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Chatham Historical Society awards 2014 Scholarship

The 2014 Chatham Historical Society Margaret Keisler Scholarship was awarded to Paige Enslow at the commencement exercises of Chatham High School held on June 20, 2014 at Mennen Arena in Morristown.

This $1000 scholarship is named in memory of the dedicated educator and life long Chathamite, Peg Keisler. The history of our town is made up of individual and unique stories. Students are asked to share their distinctive experiences about growing up in Chatham. This year 25 essays were submitted. Paige’s evocative essay reminds us of the powerful influence of family and town.

Paige lives on Highland Avenue with her parents and two sisters. She is a National Honor Society member and was president of the Filmmakers' Club. Paige worked as an intern at the School of Cinematic and Performing Arts in New York. This experience solidified her desire to pursue film as a career. She will be attending New York University in the fall and looking at Chatham from the banks of Hudson with a writer’s perspective. We congratulate Paige and wish her continued success.

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Scholarship Recipient - 2014 Paige Enslow’s Essay:

At the top of the hill where I live, there is a graveyard where the headstones have the same names as the streets. When I was young I would practice sounding them out when my parents would take me on walks around the neighborhood, and I would ask my mother why some people had graves that looked like houses, and others like slabs. On lazy afternoons, I searched “Weird NJ” issues in the town library for this graveyard, to see if there were any particularly active spirits that I should be worried about.

At the top of the hill where I live, the hospital where my father, my sisters, and I were all born cuts into the horizon. I always thought this was ceaselessly ironic, given that headstones will obstruct your view of my birthplace as you drive by. My family is local; my father spent some of his childhood here, so he knows all the good sledding spots. He remembers when Borough and Township were separate in schooling, and finds the continuing rivalry hysterical.

From the top of the hill where I live, you can see the lights of the Freedom Tower in the distance. Years ago, my parents say, you could see the World Trade Center; and on one dark morning, the smoke rising from the same spot on the skyline. I only remember trying to make sense of the newscast while my mother cried and cried. For years after that, we brought Dunkin Donuts to our neighbors on Sunday mornings, since their father wasn’t there to continue that weekly tradition anymore.

The top of the hill where I live has the best view in town. My family and I trek up and dangle our feet from the graveyard’s stone barrier whenever there is a meteor shower, or when you can see Jupiter, or when the moon is full. There, swaddled in blankets and my father’s explanatory whispers, watching his hands jut into the sky, I am struck dumb by the roundness of it all. From there, I can see all of the things that made me, and all that I will become. I am moving away next year, and I will miss this view, this subtle confrontation of the immense and the inevitable.

I will imagine, when I look homeward bound from the banks of the Hudson, that I can see in the distance the hill from which you can see eternity.

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