You would never know to look at her, yet it’s true, Laurette Atkins, just celebrated her 82nd birthday on November 2, 2016! She is still active, youthful and visits Glen Road every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon to provide respite for an appreciative parent and their lucky infant.
Laurette thrives on keeping busy, and started her active lifestyle on the farm where she was born in HamNord, Quebec. Laurette was the 4 th of 14th children and at the precocious age of seven was using the farm’s horse and buggy to deliver the milk from the family’s dairy cows to neighbors. Her responsibilities didn’t end there; she also helped to boil the water to sterilize the glass bottles to be refilled for the second delivery of the day, as this was a time with no refrigeration or electricity!
The family moved to Underhill Center in 1949 when she was 14 years old, and she entered the two room school house only speaking French. In two short years she became fluent in English, graduated from 8th grade and at 16 years of age began working outside her home. She held multiple jobs, working in homes cleaning and caring for children and continued to advance and learn new skills ending up at the Forest Hill Department Store, where she managed the Boy’s Department until her marriage in 1960.
Laurette and her husband, Bill met and married in 1960 had a son, Tom and seven years later a daughter, our own Ann Atkins! Bill passed away in 1977, and Laurette raised Ann and Tom as a single parent. Later, two grandchildren, Tom’s son, Caleb, and Ann’s son, Dustin, added to Laurette’s joy. Laurette had a very close relationship with her mozther, and the two had many happy adventures traveling in the US and Europe.
When she is not at Lund caring for infants and their parents, Laurette enjoys bowling weekly and serves breakfast to seniors (most of which are younger that she is!) at her church and enjoys playing cards and visiting her 11 siblings who all live in Vermont as often as possible.
When I asked Laurette, what she liked best about coming to Lund, she said without a moment’s hesitation, “I look forward to seeing the babies!” And I have to say, we look forward to seeing Laurette, her smile and engaging heart are such a gift to us all, those babies sure are lucky, but so are each of us to know this amazing woman.
Thank you so much Laurette for your loving heart and service to families living in our residential program!