Today would have been her birthday.
Our grandmother, Edma -we called her Manou- was the only grandparent we ever knew. My mother was her only daughter and in fact, having lost her husband Raymond when my mother was 18 years old, my mother was her only close relative. 
* note: this photo of Manou -age 12, I think- is printed on a 1/4" thick photo size piece of enameled lava. Yes, lava!
Both her brothers had died - I wrote a post on her brother Jean Desparmet the aviator (here)- and so she lived with us always and came with us more or less wherever our father's postings took us.

We adored her; she was gentle and kind and sophisticated and elegant and very talented. Most of all she was patient: We each have pieces she embroidered every day after lunch after her one cup of coffee of the day. She embroidered place mats and tablecloths for twelve for all 4 of her granddaughters. That's patience.
She even copied the pattern of her own hand embroidered wedding petticoat onto fine handkerchief cotton for each of us and our younger sister had her wedding dress made from all four long pieces, three for the 3 tiers of the skirt and one gathered along the neckline.

It is such a great privilege to have all these unique pieces to remember her by. 

Tres chere Manou, Joyeux Anniversaire.
au revoir.


  1. Happy Birthday Manou! I'm sure she's looking down on you from up above and smiling, what a special tribute you did for her. Always treasure what she left behind and you'll always have her in your heart!

  2. Anonymous10/9/10

    A beautiful tribute to your grandmother. And the lovely stone houses in your other post ~ jealous, jealous, jealous; that is where I should be living. :) xox Alexandra

  3. I just randomly came across your blog seeing as I searched for ppl with "travel" listed in their interests. The pictures of Manou look lovely. Thanks for sharing such a touching piece of your life/heritage.