Hudson-Litchfield News

Boston Cane Recipient Says ‘Life is Beautiful’

by Jess Clegg

The Hudson Historical Society is in possession of the original Boston Post cane given to the Hudson Selectman back in 1909.  This cane is one of 431 canes given to towns (not cities) in New England.  The canes, which were meticulously made of ebony logs harvested in the African Congo, were originally intended as publicity for the Boston Post.  The canes were to be given by the selectman to the oldest male in town.  This was later expanded to the oldest male or female in 1920.

Each cane took approximately one year to fashion and included 14 carat gold tops.  Each top is engraved with the phrase “Presented by the Boston Post to the oldest citizen of (insert town name).”  After the passing of the oldest citizen, the selectmen were then to present the cane to the new oldest citizen.  However, many canes were lost or hidden away for decades.


Lillian Leaor, Hudson's oldest citizen, was presented with the Boston Post Cane.

The Hudson Historical Society decided to reinstitute the tradition of honoring its oldest citizen by presenting him or her with the Boston Post cane.  While the Historical Society presents the cane in spirit, the actual cane itself will remain with the Society and be displayed at the Alvirne Hills House.  The recipient receives a cane pin as well as has his or her name engraved on a plaque which will also be displayed.

The question the Historical Society faced was how to award the cane and to whom?  A committee was formed to determine the criteria for receiving the cane.  The committee agreed that the oldest citizen could be male or female and had to live in Hudson for at least the last 20 years.  Nominations were then sought for the oldest citizen of Hudson through the Hudson~Litchfield News.  Through this search the society determined that Lillian Leaor, who will turn a youthful 99 next month, is the oldest citizen of Hudson.  On Sunday, November 13, the Hudson Historical Society presented Lillian not only with the Boston Post cane but also with a state proclamation honoring her as Hudson’s oldest citizen.

Lillian (Martin) Leaor was born December 7, 1906, in Bedford, New Hampshire.  Lillian is the oldest of 10 children; however, after the age of seven, it was to be 32 years before she saw her father or any of her siblings.  Lillian’s family had moved to Canada when she was five.  At the age of seven, during a visit to her grandmother in Nashua, Lillian decided to stay and help her grandmother run a boarding house.  Lillian’s mother passed away three years later.  When she was 16 her grandmother also passed away.  As a hard-working young woman, Lillian made the best of her situation and began cleaning houses for attorneys in Nashua. 

At the age of 22, Lillian married Carl Leaor of Hudson whom she met through a mutual friend at the Park Theater in Nashua.  Together, Lillian and Carl had five children.  She now has 11 grandchildren and an astounding 25 great-grandchildren.  Lillian and Carl moved into a house on Pelham Road in 1942.  Lillian lives in this house to this day. 

As Hudson Historical Society President Howard Dilworth read and presented Lillian with the state proclamation, there were tears in her eyes.  Upon receiving the proclamation, the first of two honors that day, Lillian stated emotionally, “Thank you.  I’m very happy.  I’ve never had something like this.”  When presented with the Boston Post cane and shown the plaque she gasped, “That’s beautiful.” 

Lillian went on to speak to the crowd of more than 45 friends and family about how joyful she was.  “I thank everybody.  It’s so nice to have people to take care of me.”  And when her age was mentioned, she emphatically said, “Oh yes, I’m gonna be here for a long time.”  Lillian spoke with humor, producing a number of chuckles from those gathered to honor her.  However, she also spoke with wisdom, reminding us to live life and to remember how wonderful it can be.  In the words of Lillian Leaor, “Life is beautiful.”


Has Green Meadows Golf Course Sold?

by Area News Staff

For more than a year rumors have been swirling throughout Hudson about the future of Green Meadows Golf Course.  The Hudson~Litchfield News recently learned that The Feil family, owners of the golf course, will present plans at the Hudson Selectmen’s November 22 meeting to develop the land.

Information received at the Hudson~Litchfield News suggests that a major hotel or mall will be constructed at the site.  Green Meadows, which is located on the south end of Hudson off of River Road, can be seen while crossing the Sagamore Bridge.

The property currently consists of two dual 18-hole courses -- "Prairie" and "Jungle" -- with a grass driving range, large putting green area, and extensive pro shop.  The Prairie course (5,800 yards from the white tees) is a little more wide open and hilly with only a few hazards, while the Jungle course (6,300 yards from white tees) is challenging with fairway trees, bunkers, and 10 holes with water hazards.

All of this open space is ideal for development.  Some development possibilities that have been speculated include a large shopping mall, something bigger than Pheasant Lane Mall in Nashua; condominiums coupled with a shopping mall and business office space; or even a large resort hotel along with expansive retail space.

For several months Hudson~Litchfield News Editor-in-Chief Len Lathrop and News Editor Lynne Ober have worked to confirm or dispel the ongoing rumors surrounding Green Meadows.  With this purpose in mind, they met this summer at the town administrator’s office with then Board of Selectmen Chairman Bill Cole and Town Administrator Steve Malizia.  Lathrop and Ober were told that although preliminary discussions had indeed occurred that no “deal” had been finalized, nor was one on the near horizon.

Time passed.  Other issues arose and the Green Meadows rumors hovered somewhere in the background.

Now it appears that a deal has been finalized, and the Fiel family, not only will make a formal presentation to selectmen on Tuesday, but will also present a plan to the Planning Board at its December 7 meeting.


Hudson’s Community Room Renamed for Ann Seabury 

by Doug Robinson

Dozens of friends, family, police, and town officials filled the community room for the dedication of its new name:  The Ann Seabury Community Room.

Hudson Police Chief Richard Gendron described Ann as a very supportive friend of the Hudson Police Department.  “She was instrumental in the building of this building, and if not for her involvement, we would not be here today.  Ann never missed a swearing-in activity at the police station and she never missed a police activity in all her years of town government.  When I mentioned to her I needed to change the organization many years ago, she told me that I had her full support.  I could not think of a better person.”

Selectman Maddox then read from a prepared speech, written by Selectman Stewart.  “When Selectman Cole made the motion that the Police Department’s Community room be renamed the Ann Seabury community Room in memory of and in tribute to Ann’s many years of selfless service and devotion to the Hudson Community and the well-being of its residents, he made the following remarks, which sums up the way most of us feel.”

“Any tribute in memory of Ann would be insignificant to the contribution that she made to this town, more years than any of us can recall.  Ann never played favorites.  She was on elected boards, appointed committees, she volunteered for this, and she volunteered for that.  She never played favorites,” stated Selectman Cole.

“However, from my personal experience with Ann over the years, I felt that there might just be a trace of special feeling on the part of Ann Seabury for the men and women of the Police Department.  If it wasn’t for Ann’s unwavering support of the Police Department, there is a good chance that Chief Gendron’s desk would still be located just about where Chairman Massey is sitting (in the Selectmen’s Meeting room).  Ann Seabury was a driving force and in total support of the new police facility, all the way from the budget that dates back to ’92 through Town Meeting of ’93, construction in ’94 and finally to the opening in 1995. 

The other item that sticks in my mind is the fact that Ann never missed an officer’s wearing-in, either doing the swearing-in, or as a member of the audience.  If you were a new police officer in town, the test, the interviews and the recommendations that went into getting to that level were very critical.  But, quite frankly, if Ann didn’t say you were a Hudson cop, you weren’t a Hudson cop.  I have no doubt whatsoever that when Hudson’s latest police officers are sworn in, Ann, with a smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye, will be standing right there to make sure it’s official…. It is, therefore, a sincere honor, a genuine privilege, and my utmost pleasure, having served with Ann for many years on the Board of Selectmen, to herby officially name this room as the Ann Seabury Community room.”

Selectman Maddox added, “I think that this is a great memorial to a selectman who pushed for this building to be built.  She pushed to get the police department out of the town hall basement and into a new facility.  Ann had many years of dedicated service to the town of Hudson.”

Selectman MacLean, stated “It could not be more fitting,” while Selectman Massey added, “This is a fitting tribute to someone who gave so much of her time, talents, and treasures to make Hudson a better place.  Our community is a better place for having Ann pass through.”


Community Pulls Together to Help Alyssa

by Lynne Ober

The measure of a community can always be seen in the care that it gives to its residents.  Nowhere could a better example of this be seen than at the Spaghetti Supper Fundraiser for Alyssa Munsell, a Campbell High School senior, who has been left legally blind following an operation that removed most of a tumor on her brain.  With a second operation looming on the horizon, groups within the community wanted to help Alyssa and her family.

The Litchfield Lions decided to hold a spaghetti supper fundraiser and reached out to other groups to help them. 

At the first supper organizational meeting, Warren Adams, President of the Litchfield Fire Association, knew that the Lions needed help in the kitchen.  “It was obvious that they didn’t know how to organize the kitchen for their supper so I asked the Litchfield Knights of Columbus members if they would volunteer to cook and they said yes.”


Amanda Paige, 7, helps herself to salad.

Adams said that the Litchfield Knights of Columbus were looking for opportunities to partner with other community groups to support Litchfield.  “We had run suppers before and knew how to organize and cook for a large group.  We got the list of supplies together for the Lions and then rolled up our sleeves.”

On the day of the supper, the Knights arrived early and began cutting up salad ingredients.  By the time the doors opened at 4:00 p.m., people were already in line and the food was ready.

Litchfield Lions Treasurer and Webmaster Wayne Auger and Lion Tamer Ray Peeples were excited about the number of community members, community businesses, and community organizations who donated to the fund-raiser.

With Ya Mamma’s Italian Restaurant, who donated the sauce for the spaghetti, and Minuteman Press, who donated printing for the flyers, leading the list of nearly 40 contributors, it was truly a community affair.  [To see a complete list of contributors, visit www.nhlions.org/clubs/litchfield/.]

The Lions had gathered more than 70 raffle prizes that ranged from the simple to the sublime and everywhere in between.  Raffle tickets could be purchased throughout the event.  Winners from all the raffles will be posted on the website (see above).

A huge table was laden with delicious desserts baked by various community residents.  It was tempting to just skip the spaghetti and head straight to the dessert table.

Diners were entertained by musical selections played by both the high school and middle school bands.

The Lions lion entertained kids of all ages. 

Litchfield Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts helped with the event by bussing tables, selling tickets, and baking.  Girl Scout Troop 91 baked two large platters of desserts.

Outside there were two fire engines and youngsters, wearing fire hats given by Litchfield Fire Department, could climb aboard and check out the fire engine.

Alyssa, her mother and grandparents were on hand to talk to people.  Throughout this entire ordeal, Alyssa has kept her upbeat attitude and her smile.  She carries a positive attitude, even though she faces another operation to attempt to remove the remainder of the tumor, which is near her jugular and other veins.

Alyssa has been attending school as much as medically possible and keeping up with her work when she can’t attend classes because she hopes to enter college and become a psychologist.

By the time that the evening was over, the Knights of Columbus had cooked 75 pounds of spaghetti and used 15 gallons of Ya Mamma’s sauce. 

According to Lions President Pat Pedersen, approximately 725 people attended.  “So far, we have cleared over $9,000, but it will be a week or two before we receive all checks,” said Pedersen.  “We all feel so good about this event.  Alyssa is a beautiful young lady.”

If you were unable to attend, but would like to make a tax-deductible donation to this worthy cause, contact Pat Pedersen at 595-4615.


Bailey School Kids Illustrator Engages Nottingham West Elementary School Students

Nottingham West Elementary School in Hudson had a fun and educational visit on November 10 from John Steven Gurney, an illustrator of more than 100 well-known children’s books. 

With an engaging personality and many original works – large, vibrant oil paintings, mostly from his popular Bailey School Kids and A-Z Mysteries series -- Gurney was a smash hit with elementary students and staff alike.  “Kids are my favorite audience as they’re the most literate in the language of pictures,” shared John.  Like most enrichment assemblies, the the school’s Parent Teacher Organization sponsored Gurney’s visit and luncheon, thanks to its continued support from the community.  

The illustrator demonstrated in all his assemblies the major steps in bringing books to life with pictures.  “I like to create enticing covers that make people curious and interested enough to open a book up and read it,” he revealed.  Initial rough sketches outline the characters, action, and setting, often based on just a sentence or two provided by the author or publisher.  Research, photographs and software, like Adobe PhotoShop, are also important tools to his work.  He also showed key techniques illustrators use, such as color, perspective, lighting and symbols.  “I let my imagination be first and lead my work,” he offered, “and my research and tools help me to make it real.”

The Brattleboro, Vermont, artist also shared how he got his start.  Early on, he was inspired by his ogre portraits of his little sister.  His interest was also ignited by an illustration class he took in fifth grade and Mad Magazine.  Later, John went to art school in New York City (Pratt Institute) and caught a break when he won a national poster contest for Molson Golden, which was in Rolling Stone magazine.  “Illustrating is like most anything -- you need to learn it, step-by-step, and practice a lot to become good -- and never give up on your dream,” he advised wanna-be fourth-grade artists at the luncheon.  He also admitted that one of his best-selling books, Dinosaur Train, his only book to date that he wrote and illustrated, was rejected repeatedly before it went to publication.


John Steven Gurney sketches a caricature of NWES first grader Matthew Achorn.

Everyone’s response to this year’s Author-Illustrator visit, sponsored by the the PTO, was extremely positive.  “John was wonderful!” said Roberta Prokop, first grade teacher.  “He really mesmerized our kids.”  They particularly enjoyed when John created impromptu action caricatures from the audience. 

NWES PTO’s 2005 Author-Illustrator chairwoman, Sue Weis, commented, “John’s paintings are so colorful and lively it’s hard to stop looking at them.”  Weis, who orchestrated Gurney’s day-long visit, added “He’s also got a fun sense of humor and great rapport with all ages that really engages and motivates people!” 

Special thanks to NWES PTO chairwomen, Sue Weis and Laura Bisson, for  organizing this year’s wonderful Author-Illustrator assembly and luncheon.  For more on Gurney, his terrific books, and how he illustrates, visit his fun web site ( www.johnstevengurney.com ) -- and give him a tickle!


Hudson Junior Girl Scouts Tackle the Mazes

Recently, Hudson J271 Girl Scouts visited Beech Hill Farms in Hopkinton for an outdoor challenge in their four-acre corn maze.  After tackling the largest maze successfully the group went on to enjoy a nature hike and ice cream.

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