The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Dixie Tymitz. Courtesy photo.

See Granny D: The Power of One

Dublin Community Center: 1281 Main St., Dublin, Thursday, Oct. 13, at 7 p.m.
MainStreet BookEnds: 16 E. Main St., Warner, Saturday, Oct. 15, at 2 p.m.
Hampshire Country School: 28 Patey Circle, Rindge, Sunday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m.
Conway Public Library: 15 Greenwood Ave., Conway, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 6:30 p.m.
Gale Library: 16 S. Main St., Newton, Wednesday, Oct. 19, at 6:30 p.m.
Milford Unitarian Universalist Church: 20 Elm St., Milford, Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m.
The Inn at East Hill Farm: 460 Monadnock St., Troy, Sunday, Oct. 23, at 7 p.m.
Admission by donation. 

Presenting Doris Haddock
Granny D: The Power of One tours NH

By Kelly Sennott

 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, resident Dixie Tymitz is often surprised to learn some Granite Staters still don’t know about Doris Haddock, a Dublin woman who walked more than 3,200 miles across the United States to advocate for campaign finance reform between the ages of 88 and 90.

Though to be fair, Tymitz was in the same position when she first read Granny D: Walking Across America in My 90th Year.
“I was amazed that I didn’t even know this woman existed. I thought, people need to know about her!” Tymitz said via phone.
Today, Tymitz is getting the word out through a 40-minute, one-woman play she wrote based on Haddock — a.k.a. Granny D — called Granny D: The Power of One, which stops at about 20 venues this fall. Most are in New Hampshire; the next locally is Saturday, Oct. 15, at MainStreet BookEnds in Warner.
Tymitz requested permission to turn the story into a play shortly after reading the book in 2005. She was going to be spending a semester at sea with her husband, John Tymitz, president of the Institute of Shipboard Education at the time.
“I told [Haddock] I wanted to do this for a group of college students from all over the world, and she wrote me back, giving me her written permission,” Tymitz said.
But how could Tymitz write about someone she’d never met? She called Haddock, but Haddock’s daughter Libby answered bearing bad news: Haddock, in her late 90s at the time, was sick and unable to see visitors.
Tymitz waited a bit, but instead of calling the family back, she booked a ticket to Manchester and drove to Dublin. She’d never been to New Hampshire before — she can’t even remember where she stayed that night — but the next morning, she called Haddock’s number and essentially said, “I’m here!”
“Libby said, ‘Well, she is better now — if you come, she could probably talk for only 10 minutes,’” Tymitz said. “I found my way to their house … and this little old lady opened the door with a big smile. It was Granny D, and we spent the whole day together.”
Tymitz’s first performance was at sea in front of students, professors and crew.
“It was well-received, and I just decided, I have to do this more,” Tymitz said. “I got involved with this little old lady, and I thought, it must be a calling.”
The piece has since seen many edits. Today, Tymitz performs Granny D: The Power of One as Haddock herself, who was virtually an unknown former Manchester shoe factory secretary and great-grandmother when she became an avid campaign finance reform activist at age 88. 
On Jan. 1, 1999, Haddock began a trek from the Rose Bowl Tournament of Roses Parade in California to Washington, D.C., to attract support, walking about 10 miles each day for 14 months and attracting a great deal of media attention along the way. When she finished on Feb. 29, 2000, she was 90.
“Nobody wanted her to do this. They said she was crazy, even her friends,” Tymitz said. “I’ve got to tell you, I love the women here in New Hampshire. They are their own feisty kind. ... I think Granny D was just typical of that — nothing was going to stop her.”
Haddock’s political career was hardly over; a couple months later, she was arrested for demonstrating in the Capitol, and in 2004, she was the Democratic candidate for New Hampshire’s U.S. Senate seat, capturing 34 percent of the vote but losing to Judd Gregg. A year before she died in 2010, she founded the Coalition for Open Democracy, which today is a New Hampshire movement to strengthen democracy and stop the corrupting influence of special interest money in politics. The group helped organize Tymitz’s tour, which stops at schools, libraries, churches and senior and community centers until the end of October.
Tymitz and her husband (the “techie” of the duo) are touring as a public service. Their only payment is by donation. But Tymitz feels this is what she’s supposed to be doing.
“It’s like [Haddock] jumped on my back and won’t let go,” Tymitz said. “She proved that a nobody, who’s not famous, who doesn’t have a lot of money, can do a lot, and I think that’s really important.”

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