PERU — Elizabeth “Betty” Child, 98, was joined by family and friends Tuesday at the Town Office where she received the Boston Post Cane.

She was born Sept. 15, 1913, and has lived in Peru almost 80 years. Her parents, Fred and Ruth Eastman, lived in Manchester, N.H., at the time of her birth.

Child fondly remembered her early days as a resident in Peru when she worked at the Diamond Match mill.

“I made $11 a week and paid $4 a week to live in a boarding house,” she said.

Child said she lived at Susie Staples’ boarding house, which included meals. She met her husband, Norman Child, in town and they were married on Dec. 8, 1934.

Child’s children talked about how she would ride the train to Rumford to get groceries.

Jackie McLean, Child’s daughter, said Child and her husband moved into his parents home on Main Street in Peru to help care for them and she has lived there since.

“The home has been in the family for over 100 years,” McLean said.

Child said her favorite thing to do is go for drives with her family to Berlin, N.H., so they can go to Northland Restaurant and Dairy Bar.

“The raspberry pie is my favorite,” Child said.

Child couldn’t attribute any specific secret to the longevity of her life.

“Just keeping busy, life in general I guess” she said.

Child has three children, six grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren, and one great-great-granddaughter. Some of the family was in attendance at the ceremony.

The Boston Post  Cane dates back to August 1909 when Edwin A. Grozier, publisher of the Boston Post newspaper, forwarded to Boards of Selectmen in 431 towns in New England a gold-headed ebony cane. He requested that it be presented, compliments of the Boston Post, to the oldest male resident of the town.

It wasn’t until 1930 that the eligibility for the cane was opened to women as well.


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