Town of Canterbury CT

Town of Canterbury
1 Municipal Drive
Canterbury CT 06331

Lydia Greenstein

By Sheila Mason Gale

In the 1920's the Erickson family, Eric, Lyti and baby Lydia traveled around Canterbury in their wagon pulled by Harry the horse. It was the family's only transportation and Harry brought the family wherever they needed to go. In 1920 when Lydia was only ten weeks old, the Ericksons moved to Canterbury from New York City. They lived across the street from Lyti's sister, Emma Eastlund, whose family owned the local grist mill on Tracy Road.

Lydia was an only child, but there were lots of children nearby to play with, her cousins Emma, Lucy, Charlie, Ina and Helen Eastlund, Helen and Anna Romanoff, Kenneth, Glen, Karl, Marilyn and David Veit. In the winter they could go sledding right down the the middle of the Tracy Road since there was no traffic. Lydia learned how to swim and skate on the Eastlund pond across the street.

Lydia loves music. She started violin lessons at five years old from Mr. Pope and took piano lessons from Mrs. Hawes. As an adult, she studied voice in New York and I will always remember her beautiful sacred music solos during Sunday morning church services.

Lydia also liked to read and so she would go the Library in the original Town Hall, located in the spot where the Calvary Chapel parsonage is today. The Librarian was Mable Kinne. Only three books could be taken at one time, so she would take then out on Friday and read all three by the end of the weekend.

One of her family's traditions was the steam bath on Saturday nights followed by coffee and cake. Time was also spent at the Finnish Hall where there was lots of dancing and music filled the night.

Did you know Canterbury once had a maternity hospital? It was located near the intersection of Route 14 and Lisbon Road. Lydia remembers registered nurse, Nina Hansen (Fred Sacket's sister), was in charge. Her friend, Dorothy Green, was born there and she often reminds Dorothy that she remembers her birth.

When Lydia went to High School she had to walk from her house out to Route 14 to get the school bus. She was in the first graduating class of Griswold High School in 1937.

She met her husband, Ted Greenstein at her cousin, Helen Eastlund Nyland's wedding. Together they raised their three children Lisa, Eric, Carol and a foster daughter, Chris. Lydia was involved in many activities such as PTA, 4-H and director of Calvary Chapel junior choir. Eventually, she became involved in politics starting out as a Selectmen's Clerk to Bob Laws and was elected as Canterbury's Town Clerk in 1963. The Treasurer's job was added to the Town Clerk position as well. When she retired from the position, she suggested that Margurite Simpson run. Mrs. Simpson won.

She enjoys travel and has been to Alaska, Hawaii, Finland, the Caribbean, Europe and the Panama Canal to name a few vacation destinations. One of the best times she had traveling was with her Grandchildren. She took them to all the place of their heritage Finland, Norway, Russia and Poland so they could study their heritage. As a matter of fact, she celebrated her 80th birthday in Iceland.

She lived in Florida for a time and has recently moved back to Canterbury. She said when you come back home and talk to the people you knew as a child, they are the same and it was like you were never away, but you also remember places that were once cornfields and now they are developed. Lydia said she enjoys life and she enjoys herself wherever she is.

Canterbury Town Hall Office Hours:
Monday – Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Thursday: 9:00 AM – 6:30 PM, Friday: CLOSED