Lola Larmour shows off her quilt that has all of her awards from various fairs stitched into it. Morin Photo
RUSSELL – Memories, adventures and 103 years of enjoyment fill the many chapters of Lola Larmour’s life.
Lola celebrated her 103rd birthday on April 3. She is a resident of Russell Meadows and not a day goes by when someone is chatting with her.
She is a favourite resident of the retirement home.
Her life and times include 35 years working with Russell District Women’s Institute, as well as a lifetime of awards for various competitions at all the local fairs in the parts of Ontario she grew up in.
A friend of hers collected all of Lola’s awards from the Russell and Navan fairs and stitched them into a colourful quilt. The quilt is one of Lola’s special possessions.
She was born in 1919 during the flu epidemic and her parents named her Lola Maisy Stephens. Her father Walter, mother Edna, and baby Lola stayed with Walter’s parents until he was able to buy a log house along with 50 acres of land, on what is now called Russell Road, one mile west of Cheney.
“My parents put me between them to sleep,” said Lola. “It was so cold they were afraid I’d freeze, even though they kept the wood stove burning all night.”
When spring arrived, the couple insulated the outside walls of their new home with a mixture of cow patties, and sand put between the logs that made up the walls. They then covered the walls with shingles, and made paste from flour and water, and newspapers to paste the inside of the home.
Lola’s daughter put a book of her life together that covers her life from when she was a little girl in Russell to now. The book called Lola’s Life has pictures from her early life as a child, pictures of family, and of Lola over the years. Her daughter included a written history of Lola’s life including her memories of the times she grew up in.
Some of her fondest memories are about the local fairs in Navan and Russell where she won awards for her crafts year after year.
Lola survived two husbands. Her first husband Lytle had only one lung and died early in their marriage from pneumonia. Lola worked as a care-person helping her neighbours, and while looking after one family she met her second husband Howard. One day she went with Howard and his brothers and sisters for a drive. Later they would begin to date and eventually marry.
Lola is a happy person. She attributes her long life to her belief in God and hard work along with a positive attitude.
She has a great many fond memories of growing up.
“We always had a concert before Christmas at school,” she said. “A few days before Christmas, we would walk to the church two or three times to practice. I really enjoyed that. We had drills, dialogues, recitations, and songs. Mother made all our costumes and clothes.”
Lola remembers some winter nights being magical. “In the winter of 1931 when I was 12, dad and uncle Charlie built a dam at the creek, and we had lights. We made a good slide down potato hill, and we invited friends, and family members. Some brought food. Mother also made a big roast pan of baked beans. Boy what a time, we had that night. They ran wires to the house, so we had lights at the house too. We really enjoyed the winters. Some nights we didn’t need the flood lights, the moon was so bright.”
These days Lola lives comfortably and happily at the Russell Meadows Retirement Community.
Joseph Morin is the Editor of the Eastern Ontario AgriNews, and the Record. He is, despite years of practice, determined to eventually play the guitar properly. He has served the Eastern Ontario community as a news editor, and journalist for the past 25 years with the Iroquois Chieftain, Kemptville Advance, West Carleton Review, and Ottawa Carleton Review in Manotick. He has never met a book he did not like.