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Esther Thorburn, 16 years old in 1923!
by
Dee L'Ecuyer
 
 

Esther (Barns) Thorburn was born on Nov. 26, 1906 in Sturbridge where SadieGreens now stands. Winnie (Chamberlain) Tillyer lived upstairs in the same
building. Then Esther's father, Mr. Barns, bought the Plimpton House on the Sturbridge Common for $3000 and Esther lived there until 1964. She worked
for a number of years at the Publick House. She was brought up in the Unitarian Church and she remembered playing tennis on the Common.

She reminisced that she often heard a flock of geese fly over her house. Actually I think its the same flock of geese that now flys over our house"On the Common."
Her father, Mr. Barns, was the postmaster in Sturbridge for many years

Tediously riding the trolley day after day, Esther (Barns) Thorburn graduated from Hitchcock Academy in Brimfield in 1924, a year after "The Southbridge News" was born. She knew Frank McNitt  personally and with a grin admitted to us she had a crush on him in high school!

She went on to Becker Business College for two years, then worked for First Manufacturing and Merchants Association. That is the same now as our Chamberof Commerce. She also worked as a secretary for Dr. Edgar Tillyer, who manufactured the Tillyer Lens.

In the 30's she worked at the American Optical and at the same time wrote articles for "The News." She would drop them off on her way to work at the AO every day.

Thursday nights she always went to Southbridge for entertainment. She admitted she even danced one time with Rudolph Valentino!

She has a stepson and a stepdaughter and proudly announced she has six grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Her days now consist of her love of playing bridge and cards, which she does often at her home. As we left her house, she showed us the ingredients she had set on the counter to bake for her bridge group the next day. She loves to crochet and goes out with friends for lunch often. She doesn't drive anymore but with so many friends, she never wants for a ride anywhere,
anyway. At almost 100 years old, she is still enjoying life to its fullest and is an inspiration to everyone she knows.
 
 

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