Centenarian Celebrated: Elizabeth Glenfield

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Boston Post Cane Holder Offers Advice For a Long Life

By Matthew Tetrault

Hampton Union, Tuesday, October 14, 2008

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Boston Post Cane recipient, 100-year-old Elizabeth Glenfield, left, and daughter-In-law, Bunny Glenfield, sit at Elizabeth's home In Hampton on Sunday.
[Cheryl Senter Photo]

HAMPTON — What's the secret to long life? One hundred year-old Elizabeth Glenfield has a theory.

"Lots of black tea," said Glenfield. "I drink about 10 to 12 cups a day. By now, I think my stomach is lined with tannic acid."

More people might start taking her advice now that the Hampton Heritage Commission has declared her the town's oldest resident. In recognition of her longevity, the commission presented Glenfield with a replica of the Boston Post Cane during a ceremony at her home on Sunday, Oct. 12.

In 1909, The Boston Post newspaper gave gold-headed ebony canes to 431 New England towns, including Hampton, as part of an advertising campaign. The town's selectmen were told to award the canes to their town's oldest citizens, a tradition that continued in Hampton until 1973, When the town selectmen decided to stop it for unknown reasons.

Last April, the Heritage Commission decided to revive the tradition and, after reviewing the applications, declared Glenfield the oldest applicant.

Elizabeth Glenfield was born on Aug. 20, 1908, in Mexico, Maine, a small town about 60 miles from Augusta. After her husband John was discharged from the Army at the end of World War II, she moved to Massachusetts, living in Waltham and Beverly, before retiring to Hampton in 1998.

Now, Glenfield says she spends most of her time at home, solving crossword puzzles, watching the occasional episode of "Jeopardy," or spending time with family. She says she can still remember paying 5 cents to ride a "Stanley Steamer" — a steam-powered bus — and watching the town workers clear snow from the roads.

"Course they didn't snow-plow then; they had a horse-drawn roller and they rolled the snow off the road," said Glenfield. "There were so many changes. There's been an awful lot of changes over the past 100 years. I remember looking up at the man in the moon and then discovering that we could travel in space to visit him."

Glenfield said compared to life in the 1930s and '40s, life now is physically easier but faster, more hectic; more stressful. She hopes people will take time to stop and appreciate life.

"Life goes by so fast," she said "You look back and most of it is behind you. Right now, I try to take it one day at a time."

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