December 16, 2007

LuLu Belle

Posted in Jenn, Belarus at 1:20 pm by Jenn

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After reading StacyJill’s post, The Beauty of the Internet I became inspired to write about a topic that I’ve been putting off for a while, My Grammy. My Grammy, Mary Lou Fowler. Born LuLu Belle Sweeney in February of 1909. My Grammy died on July 17, 2007 at the tender young age of 98. My Grammy a Vermonter through and through. Wisdom, kindness, generosity, selflessness, warmth, curiosity, tranquility, graciousness, strength, integrity are just a few of the words that come to mind when I think her.

When I was moving overseas my mom gave me three things: The Knitting Answer Book and two pictures of my Grammy. The book has come in very handy and I’ve attached the two pictures to this post. My favorite is the one with the so called “hat”. It’s actually a plant pot with a scarf and bow attached. I know what you are thinking and no, she was 100% there, sharp as a pin. She made the hat herself to attend some bonnet luncheon at her church (we think in 1997). She wasn’t a dress up kind of girl, so she probably didn’t have a fancy hat, or if she did it was buried so far back in her closet she couldn’t find it. What she did have was a greenhouse full of plant pots and a great sense of humor.

The last time I saw my Grammy was on our family vacation to the Outer Banks this past summer. She had broken her hip a few months earlier and was walking with the assistance of a walker but was still the same Grammy. One of the things she enjoyed most was books. She was fond of all types of books, but really enjoyed history and autobiographies of historical figures. I enjoyed shopping for her around the holidays. What do you get a 98 year old visually and hearing impaired woman for Christmas? You get her books on tape, books about Eleanor Roosevelt, books covering events of the past 100 years, books about the Kennedy’s, books about women’s history. You even get her Harry Potter so that she “can see what all the fuss is about”.


What do you talk about with this 98 year old Grammy? You talk about whatever you want to talk learn more about, she’s been alive for 98 years. She can tell you what life was like in the early 1900’s. She can tell you about life during 6 major wars. She can tell you about Calvin Coolidge and 13 other Presidents of the United States. You talk about the birds, the flowers, quilting, knitting, cooking and the garden. You talk about the lake, Champ and fossils. You talk about how South Hero has changed over the years, and you quote a poem about the wind blowing on Lake Champlain. You talk about apples, apple pie and cheddar cheese, and the creamies at Big Daddy’s. You talk about family history and learn about your ancestry.

When she’s gone you can’t talk about these things, but you can remember. You can remember and you can share your memories. I didn’t write these stories down, and I’m regretting that now. I’m lucky enough to have a letter that she wrote to me before she lost her eyesight with all of the information she remembers about the family history, who’s who and where we came from. I’ve been slowing putting the information in to a family tree, but I’m going to complete that project now as a tribute to her and her memory. I’m going to have it completed by her birthday on February 3 of the upcoming year.

While this post doesn’t even begin to sum up my feelings for her, it’s a good start. There will be more posts related to her in coming months as I continue with my healing process. She truly was a remarkable woman.
Jenn, 38, Belarus



  1. notgoth said,

    Your post gave me goosebumps! Your grammy sounds like a remarkable lady.

    I love the fact you are doing your family tree – I am too, although I’ve been slack of late. It’s fascinating.

  2. stacyjill said,

    Jenn, that was beautiful. I completely understand what you mean about the stories. My grandfather (who passed in September,) was always telling the most intricate stories about his life. He could remember the tiniest details as to what someone was wearing. It was amazing. I am truly sad that I didn’t take the opportunity to have him record these stories, but they will always remain in my memories of him.

    Happy Holidays!!!

  3. sjsmart said,

    NG – Family trees are fascinating. The names, the dates, putting it all together. Once all the pieces are together the final product is you.

    SJ – Thank you for the inspiration. I’m sorry to hear about the loss of your grandfather….here’s to our memories of our loved ones this holiday season, Cheers!

  4. Nadine said,

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful memories.

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