In Her Words
Candid profiles of strength told by the women of Northbridge
Throughout the month of March we have collaborated to celebrate Women’s History Month and the rich history of the amazing women living in our communities. Their candid stories are brimming over with love, happiness, passion, family values and the markings of individuals who have truly lived well and loved life.
Lillian’s Story (Resident of Carriage House at Lee's Farm)
What is your name?
What are the names of your parents and brothers and sisters?
Mom: Rose, Dad: Charles, Sister: Rosemary, Brother: Charles nicknamed “Sonny.”
How did you parents choose your name? Does it have a special meaning? Did you have any nicknames?
I was named after an aunt without kids of her own. She introduced my parents to one another. My nickname was “Lil” but I don’t like to be called that.
When and where were you born?
Born in Iowa in January 1923- I have the same birthday as Franklin Roosevelt.
What kinds of things did your family do together when you were young?
My family ice skated together, we played baseball in the large empty lot across the street from our house. My father put up lights so we could play in the empty lots. We sang together as a family while my mother played the piano.
What did you love to do with your friends?
My friends and I had sleepovers and pot luck suppers. We ice skated together and played tennis. We rode bicycles too. One time I rode 7 miles to the local teachers college and when I got there I realized I had I had to ride 7 miles back! Yikes!
What schools did you attend? What were your favorite subject in school?
I liked English and writing the best in school. I attended high school in Iowa and the University of Iowa for college, major in nursing (5 year program).
If married, what is/was your spouses name? How did they propose?
I married one of my patients, Francis. He was a college professor at Johns Hopkins. He came in from student health at Yale for an appendectomy (I was the nurse on the surgical ward). We got engaged after a couple months and then he went to Minnesota for his PhD program so he was gone for 3 months... we got married 2 days after Christmas and I moved to Minnesota to be with him.
What are your children’s names?
My daughters names are Annie & Kathy and my son is Steve.
What are some special memories you have about your children?
All three of my kids have a good sense of humor. They all laugh at my jokes; they’re great kids!
Where have you lived?
Iowa, Minnesota, New Haven, Baltimore, Wayland.
Have you had jobs? Who did your work for and what did you do?
I was a nurse- primarily working in surgical wards. I also worked on a pediatric opthalmological diabetes study at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
What are your hidden talents?
I like to sing and I am pretty funny. I’m good at word games/crossword puzzles. I was a good student and even the valedictorian.
What did you do to get through the difficult times in your life?
I was lucky not to have too many difficult times in my life.
Do you have holiday traditions? What do you do for the holidays?
When I was young, my sister and I both sand with the junior choir at church and my brother was an altar boy so Christmas Eve was very special for us as we were always a part of the midnight mass/ Christmas Eve services every year.
What are some of your favorite things?
Color- My favorite color is sky blue but I like all colors.
Flower- My favorite flower is the rose. We had such a nice garden behind my house in Maryland. I love flowering trees that grew around my house.
Books- My husband wrote several books- those are my favorite! He dedicated them all to either me or our kids.
Songs- I like all music, especially violins. I love so many songs and I like to sing.
Foods- My favorite foods are generally all fruits: cherries, watermelon, especially apples and even lemons! You’ll have a hard time finding a fruit I don’t like!
Pet- My favorite pet is my daughters dog, he’s big and white and fluffy and smart.
What are some personal experiences that have especially touched your heart?
A special time in my life was when my husband and I met.
What are your favorite thing to do at Carriage House?
I like to participate in bingo and other programs at Carriage House.
What do you hope for your children and grandchildren?
I think I gave them a very good father who they love. They should choose for themselves, they’re lucky that they can.
What is your biggest piece of advice?
If you’re generous and care about the country and people, you could or even should be a politician.
Sum your personality up in one word...
Fun fact about Lillian: she is a Veteran, she was an Army nurse.