WAYNE — The cane is fine, but the best part of being the town’s oldest resident, as far as Priscilla Stevenson is concerned, is the opportunity it brought to have her family together again.

All two dozen plus of them, spanning four generations, gathered Sunday at the Walton Road farm that has been her home for the last 50 years.

“I think it’s wonderful to have the family all here,” she said. “That’s the big thing. It was very nice for everyone to come.”

Stevenson is just the second person to be awarded the Wayne Cane, the town’s version of the Boston Post Cane, since the tribute began in 2008. Marguerite “Mike” Holbrook was the cane holder for four years until she passed away in September 2012 at the age of 103.

Priscilla, who will turn 96 in June and is now the town’s oldest resident, will keep the cane for a few weeks and have her name added to a plaque kept at the town’s library.

“She’s had a real good life,” said her son, Ford Stevenson. “It’s good recognition of someone who has lived really well and really long.”

Selectman Raymond Giglio, who presented the cane during the brief ceremony, said Priscilla helps create a sense of community in the town in which she was born, raised and lived for her entire life.

“We have a lot of people in town that create a special place live,” Giglio said. “Priscilla is definitely one of those.”

Priscilla Berry was born in June 1917 on her parents’ farm on Berry Road.

“There was no hospital birth for me,” she said.

In her day the roads were all made of dirt and were as likely to be populated by horses as automobiles. It was, Priscilla said, a good place to grow up.

“It was very peaceful,” she said. “I grew up with lots of animals.”

Any thoughts Priscilla might have had of leaving Wayne evaporated forever when she married T. Douglas O. Stevenson, known as T.D.O. The family moved to the former Jenny homestead on Walton Road in 1968.

T.D.O. tried his hand at farming before taking a teaching position at Winthrop High School. Priscilla, too, taught in Winthrop before retiring in 1984.

“She says she still wishes she was teaching,” Ford said. “She wasn’t ready to give it up.”

The couple had six sons, including Craig, David, Douglas and Ford, all of whom continue to live in Wayne with their wives. Another son, John, lives with his wife in North Yarmouth. The sixth son, Christopher, lived in Wayne before passing away last year. The sons have given Priscilla 15 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren. T.D.O. passed away in 1998.

If Wayne was a good place to grow up, it has proved an even better place to grow old. The 19th century farmhouse Priscilla continues to call home is immaculately kept, and the expansive view of the rolling hills of northern Androscoggin County are breathtakingly beautiful. Her sons take turns having her to supper every night, and her great grandchildren can still come and roll down the hills outside her house.

It’s a good reward for a good life. It’s enough of a reward for Priscilla, who wonders what she did to earn the town’s recognition.

“She said she didn’t deserve the cane,” Douglas said. “She feels she didn’t do anything to deserve it. We all say she did.”

Priscilla settles any mixed feelings with a philosophical approach.

“I guess I could say I’m happy to be eligible,” she said.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642
[email protected]

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