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At 107, a parade grand marshal

An honored alum, C. Yardley Chittick knew Bogart and turned down Edison.

June 15, 2008|From the Associated Press

CONCORD, N.H. — A 107-year-old man who once turned down a job offer from Thomas Edison has been chosen to lead a parade at the Massachusetts prep school he graduated from 90 years ago.

C. Yardley Chittick of Concord is the last surviving member of the class of 1918 at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.

"I'm honored a lot these days," said Chittick, who was scheduled to lead the alumni parade Saturday for the third year. "It's only taken me this long to be recognized."

An uncle sent Chittick, who grew up in New Jersey, to Andover to prepare him to attend the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

After MIT, Chittick became a patent lawyer and at one point refused a job from Edison. He said Edison gave him a 150-question test before offering him the job.

Chittick took a job in the golf club industry instead because it sounded like more fun. A few years ago, he said, he asked for a copy of the test from the Thomas Edison Museum and was shown the original, with Edison's handwriting in the margins.

While at Andover, Chittick got into a scuffle with fellow student and future actor Humphrey Bogart because he refused to polish Bogart's shoes.

"Somehow or other I didn't like him. He didn't like me," Chittick said. "I polished all the shoes on the floor, but I wouldn't shine Bogie's."

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