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.
Lois’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: Beatrice, Dad: Leslie, Brother: Leslie Jr., Sister: Jean.
How did your parents choose your name? Does it have a special meaning? Did you have any nicknames?
As a child I didn’t want to call myself Lois so I called myself LoLo. My father was a minister and one time in church when I was 4 years old I stood up at a quiet moment and announced loudly “It’s time for LoLo to go home!” I made quite the splash at church. I was named Lois because my mother read a book with a character named Lois. She was particularly fond of the character and named me after her. According to her, the book was the Bible.
When and where were you born?
I was born in 1929 in Stinson Hospital in Maine. At the time, my dad was going to the seminary and that’s where my mother met him, at a church gathering.
What kinds of things did your family do together when you were young?
We went on lots of picnics in the summer. In Winter, we’d all sit around together in a group and my dad would make popcorn. We would play games like Chinese checkers and eat popcorn and laugh. My dad would take us out for rides in the car and often he would take us for an ice cream cone at Thatchers.
What did you love to do with your friends?
We would go ice skating a lot in the Winter at the pond nearby. We would clear the snow off the pond after it froze over. We would go on swimming trips at the beach in the summer, around once a week at least, my sister and I could each bring a friend. My dad was always busy on Sundays because he was a minister, so we would try to get to the beach a different day of the week. I remember the water in the ocean was always very cold and it would take us a long time to acclimate to the temperature but it was always worth the wait and lots of fun!
What schools did you attend? What were your favorite subjects?
I went to elementary and high school in Bangor, graduating from Bangor High School in 1946. I didn’t go to college until after my husband passed away when I was in my early 60’s at which point I decided to go back to school to get a certificate as a Group Chief Operator. I used this certificate to train groups of women how to become operators.
If married, what is/was your husband’s name? How did he propose?
My husband’s name was Charles. He was a football player in high school. After a game one night, we went out with a group of friends for sodas at the soda fountain and on the way home he asked if I loved him enough to marry him. He was quite a character and I recall he asked me that night if I would be able to spend the rest of my life with him. I said yes! After Charley passed away, I dated a dear friend and neighbor named Ed until his passing about 4 years later. He was a true gentlemen and a great friend and I feel lucky to have had him in my life if not just for a brief period of time.
What are your children’s names?
My children’s names are Gary and Linda.
What are some special memories you have about your children?
My son as a little boy was forever climbing, either up on the cupboard or on the back of the couch to touch the pictures on the wall. He used to pull the drawers out from under the counter and use them as steps to climb up to the counter and cupboards. I can still see him clear as day doing this. My daughter, we used to call her “nasty neat” because she would line up all of her toys perfectly but she wouldn’t actually play with them.
Where have you lived?
I was born in Bangor, Maine. We moved around every 6 years or so because my father, as a minister, felt he ran his course in any given community after about 6 years. After Bangor, we moved to Presque Isle and then back to Bangor with my family. While my husband was in the service we lived at Barksdale Air Force Base in Shreveport, Louisiana. My husband went overseas and I went back to Bangor to be near family while he was gone. When he got out of the service, we moved to Concord, NH.
Have you had jobs? Who did you work for and what did you do?
When I was in high school, I worked at the local drug store at the soda fountain. Later, when I was grown, I was a switchboard operator. Then, after years of working the switchboard, I got certified to be a trainer and train other women to become operators.
What are your hidden talents?
I love crafts and though I don’t feel like I’m creative, I love following other’s patterns and ideas. Once in a great while, I will try to create from scratch with great success but mostly, I enjoy working on almost any type of crafting project that is presented to me. I love to make people laugh and to that effect I enjoy, at time, acting ridiculous if it brings joy to others. I believe that is a hidden talent!
What did you do to get through the difficult times in your life?
I said a lot of prayers! I also did a lot of thinking to decide what was the best way to handle a difficult or challenging situation. I didn’t want to ever take the easiest path, I always wanted to take the right path and often this required me to be as mindful and thoughtful as possible. I felt that this process was the best for me and the right thing to do. I also tried to stay very busy and not give myself too much time to overthink something.
Do you have holiday traditions? What do you do for the holidays?
As kids, we always hung our Christmas stockings on the mantle, so as an adult I had my children do that very thing. We used to go caroling as a group with our church around the holidays. The group was all children with an adult chaperone. I loved this so much that when I became an adult, I carried on the tradition and took groups of kids out caroling at the holidays. Now, for the holidays, I love to be with my family even though it is not always possible. If I can’t be with them in person, I always reach out over the phone. Being a former telephone operator, I do love calling people. I almost never wrote letters!
What are some of your favorite things?
Favorite colors? Green
Favorite flowers? Roses
Favorite books? I’m not much of a reader but if I read books it would definitely be something from the mystery genre
Favorite songs? Somewhere over the rainbow
Favorite foods? Chinese food
Favorite pets? We always had a dog so I do love dogs
What are some personal experiences that have especially touched your heart?
I had a good friend who lost her husband and I felt very good about how I supported her at this trying time. I encouraged her to focus on the good memories and that seemed to ease her pain.
What are your favorite things to do now?
I love to socialize with friends and to go out for dessert! I just love life and I like everything about it. I take it day by day but I have been so blessed and feel like I have had a truly great life.
What are you favorite experiences to partake in at Carriage House at Lee’s Farm?
I love to participate in the craft programs and I love the entertainment and when we have musical performances. I also love going on the trips to get out and see the scenery. I am very active and like to participate in a variety of activities. I sign up for everything and I like to stay busy from the time I wake up in the morning until I go to bed in the evening. I don’t generally watch much television and would rather be spending time with my neighbors and friends.
What do you hope for your children and grandchildren?
I hope they have had all the privileges and opportunities that I was afforded. I wish for my kids and grand kids that they have good health, happiness and love in their lives.
What is your biggest piece of advice?
Take one day at a time and do the best you can with it.
Sum your personality up in 1 word?
Bizarre! Or maybe, Winsome! Definitely Affable!