On Friday, April 6, Lucille Machon was presented the Boothbay Harbor Boston Post Cane, a 109-year-old New England tradition honoring the town’s eldest resident.
Machon’s son Ira and his wife Connie said that before the cane was last awarded, they submitted his mother's name unsure if she was the eldest living person from Boothbay Harbor. So, when the town office called the Machons to award the cane to her a couple weeks ago, it came as a pleasant surprise to Lucille, 101, and her family. The call was kept from her for a short while. Ira and Connie wanted it to be a surprise.
“We’d been out to lunch, then we stopped at the town office,” said Lucille. “I said what are you stopping here for?”
Ira told her there was a problem with her taxes and she needed to stop in and resolve it.
“Then this woman come out and said, ‘We're going to give you the Post cane,’” Lucille said. “I had no idea. I thought that there must be someone in town older than I am. I didn’t know what to think.”
After graduating from the old high school on School Street, she attended college in Portland for one semester, then came back home for good. She missed the harbor too much. Whenever she was away too long, a telltale pang of homesickness would signal her to go home soon.
Some of her fondest memories have been on her many travels to Nashville, Tennessee and Prince Edward Island and other parts of Canada. She recounted a favorite memory from her mid-60s when she, a couple of her cousins, and their two dogs drove out to California with a trailer in tow to visit her brother. Asked if they broke down at all on such a long trip, she said, “No, I had a lot of times that I couldn’t always get the trailer parked, but there was always some nice man who would come along and offer to do it, so I had a great time.”
Of course, there really is no place like home. Sitting in her house, which was barged in from Squirrel Island in 1948, Lucille said much has changed – some good and some bad – and lots of families have moved away throughout the years.
“It’s just so different now than it was,” she said, adding, her favorite part about Boothbay Harbor was always “the people, the neighbors, and the friends.”