If you’ve been reading the diary along, you may have noticed that Hazel mentions a certain couple several times throughout the diary, and usually always mentions them together: Chet and Imogene.
Chet May graduated from Callao High School in 1951. Hazel mentions it in her diary on May 11, 1951:
Today was last day of school for Seniors. They are Marie Day Johnson, Chet May, Joann Ford, & Lois Jean Hayes. Soph’s had a party tonite. Delpha and Bill Burk invited me but I didn’t go. Stayed home.
Notice there were only four in their class, and Chet is the only boy!
Bertha Imogene St. Clair graduated from Callao High School in 1952, just a little over one month after she and Chet became engaged. Hazel’s diary entry from April 2, 1952, 64 years ago today, reads:
Went to show at Bevier tonite “As young as you feel.” I didn’t care much for it. Everybody has just about wrote in my annual. Imogene St. Clair & Chet May are engaged. I don’t have the measles, thank goodness. Saw Shirley J. at show.
On November 8th, 1952, Chet and Imogene were married. Hazel wrote, on November 12, 1952:
Went to show tonite “My Six Convicts”. Was really good. Saw Imogene & Chet there. Congradulated them. They were married a few days ago. Lois Jean Hayes & Bob Montgomery were married with them. too. Bye
Lois Jean Hayes was one of Chet’s classmates, and she was also his niece (figure that one out!), and he says Bob’s last name was Holman, so Hazel must not have that part right, for whatever reason. Imogene said that they had planned a double wedding with Lois Jean and Bob, but it didn’t happen that way. Chet says that the two couples were married on the same day, but not together!
Chester (Chet) was the youngest of 8 children. Their father’s name was Ollie, and Chet’s 7 older siblings were Kenneth, Bill, Delbert, Beulah, Isabel, Irma, and Grace. Irma married a man named Buck Hayes, and Lois Jean was their child, the same age as Chet! Not surprising in large families back in the day.
Another of Chet’s classmates, Joann Ford, went on to become Imogene’s sister-in-law — she married Imogene’s brother, Bob. Oh, life in a small town!
Some of the graduates from Callao High School recently had a reunion, and here is Chet with Lois Jean (center) and Joann!
On October 13, 1953, Chet entered the Air Force. He started out with Basic Training at Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX.
He then went to Keesler AFB in Biloxi, MS, and studied electronics.
Chet’s flight simulation training was done at Chanute AFB in Rantoul, IL, and he learned instrument repair a bit later at Brooks AFB in San Antonio, TX.
While stationed at Brooks, Chet and Imogene’s first child arrived on the scene on March 17, 1955 — a little boy they named Steve.
When Steve was 10 months old, Chet was sent to Thule Air Base in Greenland. While Chet was in Greenland, Imogene took Steve and moved back to Callao to stay with her parents.
When Chet returned, he was stationed at Reese AFB in Lubbock, TX, for a time, and finally discharged on September 4, 1957. Imogene has his scrapbook full of clippings and all sorts of mementos.
The couple settled back in Callao, and in 1960, their second child made his appearance — another boy they named Michael.
Here’s a good shot of “the boys” — from left, Mike, Mike’s son Tyler, Chet, and Steve:
I have known Chet and Imogene my entire life. I can’t remember not knowing them. My brothers and I went to the same school as Steve and Mike. Mike was in my older brother’s class and they graduated together in 1978. I recently got to meet Steve’s son and grandson, both wonderful young gentlemen.
Chet and Imogene have lived in the exact same spot the entire time I’ve known them. I can’t imagine anyone else living there.
Chet loves gardening in the summer time, and enjoys hunting with his sons, grandsons, and great-grandson. Imogene has always been active within the Callao community, and she’s a quilter! Aren’t they just so cute? This is Chet and Imogene with their grandson, Joel, on the left, and their son, Steve, on the right: