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Super Senior: Eugene Dauphinais - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Eugene Dauphinais

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LEBANON, N.H. -

For Eugene Dauphinais, 81, walking is a daily event. He leaves his house for an hour.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Why do you walk?

Eugene Dauphinais: Simple... exercise my legs and stuff. So I won't get no cramps, you know.

It's a routine he started 10 years ago after having a heart attack.

"The doctor told him to get out and walk, and he did what the doctor said," wife Anne said.

Just about everyone knows him in town. Most people recognize him by his walking stick.

"You walk a lot, sure. I love to walk. I see all the people; I talk to them while I'm walking," he said.

By his own account, Eugene is a no frills man. His wife, Anne, married him because he was a nice guy. They've lived in the same house for 60 years.

"Very simple. We brought up four children, not much money," Anne said. "I believe he was a workaholic."

Eugene made it through the eighth-grade and then had to work to help support his large family.

"I would give my pay to my mother to buy groceries and stuff," he said. "In those days, that's what they do."

Then at 16 he went to work at the H.W. Carter and Sons overall factory in Lebanon where he pressed pants. For over 50 years, rain or shine, Eugene walked a half mile from his house to the factory. But one day it came to an abrupt end: the factory closed.

Now, the building built in the mid-19th century is the Alliance for the Visual Arts, or AVA. It's a gallery and art center. For Eugene this isn't just a walk down memory lane, but part of an exhibit sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum called, "The Way We Worked." It showcases images of the former factory workers, like Eugene.

Joe Carroll: When you see that, you want to go back to work?

Eugene Dauphinais: Yeah. I like that pressing and cutting room.

He and other former workers are now in focus at the place so many called their second home.

"We still are feeling the presence of the factory workers. We are still picking up needles from the cracks," said Bente Torjusen, the executive director of the AVA.

During it prime time the factory employed over 100 people. It was the original blue collar clothing for the working man. For Bente Torjusen, it seemed like a natural fit to show these images.

"There's a dignity of everyone and there's a pride that they take for the work they have performed," she said.

Eugene quickly found other jobs after the overall company closed, but he glows when he talks about this place.

"I shoveled sidewalks, pathways to doors, I did that all before they came in," he recalled.

The factory may be closed, but the images of the people who kept this place humming for so many years live on.

The portraits were taken from Vermont photographer Jack Rowell. The exhibit opens to the public this Saturday.

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