Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Scratchy Photo from the 80s - Dr. Lowry

Photo by Salt Water New England
Dr. Lowry, a revered past neighbor, had been a pediatrician (Rosemary Hall, Vassar, Cornell Medical School) and in retirement, an organic farmer of sheep, chickens, and vegetables.   She could be seen daily working in the fields of her 1815 family (Chittenden) house in the growing season, and in the winter, cutting brush and tending her animals.

She lived to be 100 years old, perhaps extended by her frequent swims in Long Island Sound (through November) at the beach of her family's cottage in Buffalo Bay, playing tennis into her 80s, and her diet (she told me she needed to eat fat for energy).

For neighbors, Dr. Lowry was an early source of organic eggs and produce, and advice from life experiences, including the never forgotten "Don't ever turn your back on a ram."

14 comments:

  1. This is by far my favorite post since the post with all the 1980s pics. Thanks for this. Good neighbors are priceless. GLH

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  2. She sounds like a fantastic neighbor, and a fantastic role model.

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  3. Whenever I hear a story like Dr. Lowry's I often wonder what it was like for the young women of her time who graduated in the minority of their profession - these ladies could write a book or two about mental toughness. I take my hat off to them. My beloved family doctor was a graduate of Columbia University Med School in the 1950s - she was one of two women students in her class. She finally hung up her stethoscope when she was in her 80s - taking a very long & careful time to ensure that when she did hand over her practice, her patients would be well taken care of before she went on to her Act II, becoming a vintner in the Napa Valley.

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    1. How fortunate was Dr Lowry and your vintner. We all know so many, so capable, who were not accorded an Act II. Cherish every day.

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  4. What a fabulous photo and story!

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  5. The best advice about general health I've ever received came from our family doctor. She is an Iranian woman of about 75 (I'm 71). She simply says, don't retire. Keep working. So for more than one reason, I haven't retired.

    I haven't decided if that is good advice or not.

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    1. I take that in the hardy New Englander sense, which to me means self-sufficiency, stubbornness and Yankee thrift at home. "Why pay someone to do something I can do myself?" So retire from a soul-crushing desk job and get outside and mingle with the natural world, have a little vegetable garden, do some landscaping, cook your own food...just my interpretation.

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    2. I wholeheartedly agree with your comments about not retiring. I've seen what retirement (at least in the normal sense of the word) does to people.....health problems, dementia/Alzheimer's, disengagement to name a few. At the same time I know and know of a number of very successful people in their 70's, 80's, and even 90's who still work and are mentally very sharp...running their businesses, starting a new one, or just managing their own investments. Many older, wealthy entrepreneurs "retire" into investing seed capital for younger start-up entrepreneurs, thereby paying forward the favors that others gave them at one time. Keep the mind active!!!

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  6. She was my pediatrician in the 1960's and 1970's never had a better doctor, ever, house calls, great advice on adolescent issues, a true pioneer! She was the only doctor who was able to figure out that I had hepatitis at age 10, and I had contracted hep from eating contaminated clams that I foraged myself. Thank you so much for your Blog, I moved away from the Connecticut Shoreline in 1977 and your Blog brings back so many wonderful childhood memories.

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  7. Stories like this is why SWNE is my first internet stop every morning. Thanks!

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  8. This wonderful post started me thinking. Soon I remembered others whose lives were similar to Dr. Lowry's. Maybe it was a trend in the 1920s and 1930s that prompted highly educated (mostly spinster women) to attend medical school and then serve their small towns as pediatricians or family doctors. Their legion numbers of patients cherished them for their kindness and understanding. At times they may have verged on the eccentric, but many lived to near one hundred. First to mind: Elisabeth Adams, MD, of Guilford, CT, who was so loved by her hometown that the middle school was named for her. Then there was Imogene Manning, MD, of Lebanon CT, long revered as the town's pediatrician and town historian. She now has a street named for her in her home town. Another was Alta Ashley, who practiced medicine in all weathers on remote Monhegan Island, Maine. She contributed a weekly column for the local paper, the Lincoln County News, and eventually gathered her memoirs in a series of delightful books. And finally, a current example is Anna Konopka, MD, of New London, NH, a classic small-town GP, whose medical license was revoked this year, in part, because she does not file her records electronically. Instead like many of her colleagues of a generation ago, she keeps hand-written files on all her patients in filing cabinets in her small office. Thirty of her loyal patients have recently petitioned the New Hampshire Medical Examining Board to reinstate her medical license. It will be interesting to see what happens.

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    1. I, too, loved this post and thought of these type of resilient women. My grandmother graduated from Johns Hopkins Medical School in 1926. She was California pioneer stock. Her parents encouraged her higher education which was certainly not the norm. She told me the more anyone said in San Francisco that she could not do it, the more determined she was TO do it. She ended up as head female doctor at a university only because my grandfather would not allow her to go into private practice. He didn't want her earning more than he did. She kept him happy by having a brood of children and a house that looked like an MGM set. She lived to 98 and survived the last week of her life on an IV drip alone because she had a no resuscitate order. Her character was built by each bit of hard-fought ground she broke.

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