Corey Perrine | Photojournalist

Essay: Senior Class

Senior Class was a photo column that appeared weekly in The Nashua Telegraph for a year. It was a project chronicling the highs, lows and reality of growing old.

Its purpose was to bridge understanding between two generations: youth and seniors.

Some images made the cut initially, others didn't. However, here is how I envisioned its entirety.

Pictures of the Year International 67 named it Best Photo Column

  
David Hamblett, 86, of Hudson, looks over some photos May 8 at his home in Hudson. He claims he is no hero, but he served his country honorably during World War II. When conflict broke out with Japan, David Hamblett, then in Exeter, decided to enlist in the Navy Reserves. “Tom Brokaw calls us the greatest generation but there are a lot of generations. From the Civil War on up, anybody been to war they all went through the same thing, different areas, that’s all…we (WWII veterans) don’t agree that we’re the greatest generation,” Hamblett said.
  
Sandy Dufor of Windham laughs with Glenn Hamlin of AmeriGas Friday, Oct. 20 at Brooks Pharmacy in Londonderry. Dufor has been dressing up every day for the past 13 years celebrating major and obscure holidays. Friday she dressed as a popcorn box commemorating National Popcorn Month.
     
  
She wanted to spend her retirement years traveling but didn’t imagine it in this form.In the late 1970s, Dorothy “Dottie” Welch, of Nashua, lost her husband Raymond, 56, a taxi driver, to a heart attack.Welch decided to take up Raymond’s profession but says she’s not “driving in his memory ” and is at peace with his passing. She stuck with the taxi industry because she knew the business. She was already working for a local cab company at the time in an office role. It only made sense to get behind the wheel.“I was expecting it,” Welch said. “A couple weeks before he died, he said, ‘You know, I’m getting worse day by day. I can feel it. I don’t know what you are going to do without me.’”
  
Roland Lafebvre kisses his wife Joyce after giving her a new engagement ring on her 83rd birthday while grandson Larry Grillo top, supports as well as long-time friend Eileen Bradley at the Lafebvre home in Nashua. According to Roland, Joyce's engagement ring was stolen while on vacation in Florida in the 1970's. Recently, he had it reconstructed from memory by a local jewler and topped off with a 1/2 carat diamond as a symbol of his love. Joyce has suffered from Alzheimer's dizease for over a decade and needs personal attention for mobility. Despite it all,
  
<p>When Bruce Wasson, 63, attends a body building competition, you could say he’s alone at the top. That’s because he’s almost always the oldest to enter his division. And because there are usually no competitors in his age category, he has to bump down a class.</p><p></p><p>For the past nine years, he’s been lifting and winning against considerably younger entrants.</p><p></p><p>“It’s like a piece of candy, I couldn’t stop doing them,” Wasson said. Five years ago he came in first place at a competition in Manchester and has placed multiple times along the way. “At my age, everybody should have a hobby,” Wasson said. “Some go golfing, some go fishing. Me? It was coming to the gym.”</p>
     
  
Charlie Brien motions to friends before taking a picture with Brooke Palladino, 17, both of Milford Thursday, June 18 at the Isle of Ledgewood senior community. Milford High School graduates came to mingle and dance with seniors in their own
  
Mary Ray, 114, shakes the hand of her son Donald, 84, both of Westmoreland during a visit Tuesday, Aug. 18 at Maplewood Nursing Home in Westmoreland. Mary is the third oldest living person in the world currently. She was born May 17, 1895 in New Brunswick, Canada during Grover Cleveland's U.S. presidency.
  
Joan McMahon competes in the evening gown portion of the Ms. New Hampshire Senior America pageant Nov. 22 at the Derryfield Performing Arts Theatre in Manchester. Born deaf, she is the only non-hearing contestant but says her condition is not a
     
  
<p>While the details are a bit fuzzy, Velma Lodge’s life is quite focused. In 1991, Lodge lost her license after being declared legally blind. “When it gets beyond 20/200 they just don’t bother to measure it, as far as a number is concerned,” she said.</p><p></p><p>Lodge was born with a degenerative vision disorder. While each case is different, Lodge had been fortunate the first 65 years. However, now 85 years old, the last 20 years has been challenging</p><p></p><p>“One of the hardest things besides giving up driving, was learning to slow down . . . I’d be in tears at times,” Lodge said. </p>
  
Norm Babineau, 81, of Fitchburg, Mass., describes his descent after jumping out of an airplane at Skydive Pepprell Aug. 22.
  
From left, Norm Benjamin of Nashua has an intravenous needle inserted into his arm from Registered Nurse Ellen Gould while granddaughter Cheyenne Maloney, 12, of New Ipswich can't bear to watch Thursday, April 23 at Nashua oncology hematology section of Southern New Hampshire Medical Center.
     
  
Constance Boldini, 77, of Hancock, reflects on her current life in prison Sept. 30 in Goffstown. Constance Boldini, 77, entered the prison system on May 14, 2009, and is eligible for parole March 14, 2013. She is the oldest female inmate currently in the state. Until then, her new home is made of cinderblock, metal and concrete.Boldini was convicted of criminal solicitation for second-degree murder. Her sentence was 4½ to 15 years behind bars. Boldini claims the courts have listed the charge incorrectly. She said she is guilty of the lesser crime of conspiracy to commit second-degree murder and she is appealing her conviction.“Both me and my son and I are not troublesome people,” Boldini said, adding later, “I think I would have been better off going to trial than doing a plea bargain.”
  
Paul Blackmer, 66, of Laconia has been incarcerated since 1997 in the N.H. state prison system. He was sentenced to 50 years after becoming involved with the posession and intent to sell 48.2 pounds of marijuana. He will be 92 when paroled in 2026.It’s quite possible Paul Blackmer will die in prison. However, he’s determined to appeal his case after being convicted of conspiracy to possess marijuana with intent to sell. His sentence? Fifty years. He’d never been convicted of a crime prior to his arrest in 1994. He insists he had no such intentions with the illegal substance that fateful day in Laconia. “This whole thing has gone on because the state of New Hampshire is bound and determined to cover that evidence up. Because if I get it, they are looking at malicious prosecution … my unlawful imprisonment.”
  
Anne Kaplan, 95, of Nashua is shown the word
     
  
Robert Perrine, 67, drives with Lucy, his maltese, en route to lunch Dec. 14 in Virginia Beach, Va. After speding over 35 years as a civilian for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Washington D.C., he retired with his wife Barbette of over 20 years. He spends most of his time volunteering at Westminster-Canterbury retirement home, Thalia Lions Club and Old Donation Episcopal Church.
  
George Pessotti's life changed in 1979 when a house fire burned over 85 percent of his body. He was saved by an off duty firefighter/EMT, Bill MacMillian, who coincidentally was next door at the time of the explosion. Technology was limited in 1979 and doctors gave him a ten percent chance of survival but pulled through miraculously. In 70 days, Pessotti was out of the hospital. Since, Pessotti has undergone numerous operations to repair his skin. He's used his experience as a positive tool speaking about his life for the Phoenix foundation, getting remarried, and as well as writing a book. Here, burn scar tissue can be seen on his abdomen and arms. Pessotti's face was saved because MacMillian acted quickly, hosing down his second and third degree burns. “People love you for what you have to offer on the inside, not what you look like on the outside,” Pessotti said.
  
Steve Priest of Bedford and his friend Steve Cullinane of Sunapee, carry a kayak down to Cummins Pond Sept. 25 in the area or Dorcester and Lyme. Since retiring, Priest has become outdoor enthusasit chronicling his adventures.
     
  
Pauline
  
Shirley Maloof playfully places her head on Glynn Hofmann's shoulder during a portrait at their Nashua mobile home. The two have been a couple since falling in love in 1984.
  
Victor Tallarico, 93, of Nashua, performs on the piano in his assisted living apartment Jan. 13. Tallarico, an accomplished pianist, now only performs to those at his senior living facility during social hour. He is the father of Steven Tyler, lead singer for the rock band Aerosmith.
     
  
Patricia
  
Gerry Hebert, 85, is seen through an American flag that was flown over the U.S. Capitol building in his honor. The Army WWII veteran was held in a German concentration camp as a prisoner of war for 18 months.Aug. 13, 1944, a telegram arrived about a German shortwave radio reading, “Dear Mom, I am a prisoner of war in Germany. I am well and hope you are too, don’t worry, your son.”After five concentration camps, living on soup broth, attempted escapes via tunneling, dodging a firing squad, rounds of questioning from German officers, ducking bullets and mortar blasts and witnessing countless comrades perish, Gerry would be liberated.“The minute they (U.S. troops) came, we jumped right on those tanks,” Gerard said. “You can’t really explain the feeling you got. When you saw that American … honest to God … (crying) hold on, I’ll be okay … just a minute.”
  
Dianne Durkin, 62, of Portsmouth is the current Ms. Senior New Hampshire. Here, she is seen in portrait at her home Wednesday, Nov. 11.
     
  
Eileen Motivala, left, and her husband, Noshir, both 74 of Nashua, enter their Toyota Camary Wednesday, Aug. 19 at the Senior Center in Nashua. Both just competed a two day AARP driving course.
  
Two Great Danes Tucker, left, and Lilo, sit depressed and confused near a chair used by the late Barbara Damon, during an open house tribute at the Damon household in Hollis. Barbara, their owner, passed away from an almost decade-long illness, spinal stenosis, that ended her life last Monday, July 27.
  
A bust of Doris “Granny D” Haddock sits in her room along with birthday balloons celebrating her 100th birthday. The politician and activist galvanized the country behind campaign finance reform 10 years earlier with a 3,300-mile walk across America that spanned 14 months.After the death of her husband Jim to Alzheimer’s disease in 1993, Haddock said it was their future that pushed her, at 84, to dedicate herself to larger-than-life crusades.
     
  
Dan Hockaday, left, tends to his father, Harold