Fremont youth brings an education 100 years in the making to school
Union Leader Correspondent | February 11. 2014 6:13PM
The 7-year-old second-grader thought it would be pretty cool to bring his great-grandfather to Ellis School for a "show and tell."
"It was the 100th day of school and he's turning 100," Sam explained.
His great-grandfather, long-time Manchester resident Joseph F. Nelson, will celebrate his 100th birthday on March 2, which also happens to be Dr. Seuss's birthday.
"He's the oldest person I know," said great-granddaughter Sydney Toscano, a 6-year-old kindergarten student.
Others wanted to know what school was like. There was a collective gasp when he explained how there were no school buses and he never had snow days because kids walked to school.
Nelson was born at home in a blizzard and grew up in the Bronx. He moved to Manchester in 1968 to become the project manager for the Millyard.
When someone asked Nelson to share one of his secrets to a good life, he replied, "A good wife."
"I had a good life with my wife. She was my inspiration," he said.
Nelson had no trouble recalling the dates of milestones throughout his life. He remembered getting electricity for the first time in 1924 when he was in fifth-grade and his first color TV in the 1950s.
His favorite TV show was "The Ed Sullivan Show," his favorite dance step was the waltz, and his favorite baseball player was Babe Ruth.
"That's it?" a boy shouted out in surprise.
His great-granddaughter, fifth-grader Breanna Gates, 10, had no idea he was coming to school.
"I thought it was cool that he could remember all of that stuff," she said.
Second-grader Emerald Albrecht, 7, was surprised to learn that a dentist at school pulled some of his teeth.
Another student asked if there were bullies when he went to school.
"Every school has bullies," he said.
"Did the snow ever get so high that when you opened your door there was a wall of snow? I've always wanted that to happen," said 8-year-old Corbin Straw. Nelson couldn't recall encountering such a situation.
"I said, 'I'm so old I wonder if I can talk to the kids?'" But in the end, he was glad he came, told his story, and delivered free Dr. Seuss books to the second-graders in honor of next month's birthday.