By Sheila Mason Gale
Did you know Canterbury once had a hotel on Packer Road in the 20's? Rose Yaworski remembers Packer Hotel just down the street from the Packer Mill. As a child she used to play on the massive porch which encircled the entire building.
Both of Rose's parents (John and Magalene Hatt) came from Poland and landed on Ellis Island. They met in New York City, married, and John eventually got a job at Tillinghast coal and lumber where he made the deliveries with a horse and wagon. In 1915 Rosie Hatt was born in the red house by the old recycling center road on Packer Road. As she grew older everyone just called her Rose.
Also in this same area, you can see the schoolhouse she attended as a child. When Rose attended there were only two windows in the front, but after a few years they added more for better light. At one time there were 35 students because Plainfield sent some children there also. Ruth Davis was her schoolteacher and she loved the arts and organized several plays that were held in the large meeting room at the Packer Hotel. Rose loved to act, be involved in plays, pageants and she loved to memorize. When she became older, she also sang in the Calvary Chapel choir for thirty years.
Packer also had a train depot where Rose would pay a dime to ride to Plainfield to take piano lessons from Mrs. Lyons. However, learning the piano wasn't for her. She would much rather play outdoors. The school had a baseball field where the kids in the neighborhood would play ball and horseshoes. Rose even had a job as a child. She would carry the mail to her neighbors for 5 cents a week.
The hotel was supported by people who would visit the Packer Mill. The mill made cotton for several years and then switched to making dyes before it was abandoned.
Her husband, Jim Yaworski, came to visit the area and met Rose and her family when she was a young girl. Jim asked her to begin writing to him, their romance began and they married at a very young age. Six years later Jim, Jr. was born and six years later Dennis was born. She now has nine grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.
Jim finally bought a truck and started making deliveries such as grain and fine sand to many chicken farmers who used it as bedding and his trucking business was born. Rose did the books for the business for many years. The first truck that Jim owned (1936 Ford dump truck) is on display at the Yaworski Truck Museum.
Rose loves gardening and has always had a garden. She sold pansies, gladiola and asters to Mckenna, Johnson, Lewis and Holdridge greenhouses. She also had large strawberry beds and sold strawberries. She had a free delivery service: her husband would make the deliveries for her.
When asked to name one of the biggest changes in Canterbury, she said having a paved road. Rose remembers that Packer Road would turn into a slippery impassable mud road every time it rained. All the neighbors on Packer Road were very grateful when the road was finally paved.
Rose still loves the outdoors. The day I visited her she had just mowed the lawn and weeded her garden and tomorrow she will do the trimming. Even after all these years she would much rather be outdoors.