Old Woman in the Shoe Project Nears Completion

May 2, 2014

by Lynne Ober

Nearly two years ago, a troop of 8-year-old Girl Scouts decided to make sure the “Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe” had a refurbished home in Benson Park.

“This is a project that required fundraising, long-term commitment, planning and enthusiasm,” said their leader Beth Baker.  “Normally you would see a project of this size done by senior Girl Scouts.  My girls are only eight, but they wanted to do this and I made sure that they completed every step of the planning, but we couldn’t have done this without help and support from Hudson community members.”

The community first became aware that this tiny group of Girl Scouts was going to refurbish the interior of the shoe on a bright, sunny day at Benson Park when the girls gave away lemonade and cookies and asked for any donation to support their efforts.  From this beginning fundraiser, these young girls ultimately raised more than $800.

They did refurbish the interior of the shoe, and the old woman and her children are undoubtedly much more comfortable.

This past Saturday under gray, rainy skies, with the help of two supporters, life-long Hudson resident Roger Pellerin, who owns Gate City Monument on West Hollis Street in Nashua, donated an engraved granite block that has the Mother Goose nursery rhyme about the “Old Woman who Lived in a Shoe.”  Roger, who is the proud grandfather of one of the Girl Scouts, and his son Scott, who is the father, donated their time as well as the monument.

Scott drove the Bob Cat that dug the hole for the monument.  As everyone watched, fascinated, Roger said the hole needed to be 10 inches deep in order to provide adequate footing for the monument, which weighed more than 1,000 pounds.

Once the hole was dug, Roger and Scott moved to the truck, which had a radio-operated crane that Roger ran using a Wi-Fi box.  First they secured the block to the crane arm and then ever so slowly Roger guided the large block away from the truck and into the prepared hole.  Everyone’s eyes intently watched the movement of the crane.  Just before the block was in the hole, Roger stopped it, and the girls, Roger, Beth Baker and Scott got in front of the new monument for a picture.

With the rain getting harder, Roger carefully moved the monument into the hole so that concrete could be poured around it.  It is a wonderful gift to the park from the Girl Scouts who pursued this dream, as well as all who helped them.  With the monument in place, the “Old Woman in the Shoe” will never be forgotten thanks to the generosity of Gate City Monument and the Pellerin family.

The last step will be to install a new door with a much larger window.  The Scouts have raised the money for the door, and Harry Schibanoff said the Benson Committee has a request for proposal out for roof replacement and vandalism repair of the shoe; the door could be installed as this work was done.

The Girl Scouts hope to invite Hudson residents to the ribbon cutting of their project in June.