlocks, administering the wet willy, and stuffing people in lockers.

In this last category, Farley holds the all time state record for number of people stuffed into a locker during a career: 78.

Brandon Jolie –
Known more for his calves than anything else, BJ is expected to be a force on the dance floor.

“With calves like his, he could probably dance the whole night long,” Mo Cheeks said. “And that my friend is why you have reunions – to dance.”

When BJ is not attending class functions, his calves will be on loan to the Smithsonian.

BJ can also juggle steak knives and has a subscription to Maxim magazine.

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Well, it tooks months to finalize, but it is official. At last night’s trading deadline, Class President Mo Cheeks pulled off one of the biggest blockbusters of all time.

Cederbaum for Cederbaum

Straight up.

That’s right. We bolstered our roster for the next year with an option to keep Adam Cederbaum for years two and three depending on his performance. In exchange, we were able to unload one of the weakest links of all time: Lisa Cederbaum.

“This was a no brainer,” Cheeks said last night from his presidential suite. “We were able to upgrade our attack for the foreseeable future. And we rid ourselves of a saboteur in our midst.”

In recent years, Cederbaum and Cheeks frequently butted heads. Their relationship could be described in one word: acrimonious.

Before pulling off the deal, Mo Cheeks listed the lowlights of Lisa’s presidential career:
  1. In 1992, she raised school lunches to the highest prices they have ever been: $1.25 (Later lowered to $.25 by Mo Cheeks).
  2. She presided over the drinking scandal of sophomore year in which 12 members of our class were caught drinking alcohol out of Coke and Pepsi cans.
  3. Against a tide of popular opinion, she tried (and failed) to change the school mascot to the “Feather Boas.”
  4. That same year she tried to change the school colors to muave and off-white. This failed as well.
  5. At 4’3″ she was the shortest president ever.
  6. During graduation she forgot to move her tassel from the right to left, drawing scorn from her classmates and nearly ruining the day.
  7. In the beginning of 1993, our senior year, she demanded that our class lockers be moved to the dungeon for nostalgia’s sake. Luckily, no one liked nostalgia.
  8. In the St. John’s-Wachusett soccer game of 1992, she was seen standing on the St. John’s side. When confronted, she claimed ignorance, but there were whispers that she was secretly exchanging secrets with the enemy.
  9. At the 10th Year Reunion, she showed up late and left early. No explanation was ever given.
  10. She cheated during the 24-hour volleyball marathon for three successive years, staying up only 11 hours and then sleeping the remainder of the time.

When seeing this list, her brother Adam Cederbaum could only shake his head in disgust. “This is disgusting,” he said bluntly.

Initially, Adam broached the idea of a trade at this year’s unofficial Class of ’93 Reunion in which Mo Cheeks was the Guest of Honor and Featured Speaker.

Adam had had enough of his sister’s antics and said he wanted to be traded to a proven winner. After a lengthy discussion, he and Mo Cheeks came to a verbal agreement, followed up by a handshake and a wink and nod.

Amidst tears, Adam grabbed the microphone and in an impromptu speech bid farewell to his now-former classmates.

While the Class of ’94 and Adam had made an oral commitment to each other, the deal took months to complete because of paperwork, contract restructuring, and league rules.

“At one point, it didn’t look like the deal was going to get done,” Mo Cheeks said. “The Class of ’93 wanted too much.”

Yet, through some shrewd negotiations, Mo Cheeks was able to pull off what many are calling one of the greatest deals ever.

Adam was confident that he will be able to step into the starting line up and produce immediately. “My career stats speak for themselves,” he said while sharing a victory cigar with Mo Cheeks. “I am committed to two things: clearing the Cederbaum name and ensuring the Class of ’94 stays on top, always and forever.”

Amen to that!