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Meet Mendon’s Eldest Resident

Looking much younger than his 98 years, Charles Salvia received Mendon's Senior Cane recently.



Just looking at Mendon's oldest resident, Charles Salvia, one would never guess he's closing in on his 99th birthday. Ask him what his secret to looking and feeling much younger than his 98 years, he answers with a giant smile, "I don't drink, don't smoke and don't chase girls."

Recently Salvia was presented with Mendon's Senior Cane, which is given to the oldest resident in town from the Council on Aging. The initial idea of the cane began in 1909 when the Boston Post handed out hundreds of canes to towns and cities throughout the state to be given to its oldest citizens. Today, only a few of the original canes still exist. However, many towns, including Mendon, continue to distribute them but have adopted a substitute cane to present instead.

Salvia was presented the Senior Cane at his home recently with his wife of 63 years, Helen, present. However, during an interview at the Senior Center weeks later, he said he was surprised when he learned he would be given the cane. "I was shocked; there are guys down there who look older than me," he laughed pointing downstairs.

Salvia grew up one of nine children in a Sicilian family in Milford. "For the most part, we all got along well. We had a lot of good times" he said. "My father was a very strict guy; there was no talking at the dinner table." Growing up during the Depression he began working at age 15 to help out. He met Helen when they both worked at the Draper Corporation and eventually the two married and moved to Mendon in 1959. He also worked at General Motors and in construction.

Having lived in Mendon for more than 55 years, Charles said he's watched the community change quite a bit over the last few decades. "It used to be more of a farming town. Now there's a lot of development," he said.

The Salvia's have a daughter, who now resides in Hopedale, as well as a granddaughter and two great grandchildren ages seven and two. "They help keep us going," said Helen.

Charles continues to keep as active as possible and up until last year was continuing to do yard work and shoveling. "He still likes to putter around the yard," said Helen.

The Board of Selectmen also recognized Charles during a February 1 meeting congratulating him on receiving Mendon's cane.




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