New Hampshire Slanguage: “It was a floorer.”

1950s Manchester NH. Pete Webster pointing a toy gun at his sister (me) who had thought we were on the same side. Maybe he just wanted his hat back. “It was a floorer.”

I was researching and came across a saying that I remember my father using, though it is rare for me to hear it today. When something happened that was totally a shock and surprise that made you speechless, you would describe it saying, “it was a floorer.”

This is an interesting colloquialism to be sure. It hints at someone hitting the floor from being faint with the thought of an event or sight. I am sure most people can relate to this sort of experience. Continue reading

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New Hampshire WWI Military: “Hello Girl” Lydia C. Gelinas of Nashua

Photograph of Lydia Gelinas of Nashua NH, New Hampshire’s first ‘Hello Girl;’ from a 1918l Nashua newspaper.

In a previous story 2 years ago I wrote about Agnes Theresa (Houley) O’Brien, a Groveton NH woman who moved to Boston and eventually ended up in Europe working for the United States Army as an telephone operator there. Agnes was not sent to France until October of 1918, and so the woman I am writing about here, Lydia Gelinas, was probably New Hampshire’s first “Hello Girl” of WWI.

When America went to war, a primary need was to set up a communication’s network. They needed skilled telephone operators fluent in England and French (or German or Italian, etc. depending on their assignments). New England was one place where many of the women telephone operators were bilingual. Continue reading

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Merrimack New Hampshire’s Boston Post Cane

Photograph of a New Hampshire Boston Post Cane (this one from Hampton NH). Photos courtesy Bill Teschek, Lane Memorial Library – 2004. Used with permission.

I recently wrote about a custom unique to New England, namely the awarding of the Boston Post Cane.  I won’t be repeating all that background data, and instead focus on one New Hampshire town’s oldest cane recipients.

Suffice it to say that in 1909 the Boston Post newspaper sent out gold-tipped ebony canes to several hundred New England towns, with a letter urging them to bestow the cane on worth citizens of their towns. Merrimack, Hillsborough County, New Hampshire was among those who received one. Continue reading

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Lost Faces of WWI: More Gold Star Nurses

Photograph of nurse Grace Lee Malloch from a 1919 Massachusetts newspaper. SEE her story below.

In 2017 I posted a story about some of the World War I nurses (sometimes called ‘Gold Star Nurses’) who lost their lives in service.  I also wrote extensively about New Hampshire’s nurses, telephone operators and other women who gave up their lives in that war.  In this story I write about WWI nurses who do not have a New Hampshire connection, but who seem to have been forgotten.

The famed Walt Whitman wrote, “The marrow of the tragedy is concentrated in the hospitals. . . . Well it is their mothers and sisters cannot see them–cannot conceive and never conceived these things. . . . Much of a Race depends on what it thinks of death and how it stands personal anguish and sickness . . . .” —  Memoranda During the [Civil] War. Continue reading

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New Hampshire Glossary: The Boston Post Cane

Boston Post newspaper headline in August 1909.

New Hampshire (like New England) has historically been home to iconic people, events and objects. Grouped together they make our home wonderfully unique, unconventional and distinctive.  Among these is the tradition of the Boston Post Cane.  If you live in New England you’ve probably read something about it, but you may also have been misinformed. Continue reading

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