I consider myself a political junkie only once every four years when the nation’s first primary hits New Hampshire like a whirlwind. I’ve met politicians by accident and by design in coffee shops, fairs, apple orchards, and other everyday places. Londonderry’s Old Home Day, and Derry’s MaryAnn’s Diner seem to be a destination spot for presidential hopefuls. Most of these wanna-bes have gone on to obscurity, but some have become quite memorable characters. A few of these wanna-bes have even become president of the United States!
Surrounding all the hoopla are other characters. Once every four years TV personalities come to New Hampshire, and of course they are reporting the news. Some New Hampshire residents try to take advantage of the media and press crunch to push their own agendas. And residents, like Granny D., have used the press to bring change.
Granny D. was Doris Haddock. She was born in Laconia, New Hampshire on 24 January 1910 and died yesterday, 9 March 2010, just after her 100th birthday. In the years 1999 and 2000 she spent fourteen months walking across the United States advancing her cause of campaign finance reform. In 2004, at age 94, she even ran as a challenger to the incumbent senator Republican Judd Gregg. You can read her obituaries on line, and on Wikipedia and other websites.
This morning Governor John Lynch made a statement about Granny D. from the statehouse in Concord, New Hampshire. “Granny D was a true New Hampshire treasure, embodying the spirit that makes this such a great state. Granny D proved to us all that one person really can make a difference. Granny D’s passion and commitment inspired tens of thousands of Americans to get involved and push for change to the campaign finance system.” Republican and Democratic politicians both praised her, including former Governor Sununu and U.S. representative Paul Hodes.
Granny D. not only defied convention by doing all this in her golden years (she was nearly 90 when she began her famous walk) but she is symbolic of the New Hampshire spirit. “Live Free or Die!” And Granny D. certainly tried to live by this motto.
My favorite Granny D. quote: "I want to plant a few more seeds here and there before they plant me."
A collection of NH primary political buttons
For more information on Granny D.,
AKA Ethel Doris (Rollins) Haddock:
Wikipedia Granny D. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doris_Haddock
BBC story on Granny D. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/8559169.stm
Foster’s Daily Democrat (a Dover, New Hampshire newspaper) on Granny D. http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20100310/GJNEWS_01/703109836/-1/FOSNEWS
Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo