Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 10-11-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NORTH SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET EDITION | VALLEY BREEZE | OCTOBER 11-17, 2018 NORTH SMITHFIELD 17 mitted" to the next citizen upon the oldest citizen's death. In 1930, after some controversy among the towns, the tradition was opened up to women as well and the Boston Post Cane continued to pass from one oldest citizen to the next. In 1924, however, the tradition's founder died, and in 1957, the paper ceased to exist. Over time, many towns forgot about the tradition as the canes were placed in storage on town property or stayed with families after a recipient died. No one knows who last held North Smithfield's cane or when the tradi- tion ceased to continue. But a few years ago, Gail Denomme, daugh- ter of former Town Administrator Arthur Denomme, discovered the cane among her father's things as she prepared to move him to a nursing home. After some research, she came forward to continue the tradition and present the cane back to the town. "We don't know how he got the cane, but we were looking at the cane and I looked it up and found information about it and I thought that was pretty neat," she said. Denomme said her father, who has Alzheimer's disease, has no recollection of the North Smithfield cane, and neither does she. Several years ago, though, when she lived in Foster, she recalled seeing a similar cane at the home of Elsie Fasteson, a friend who was then the oldest resi- dent of Foster. "'Oh that old thing?' she says. 'That's because I'm going to die next.' And she says, 'I hate to see the one who got it next,'" Denomme recalled Sasteson joking when she asked about the cane. Denomme is hoping the tradition might continue in North Smithfield and has enlisted the help of town officials in identifying the oldest town resident. So far they've found Millie Freitas, 99, the widow of for- mer police chief Joseph Freitas, but suspect there may be someone older. Denomme said the final decision on how to present the cane will be up to town officials, as some communi- ties have chosen to present a plaque instead and display the cane at Town Hall. For now, she's taken on the job of helping identify the right person so the tradition can stay alive. "We're presenting this back to the town, so if they want to continue this, it's up to them," she said. Individuals with information about the oldest town resident are invited to contact Gail Denomme at gail. The BOSTON POST CANE was first sent to the town of North Smithfield in 1909. CANE From Page One 100% Waterproof 100% Kid Proof 100% Pet Proof $ 1 69 Starting at Sq. Ft. LUXURY VINYL PLANK Family Owned & Operated for 46 Years Reg. #20813 772 Dexter Street, Central Falls, RI 401-724-6674 • 401-724-0470 •

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