PETERBOROUGH — The town's new Boston Post Cane recipient is an adventurer at heart who had always yearned to put down roots in her ancestral home of Peterborough.
"This is really something," 101-year-old Anne Sharples Frantz said at her Boston Post Cane reception ceremony at RiverMead retirement community last week.
Frantz was born in April 1912 in Belmont, Mass., but soon moved to Montclair, N.J., where she spent much of her early childhood. When she was about 12, her mother died. Then Frantz spent a year in California, where one of her aunts home-schooled her, which fed her adventurous nature."
Instead of sitting around in a classroom, they would go to Yosemite," said her son, Bill Frantz of Los Gatos, Calif.Her father was working in California at the time as an asphalt road consultant. "He was helping to build what is now Los Angeles," Bill Frantz said.
After about a year, her family returned to Cambridge, Mass., where she attended high school and then Radcliffe College, her mother's alma mater.
"I never thought of going anywhere else," Anne Frantz said.
Frantz was an avid climber and a member of the American Alpine Club.
In the mid-1930s, she led an all-female ascent of the largest tower in the Grand Teton range in Wyoming.
"She always referred to it as the manless ascent," her son said.
His wife, Peri Frantz, wrote a book of her mother-in-law's adventure stories as part of her 100th birthday celebration last year. The book is for sale at the Peterborough Historical Society.As an adult, she made her home in Garden City, N.Y. She married Wilbert Frantz in 1941 and had her son. The couple divorced in 1954.
That's when her travels, mostly around the United States, really began, she said.
Peri Frantz recalled hiking through Death Valley in California with her on a family trip during which she carried her grandson in a pack on her back.
"I'm impressed. The lady impresses me," Bill Frantz said of his mother.
But Anne Frantz's heart was always in Peterborough.
"Her mother was Ruth Morison, part of the Morison clan," Bill Frantz said.
Back in the 1750s, the Morisons were one of the town's founding families, Peri Frantz said.
And the family continues to live in town today.
Growing up, Anne Frantz summered in Peterborough every year except for the year she lived in California.
"I always came back to Peterborough. I never wanted to be anywhere else," she said. "All my life since I was a little girl, I have wanted to go to Peterborough."
In 1995, her lifelong dream of living year-round in Peterborough was realized when she joined the RiverMead community as one of its first residents.
The Boston Post Cane is a New England tradition of bestowing the eldest community member with a gold-topped cane.