When Irene C. McCoy moved to Auburn in 1950, the town did not look like it does today. “There was nothing here. You had to go to Worcester for a drug store.” She and her husband, Harry, first moved to Elbridge Rd. into one of the many houses built for returning WWII soldiers. 11 years later they relocated to Tuttle Square across from the, now, Auburn Historical Museum.
Along their family’s journey daughter Gail and son Neil arrived and grew up in Auburn. Gail Holloway is well known in town as a retired teacher and member of the Auburn School Committee.
Irene and Harry were accomplished ballroom dancers, and they continued with the activity until she was 93. McCoy said, “I was really okay until I turned 97.” She turned 100 in September and is the oldest town resident. As such, and with the recent passing of Cliff Granger, Irene C. McCoy becomes the recipient of the Boston Post Cane.
In 1909, Edwin A. Grozier, Publisher of the Boston Post, forwarded canes to the Board of Selectmen in 700 towns in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. No cities were included. Originally only intended for the oldest man in each town, the award began including women in 1930.
During Thursday’s presentation at the Auburn Senior Center, Kenneth Ethier, Auburn’s unofficial Official Historian, related the cane’s history to the audience. During John E. Riley’s 53-year career as Town Clerk, the cane was kept behind his front door. For safekeeping today, the original cane is in possession of the Historical Society.
Some years back, Ethier obtained a replica of the Boston Post Cane, and that is what recipient’s get to hold today. We hope that Irene C. McCoy has many future years as Auburn’s oldest resident and as the holder of the Boston Post Cane.