FARMINGTON — Nada Keeling, 101,  was presented with the Boston Post Cane on March 13 by Town Manager Richard Davis.

On March 13, Farmington’s Boston Post Cane was presented to the Nada Keeling, the town’s oldest resident. Pictured from left are Keeling’s son-in-law Bob Vallette, daughter Myrna Vallette, Keeling and Farmington Town Manager Richard Davis. (Livermore Falls Advertiser photo by Pam Harnden)

Davis said, “This is a ceremonial duty I enjoy doing. It’s an honor to present the Boston Post Cane to you. You are worthy of great recognition in my opinion. Congratulations.”

Keeling said, “I never thought anything like this would happen.”

She later quipped while leaning on the cane, “This will come in handy.

An engraving on the cane reads, “Presented to the oldest citizen of Farmington. Symbolic of the Boston Post gold-headed cane.” The town’s original cane was retired in 2006. It is on display at the Farmington town office.

The Boston Post, a now defunct newspaper, distributed 700 canes to towns throughout New England. Made of ebony and crowned with 14-karat gold, the canes were presented to the oldest male resident of those towns. In 1930, women were added to the lists of cane recipients.

Keeling moved to Farmington May 1, 2016 after the passing of her oldest daughter. She lives with her daughter, Myrna Vallette, and son-in-law Bob Vallette.

Myrna stressed her mom’s first name is pronounced with a long ‘a’, not like the word that means nothing.

Keeling was born Dec. 31, 1918 in California. Her younger siblings, one brother and two sisters, have all passed.

Keeling’s family moved to Arizona in 1925. She graduated high school in Peoria in 1936. She lived in Arizona until her recent move to Maine.

“I grew up on a farm in the country. We were poor. We went through the Great Depression.

“The schools were very strict. You did what you were told.

“There were no cell phones. After school we rode the bus, had chores to home. Society has changed so much,” Keeling said.

Keeling married in July, 1937. She was a secretary at the high school in Eloy, Arizona for 18 years.

Her husband had a grocery store and later farmed cotton. After their retirement the couple traveled in a motor home.

“”I think we visited every state in the union,” Keeling said.

“I was fortunate enough to be healthy. I’m getting older and can’t always do what I want to do,” she said.

The couple liked to camp in Idaho.

“We did that every summer for 21 years. We fished Salmon River, made a lot of friends,” Keeling said.

Her husband was a rifleman in the National Guard. After they were married he taught her how to shoot. The couple went deer hunting every fall in northern Arizona.

Keeling told of the time a ranger was checking with hunters to determine conditions of the deer population.

“He asked where did I shoot the deer and I told him, “Right where I aimed.”,” she said.

Keeling said her husband got an application to shoot a buffalo and she received one the following year.

“It was a once in a lifetime experience,” Myrna said.

“I took the head and had it mounted. My husband made his hide into a blanket,” Keeling said.

I still have the head. My late sister got the other buffalo head,” Myrna said.

Keeling’s husband also shot a javelina, a wild pig, and had the head mounted.

“Myrna’s two boys wouldn’t sleep in the bedroom with the head in it,” Keeling said.

Keeling has five grandsons, five great granddaughters and eight great great grandchildren.

“I can’t keep track of all the great great grandchildren,” she said.

Keeling is vision and hearing impaired. She used to do different crafts but now knits and enjoys crossword puzzles.

“I knit prayer shawls for my daughter’s church (Old South Congregational Church),” she said.

“I didn’t expect this. I appreciate it,” Keeling said.

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