Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lulu

"We have a relative named Lulu? Sweet!" These were the words of my niece when I mentioned that my blog post would be on my great-great-grandmother, Lulu Dunn Wardlow.

I first learned of Lulu when I found her obituary in my grandmother's Bible. I asked my dad if he knew her. He said he did and that "she was a nice old lady." He couldn't tell me much more, except that he remembered his grandmother's family discussing Lulu's walking a half mile across a field to her daughter's home . . . at the age of 90.

Lulu Dunn was born to Robert and Elmina Shaw Dunn on August 20, 1854 in Sardinia, Ohio. She married John Reese Wardlow on August 3, 1873. They had nine children, the second of whom was my great-grandmother, Dora Elma Wardlow. John Wardlow was a farmer.

The first picture I saw of Lulu was the one below, of a family gathering, probably in the early to mid-1930s. Lulu is second from the left in the back row. I had a hard time picturing this unassuming elderly lady hiking a half mile to visit her daughter.


Then a distant relative was kind enough to share a picture of a younger Lulu. Now, this lady could walk half a mile across a field and harvest a crop and wrestle a bear on her way. She is neat as a pin and has a look of quiet determination. She looks kind and reliable. And I bet her children didn't have to wait until their father came in from the fields to be disciplined.

The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps I'm reading too much into this picture of Lulu. However, I'm sure the same words could be used to describe any number of other women of her generation. They weren't famous and aren't mentioned in history books. All they did was raise children and work until their hands were raw and nurse sick children (who sometimes didn't survive) and send their sons off to war. As my niece would say, "Sweet!"

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