Wellesley widow receives Boston Post cane at 105

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2016/04/29/wellesley-widow-receives-boston-post-cane-at-105/

WELLESLEY – A long, though unofficial, tradition led Wellesley’s Boston Post Cane to pass this week to Herlda Senhouse, the town’s oldest resident at 105, who joked that her lack of children led to a more stress-free – and longer – life.

Senhouse received the gold-knobbed walking stick surrounded by friends Thursday at the Glen Grove, a senior housing community. Senhouse also received a small commemorative pin, a certificate and flowers. She was allowed to keep those items but the cane went back into a safe at day’s end.

The cane rests in the Wellesley Historical Society’s vault for safe keeping, and is only taken out for display or to be awarded to the next oldest town resident should the current recipient move or pass on. Thursday’s presentation, by Melissa Padley, society president, and David L. Murphy, the chair of the Board of Selectmen, came nine years after the last one.

“It’s a symbol of longevity of the town and Wellesley’s history, and we congratulate you,” Tory DeFazio, an honorary director of the society, during the presentation.

“Wellesley cares about its history, the sense of community, the sense of valuing all of our citizens and that’s what I take from our cane,” said Selectman Jack Morgan.

The ebony cane is one of 700 distributed to New England towns in August 1909 as a publicity stunt by Edwin A. Grozier, the publisher of the Boston Post newspaper. The canes were sent to the towns, which were to retain ownership but were to award the cane to the eldest resident in each community, according to the Boston Post Cane Information Center in Maynard. Cities were excluded. The newspaper, once the largest in New England by circulation, folded in 1956 after more than 100 years in operation.

Although some of the original Boston Post Canes have, over the years, been lost or stolen, today some 475 towns continue the tradition using original or replica canes.

Senhouse has lived in Wellesley for 37 years. She said receiving the cane spurred some introspective reflection.

“It’s been a long journey and it’s hard, but you forget,” Senhouse said, referring to occasional bad times. While she was married to her husband, William H. Senhouse, for 62 years, they never had any children.

“That’s why they tell me I live to 105,” Senhouse joked, “I don’t have anything to stress me out.”

The key, in her view, is relationships.

“I pick up young people as I go along and they keep me going.”