Harry Emmons, 101, was recognized as Damariscotta’s eldest resident and presented with the town’s Boston Post Cane on Thursday, July 26.
Damariscotta Board of Selectmen Chair Robin Mayer and Town Manager Matt Lutkus presented Emmons with the cane and a plaque during a lobster bake at Schooner Cove, where Emmons lives.
“It was nice to see everybody,” Emmons said of the presentation.
Emmons, who was born in Jamesburg, N.J. on June 9, 1917, moved to Damariscotta six years ago at the age of 95 in order to be closer to his son, Bob, who lives in South Bristol with his wife, Holly.
Emmons’ grandson, Lee, lives in Newcastle with his wife, Becca, and their 8-year-old daughter, Natalie.
Emmons, an only child, grew up during the Great Depression. His father had a job as an accountant with the American Tobacco Co., so the family did not suffer as much as others did during that time.
Emmons was involved with many activities growing up. He played baseball and basketball, played in an orchestra, and belonged to the Boy Scouts.
“Always had a girlfriend,” Emmons joked.
Emmons missed becoming an Eagle Scout by just one merit badge, having to do with birds, but still became an assistant scoutmaster.
After graduating third in his high school class, Emmons attended Rutgers University, graduating in 1940 with a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering.
He married Doris McNulty on March 1, 1943. The two had been partners since going to a dance hall where trombonist Tommy Dorsey was playing in December 1940.
“She was engaged to a fellow by then, and I was essentially engaged to a girl, but we decided to break it off and be partners. The rest is history,” he said.
Emmons worked for General Electric until his retirement in 1982, after which he and Doris traveled the world.
They traveled to Europe six times, as well as Alaska, Hawaii, the Caribbean, and around the mainland U.S.
“I think Switzerland and Hawaii were my favorite for beauty, but England was the most interesting because of family relations,” Emmons said.
Both Emmons and his wife had relatives in England.
“We had a great time traveling,” Emmons said.
The couple lived in Winchester, Mass., from 1946 until Doris’ death in 1997. Emmons continued to live there until moving to Damariscotta.
He was active in his church and senior center in Winchester, and said that while he misses the “65 years worth of friends” he left behind, he now enjoys seeing his family multiple times a week, including for breakfast every Saturday.
“I’ve made a lot of friends here,” Emmons said. “It’s a small enough place, you get to know everybody. I made a lot of friends. I’m not very lonesome.”
When not visiting with family and friends, Emmons enjoys watching documentaries on Netflix and using his computer, very different pastimes than when he was growing up.
“The whole world is different, and I expect the next 50-100 years is going to be completely different again. You’re going to see a different world,” Emmons said. “Good or bad, I don’t know, but it will be different.”
Emmons’ grandparents lived on a farm in New Jersey, and would only see neighbors when they went to church on Sundays.
“That’s the whole concept they had of the world,” he said.
Emmons marveled at how, when his granddaughter-in-law was traveling in Iceland last year, his great-granddaughter, Natalie, could still communicate with her clearly through a smartphone.
“The change from my grandparents to them, it’s unbelievable,” he said.
Emmons said that with so much changing technology, education is very important.
“They could actually cure, prevent, several diseases. It will be amazing in the future, I think,” he said.