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Beauty in remembering

February 07, 2020 9 min read 10 Comments

Girl in pink Electra dress with flowers

We have always taken the naming of each new print very much to heart. Our Spring 2020 dresses, and their names, are more than simply beautiful – they are honorary. This season, we invited two dear Nuu-Muu friends, both of whom recently lost beloved sisters to cancer, to name a dress in their sister's honor. From there, we dedicated the rest of Spring in a similar fashion: looking back, looking forward, and celebrating. 

Joanie (sister to Judy)

Photo of Judy and Joanie as women

Judy (left above, with Joanie) is a devoted Nuu-Muu customer who has fostered a beautiful community in Florida and beyond through our Team Nuu-Muu Facebook page. She has also shared her love of life and of her sister Joanie with us in that forum.  Judy's grief at Joanie’s passing was deeply supported by other “Teamies,” which was beautiful to behold.

Joanie dress

Judy thought this was a great print to honor Joanie. “I picked this print because I felt that it was quiet and unassuming, just like Joanie was. I also liked it because it reminded me of a print that my mother would have picked for the two of us.”

Judy tells us that Joanie’s legacy is love. “After you had a conversation with her, you always came away feeling better about yourself.”

Joanie was strong – after being diagnosed with cancer when her daughter Erin was in 2nd grade, Joanie fought valiantly and without complaint, raising her daughter into adulthood. She didn’t allow cancer define her or her life.

Judy shared:

"Joanie started an after-school running club for kids that still exists today, and after she passed away, the club was renamed in her honor.

My sister was the ultimate recycler - she always found ways to make something out of nothing and have it benefit another person.  In her years as a permanent substitute teacher, she often commented on the children's lost-and-found coats that were never claimed, year after year.  She started collecting them from the school secretary in June when school was out and they were still unclaimed.”

Turns out, Joanie’s coat “ministry” grew into numerous schools giving hundreds of coats each year to needy families. That program has also now been named in her honor. I am seeing a beautiful trend.

Apparently, Joanie was also crafty.  Judy:

A funny story about my relationship with my sister.  As I mentioned, I was the athletic kid, always outside playing sports…My sister wanted no part of these adventures - she was happy staying home, sewing and knitting.  When I was a sophomore in high school, I was in enrolled in Home Economics and I hated the sewing unit.  We were required to make a dress and mine was a mess!  So, I would sneak the unfinished dress home at night, Joanie would rip out all of the mistakes, resew that part, then I would get to class early and hang the dress back up before the teacher checked our work!  I got an A - we always laughed about our ‘craftiness’!”

Photo of Judy and Joanie as girls

Dresses connected Judy and Joanie way back then…and ours proudly honors her today. We love you Judy!

 

Laurie  (sister to Connie)

Photo of Laurie and Connie in Scoop dresses

Connie (right, above, with Laurie) has been a beautiful part of Nuu-Muu for years, sharing her love of adventure on our Team Nuu-Muu Facebook page and constantly supporting other members. Her younger sister Laurie – who passed away last year after a long battle with a brain tumor – was a bright and beautiful light in her life.

Laurie dress

Connie picked this print for Laurie for several reasons. First it had a black background, which was something Laurie always liked. Connie:

The balance of color and design. Laurie did not like the bright, bold dresses and this one has a nice softness without being pastel and too quiet. She had a great balance in her life...not too much, not too little!

I also knew I would wear these colors and would choose to wear this dress a lot! Laurie would love these colors on me and wearing it often would be like wrapping her loving arms around me and squeezing me tight!”

Laurie’s gentle strength, and optimistic attitude were inspiring to all who knew her. Laurie loved her family, her career, gardening, sewing, walking…and later, when her health was compromised, reading.

Connie:

Laurie is my hero, yes 10 years younger than me, but wise beyond her years. Laurie lived for 20 years with a brain tumor and refused to let it define her character. She taught us to wake up each day to live with optimism, laugh often and move forward, even with baby steps.”

Born 10 years apart, their relationship grew closer in adulthood. When Laurie had “wee sons,” she and Connie found themselves skiing down a black diamond slope far beyond their ability. Connie:

It was working down this very scary slope that we connected with a trust and faith in each other, cementing our relationship. We just knew right then and there that no matter what challenges faced us in life we were there for each other with unconditional love and support. We laughed about this incident for years. She had purchased a lovely green ski suit and her comment was: at least I looked good!

Fast forward 18 years. Laurie had been living with the brain tumor and I knew her situation was worsening so I flew out to spend a week with her. And what a week it was! My all-time favorite memory is the picnic in the winery! We spent hours & hours sipping wine, talking, laughing, sharing our innermost thoughts and feelings and of course our usual comparison of all the Nuu-Muu dresses.

Laurie wore Pebbles that day, her favorite!

We are so honored to dedicate this dress to Laurie and to have the lovely friendship of Connie.

 

 

Marilea  (Gram to Molli)

[merrily \ ˈmer-ə-lē] – as in “merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”

Photo of Marilea in hat with big smile

Molli is Nuu-Muu’s darling and our Account Ambassador – she makes sure that the right stores get the right dresses at the right times. One of Molli’s many great fortunes is to have Marilea as a grandmother and she was over the moon to name this bright sky blue dress after her Gram.

Marilea dress from back

Molli:

“I must admit, I’m more than a bit intimidated at the idea of writing this post about my gram because she is such a light and a warmth in my life and the world, and I have no idea how to do her justice.

My gram creates the most amazing things with her hands – gardens, writings, and food – oh, the food! Breads, pies, soups, egg breakfast masterpieces. One of her cookie recipes has become such a family favorite that it’s possible that half of my sister’s and my caloric intake in high school was on the dough alone – whipping up batch after batch in the KitchenAid with our friends.  In fact, I’m eating some as a write this now from a double batch I made last week. These cookies taste like home, familiarity, comfort – which I suppose is exactly how my gram makes me feel every time I’m with her.  How she packs all of that tenderness and warmth into her slight frame is a wonder.

Photo of Marilea and Molli

[Marilea and Molli]

She calls me “Molli Darlin,” and I love it. When we were growing up, if she found my sister or me ambling around the house with fresh-out-of-the-bath wet hair, she would make us sit down and would gently blow dry our hair until it was dry and warm, so we wouldn’t get cold.

She is stylish and kind, witty and strong, and is not afraid to give you some mischievous cheek if you’re asking for it – followed by a throw-your-head-back kind of laugh.

One trait that runs strong in my family – among a myriad of other fanastic ones – is doing what others ask and expect of us; you could say we leave a legacy of “yes” in our wake.  My gram is bravely tackling the art of saying “no” through Buddhism, mindfulness, and guts. When she was growing up, girls didn’t say no – you always said yes and then went and cleaned something – preferably in heels. She is putting in the difficult work of healing the spiritual and emotional wounds she collected by being raised in a household and religion of guilt. Piece by piece, day by day, she conquers, and I see her claiming her space and voice. Let me tell you, she gets better at it every day. And sassier. And she laughs more.  She is one of the most beautiful and graceful agers I know.

One year, for her birthday, my Gram wanted to visit the property she grew up on in Northern Idaho. Grandpa drove, we grand girls sat in the back, and Gram rode shot-gun. It was a beautiful day in July, and we got to hear stories of my Gram’s childhood on the drive up – going for day-long horse rides with her sister, reading in the nooks of the forest.

When we got to the property, there wasn’t a single structure left on it and wild grasses and flowers had taken over.  All that remained were boards on a fir tree from an old laundry line and my gram’s bright memory; she noted where everything used to be as she walked, following the paths as if they were still there.  As the four of us wandered the property, she found a rhubarb plant still growing, convinced that the garden it was planted in all those years ago still existed. She carefully unfurled it from the earth, took a few stalks with the bulbs and roots attached, and returned it to its familiar plot. She and my grandpa planted those stalks back at their house in Moscow, and she has made many a tasty pie, sauce, and crisp from its abundant growth in their back yard.”

Marilea – I can’t wait to meet you! Your legacy lives on gorgeously in Molli and, I’m sure, in a zillion other people and places. And congratulations on greeting 2 beautiful great-grands in 2019.

 

Grace (great-Grandmother to Christine)

Black and white pic of Grace with flowers  Grace dress in market   

I got to name Grace, something I did mostly to honor my father. I loved the print for its subtle, timeless beauty and muted colors. Grace was my Dad’s maternal grandmother. He never met her - she died when his own dad was 6 months old. My Dad spent some time in retirement journeying to Montana to learn more about his family’s past. He found and met distant cousins. He gathered stories. He put the pieces of his family together and spent some time coming to understand the short life of his grandmother. Last year, he and his brother Dan had a beautiful gravestone placed upon her previously unmarked grave after working diligently to locate it. I profoundly appreciate their attention to this task of love. Honoring our history and considering her life makes our lives mean even more to me. So, ‘Grace’ is an acknowledgment of family, a yearning to understand and remember and, always, an elegant way to live.

Photo of Rich in blue shirt

My Dad, Rich (above):

“Margaretha Elizabeth ‘Grace’ Fox was born February 3, 1907 in Saratov, Russia. Grace arrived in Galveston, Texas on March 5, 1912 at the age of 5. She married John George "George" Marker on October 19, 1923 against the wishes of her parents. I'm guessing they were concerned about her health. Her son, Jack William Marker, your grandfather, was born on December 11, 1924 in Caspar, Wyoming, six months before Grace died. He was born in a numbered railroad car. Grandpa worked for the railroad. It is possible that Grace did as well. She died on June 4, 1925 at the age of 18 from tuberculosis in Billings, Montana.

Imagine Grace weak with TB, pregnant, living in a cold railroad car in the bitter cold winter of Caspar. It's no surprise that this was more than her body could take. I feel that we are here today because Grace died at such a young age. Having given birth to our Dad likely hastened her death. That is much of the reason that Dan and I wanted to mark her grave with a headstone.”

I am deeply touched that my Dad and my Uncle Dan honored their grandmother in this way. She died at such a tender age – my own older daughter has outlived her by almost 2 years already and still seems so young.

 

Electra (warrior goddess weirdo)

The sister print to Grace, Electra was originally named by Ashley (Nuu-Muu’s owner), somewhat randomly. For background: our brightest prints are usually Ashley’s fault. AND, energy is a big theme in Ashley’s life these days and this dress absolutely radiates energy. In 2019, Ashley became a certified Kundalini yoga instructor and has been busy sharing her own vibrant energy with the world. When we posted a sneak peek of Electra on our Team Nuu-Muu Facebook page, the brilliant suggestion was brought up by Sandi K. (thank you Sandi!!!) that Electra become our universal grandmother, a “warrior goddess weirdo” for all of us to share. So, there you have it – Electra is all of ours to share.

Electra dress

Below are two shots I recently took of Ashley - one after teaching Kundalini and another with her husband...both being weirdos.

Photo of Ashley with orange pants and candles  Photo of couple with candle and funny faces

 

Ginger (Who?????? You????)

This dress is dedicated to the sassiest among us, and to those who just need a bit more BRIGHT in their lives. And those of us who love flowers. And sunsets. We offer this one up to all – who is Ginger to you??? 

  Ginger dress   Photo of Ginger from Gilligan's Island

 

It has been a labor of love to gather and absorb these life stories and pictures. Thank you to everyone who shared in the process! We hope you love them (the reflections and the dresses) as much as we do.

 

With love,

Christine and the whole team at Nuu-Muu


10 Responses

Tracy Hug
Tracy Hug

February 11, 2020

I second Virginia Velazquez request for the secret(?) family cookie recipe!

Judy Wakeman
Judy Wakeman

February 11, 2020

I am so honored to have been asked to write about my sister Joanie. Two plus years after her long and painful death, I am finding so much joy in writing about her and picking this beautiful print – the Joanie dress is truly a healing tool for me. I love all of these stories about brave and beautiful woman. I have loved Nuu Muu since I was introduced 8 years ago but this project had captured my heart ❤️ and soul 💙🌼💙

Deborah Cadden
Deborah Cadden

February 11, 2020

Thank you for the explanations of the names of the newest dresses. You have just proved again why you are an exceptional company with an exceptional product. I agree with Virginia V. Please share Marilea’s cookie recipe.

Diana Schumacher
Diana Schumacher

February 11, 2020

Just beautiful, the amazing way you have chosen to honor these inspirational women. Love you gals at Nuu Muu ❤️

Megan McComas
Megan McComas

February 11, 2020

Love Nuu Muu’s for so many reasons, and the new prints are absolutely amazing! Reading the stories of how the dresses were named just takes it to another level. Such an amazing company and group of “teamies”. Such a wonderful tribute to family members! Thank you everyone for sharing.
Megan

Virginia Velazquez
Virginia Velazquez

February 07, 2020

And now I know, “The rest of the story.” Please share Grandma Marilea’s cookie recipe!

Fabienne Jackson
Fabienne Jackson

February 07, 2020

Just absolutely love the collection Spring 2020! Love the colors because God wanted us to live in color not just black and white! I especially like Joanie with the maize and blue colors which will be worn this fall for all the home football games for the University of Michigan in the Big House. Will think of all these stories as we travel from Connecticut to Michigan for every game.
Can’t wait to wear each of them BUT will wait a little longer as I recover from total hip replacement from 2 weeks ago…….dying to get back to exercising and walking in the pool.
Thanks for the wonderful selection and great stories!

Amy S Karasick
Amy S Karasick

February 07, 2020

Love these backstories! Thank you NM ladies for another round of amazingness!

Katya Stone
Katya Stone

February 07, 2020

I love the new dresses, their names touching stories. Thank you, Nuu- Muu Team!

Karen
Karen

February 07, 2020

Remarkable stories and tales to go w remarkable women. Thank you so much for including us all in this journey.

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