Lincolnville woman, 99, newest recipient of Boston Post Cane
Lincolnville — On Nov. 16 Lincolnville Town Administrator David Kinney and Chairman of the Lincolnville Board of Selectmen David Barrows called on Alice Carver at her home and presented her with the Boston Post Cane and a certificate acknowledging her as the oldest resident of Lincolnville. Carver has a big birthday coming up — the Lincolnville woman will celebrate a century of life Thursday, Dec. 8.
Carver references her birthday by recounting her whereabouts when the somber radio announcement of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which occurred on the morning of Dec. 7, came over the airwaves in 1941. That birthday she was sitting in a parked car at a country club waiting for her husband to finish a meeting.
"I was sitting there like I was in a trance," Carver recalled. "I couldn't believe it."
Born in 1912 in Hill City, Minn., Carver is the daughter of Norwegian-born parents that met in the United States. She attributes her long and healthy life to the fact that she "started out with good genes."
About The Boston Post Cane
The Boston Post Cane is a tradition inspired by a historic marketing move, according to the website of the Maynard Massachusetts Historical Society. In 1909 The Boston Post had 700 ornate, gold-tipped, ebony canes produced and bestowed them upon New England towns to be awarded to the community's eldest male resident for use until his demise or until he moved from the town. The tradition was expanded to include women in 1930, according to the website.
Traditionally the selectmen of each town are the trustees of the cane. Many towns, including Lincolnville, have since replaced their original Boston Post Canes with replicas due to loss or damage. Carver was given the framed certificate to keep and the cane will be safely kept and displayed at Lincolnville Town Office.
According to Town Administrator David Kinney, Lincolnville's original Boston Post Cane was broken in a domestic dispute and the town now uses a replica cane.
Carver moved to Lincolnville 38 years ago on Thanksgiving day and has remained in her home ever since. Spry with a quick wit, she recalled a childhood enjoyed in a world far different than modern day. She said her family moved to Michigan following leads for employment; her mother was an avid baker — baking professionally at times — and ordered two large sacks of flour from the local mercantile to bake for the family. A short time later one of the sacks was recalled due to supply shortages.
"It's funny what sticks in your mind," Carver said. "They were rationing, my mother had a fit."
Carver also spent a portion of her childhood in Brooklyn, N.Y., She is an only child but said she and her mother and father moved in with her mother's sister who had five children. Carver explained that she was around nine at the time of the move. She enjoyed Brooklyn and spending time with her cousins.
"Everybody slept on a couch somewhere," she said with chuckle. "After a while it got a little crowded."
Carver explained her family later moved to Harlem, residing above a shoe store on 76th Street.
Carver said she has always enjoyed traveling and spoke of various trips to destinations including Australia, New Zealand, Europe, South America, Singapore, Bangkok and Alaska. Carver also said she went up in a hot air balloon in the late-1980s and attempted to learn to ride a motorcycle in the late-1990s. She said she's always enjoyed adventure.
"I've always been kind of reckless," she said with a laugh. "I've lived a very exciting life."
In addition to visiting a host of far-flung destinations Carver said she has also enjoyed numerous road trips within the United States and Canada during her lifetime. She said road trips were a common way to see the country and travel without a concrete plan.
"You never knew what you were going to see," she explained of packing the car and hitting the road. "You got tired of being on the road after a week or two and you came home."
Carver said she is a "firm believer in destiny," a quality that assisted in making the decision to purchase her Lincolnville home from the moment she and her then-husband toured the place on their way back from one of those many road trips. Carver said they were driving by "slowly, taking in the sights" when the home's former owner appeared bearing a "for sale" sign. They rolled down the window and asked him what he was selling. His response? "The house." Carver said he agreed to let them look around.With it's clear view of the ferry terminal and Lincolnville Beach, Carver said buying the home was an easy choice.
"My birthright was my mother and my family," she explained. "[People of] my nationality are seafarers."
Carver said one of her philosophies is "no tomorrows." She said rather than putting something off and counting on tomorrow she's found that it's best to embrace opportunities when they present themselves.
"Every day you're breathing is a blessing," Carver noted.
Courier Publications reporter Jenna Lookner can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.