Sue’s new blog…


Hello all.

I’ve been missing you. It’s been a long summer and I’m ready to celebrate winter. Sounds strange, huh? A Vermonter looking forward to snow and ice and cold?

Maybe I’m just looking forward to curling up in front of the fire with a good book.

Anyhoo… some of you follow my other blog which is no longer. I let susanbahr.com expire and now some strange, German-speaking woman named… you guessed it… Susan Bahr… has snatched it up. Silly me.

So… I’ve recreated my blog. You can find it at http://downthemountainroad.wordpress.com. Would you please let me know if you aren’t able to find it? I’m still in the process of creation.

As to letters… it’s lived it’s day. I will be shutting down this blog soon. Many, many thanks to all of you who’ve stopped in for a visit. I’ve loved all the sweet and wonderful comments.

I hope you swing by my new blog. I’ve got the kettle boiling…




Louis and Mary

Dear Rosa,

It’s funny, this strange little world I live in. Searching for people so long gone no one remembers what they looked like. Walking through cemeteries, seeking family I’ve never met. Finding you, Rosa, and your sweet husband, Henry, was a wonderful moment for me last week.

Today brought another special moment. Today, I found your grandparents.

Louis Blain and Mary Adaline Bourdeau. Only here in Vermont they were known simply as Lewis and Mary Blair.

I knew I’d find them. I just didn’t think they’d be buried in the same cemetery as you.

And how sweet is that?

So, next time I’m in little Duxbury, Vermont, you know where old Sue will be. Yup, sauntering up and down perfectly  manicured lawns searching for that small stone that marks her great-great-great grandparent’s resting spot. And when I find their stone, I’ll take a pic or two to share.

Maybe I’ll even plant a lilac tree.


I found you, my Rosa…


My Dearest Rosa,

Well, it was a sweet search and one that culminated in a wonderful moment for Sue.

I knew where you were buried, in a little cemetery in Duxbury, Vermont, right alongside your husband, Henry and son, Freddie. It took a while to find you and it was such a charm when I did.

You were there, beneath a shady lilac tree, you and Henry and I was so moved.

My Rosa. My great-grandmother.



And the little white marker besides yours and Henry’s? It’s your son, Freddie’s. You can’t read his name anymore. 100 years have stolen it away. But, if you look close, you can just make out, “Age 4 years.” Freddie didn’t live long enough, did he?


And see, Rosa- I thought you might like to know I’ve found you’re mom, Elizabeth. She rests close to me, in Burlington.  Your sister, Hattie,  is there, too.


I found a measure of peace, knowing you were so well cared for. And the lilac tree- I know where it came from- your daughter, my grammy, must’ve planted it.

She had a matching tree in her yard.

It’s  still there you know, grammy’s lilac tree. Just like yours, it continues to thrive and bring a reminder of the changing of the seasons, the passing of time, and the memory of those who’ve come before us.


My Pop, practitioner of the practical…

Dear Rosa,

Your grandson, Henry, has always faced life straight on. Something works, but is a bit unorthodox? Who cares.

My dad came to visit yesterday, just thought he’d swing by for a cup o’ joe and I was so very delighted he did. At 82, it’s amazing he is still able to drive.

We had a nice visit, very pleasant really. It was as he was preparing to leave that I found out just how practical old Henry really is. Noticed some Christmas stickers on the rim of his tires.

“What’s that?” I pointed to the out-of-place bright little stickers.

Bessy, his friend, just chuckled.  “They’re on every tire.”

I moved to the next and the next and the next… yup, four tires all with Christmas stickers.

“Okay, give.”

Bessy smiled again. “It’s how your father keeps track of the tires when he rotates them.  They’re the only thing sticky enough to stay on.”

Sure they are.

You know, they make sense in a weird kind of way, kind of practical, too.

Wonder if I’ll ever be so smart?



finding my way back home…

Dear beautiful WordPress friends,

I know I haven’t been on wordpress much lately – but I’d thought to let you know, I’ve been reading and enjoying your wonderful  posts from my smart phone. Grief has waylaid much of my creative energy and my time, but now that things are settling down, I hope to resume posting and commenting on your wonderful blogs.

Thank you all, for all the heartfelt prayers. In a time of crisis, it’s important to know others care. That you are placed in the hands of God.

And though I may be a bit late, I want to wish all of you the happiest of Mother’s Days. I hope it was as simple and lovely as mine.



Violets among weeds

sending my love to my niece and her fiance this weekend. sending my thanks to Ashi Akira for this sweet and wonderful Haiku. Please visit his site and read the comments in this post – they tell an incredible story.

AshiAkira's Blog

Violets among weeds

A woman noticed and stopped

Then left with a smile

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letters revisited…

To all:

My life has been disrupted by recent family tragedy – two deaths on the same day, and so the words just aren’t there. I wish I could share some wonderful story or funny little tidbit – but I’ve neither the time nor the energy… for now.

Please know I read your posts on my phone, and will swing by as I can.  I’m not leaving wordpress behind, just modifying how much I use it.

And so, I thought to revisit a few stories I wrote from when letters to rosa was a brand new little blog. Some of you may have read this -for others, this will all new material. It’s good, I think, to look back to where it all began.

Sending my love to all of you…


(this was originally titled, The Uncles)

Dear Rosa,

Eight children – six boys your daughter, my grammy, had. What a brood. But then, Catholic families had lots of children. My best friend in Northfield was but one of 11!

You lived just across the street from Grammy and I can only imagine you were a help. Such shenanigans they must have engaged in…  I wonder, Rosa, look at how you’ve aged in this photo – see what thirty hard years have done. Sad to think, you would soon be buried. That’s you with Clarence. He wouldn’t live even as long as you did.

They grew into strong men, my uncles, all that served with pride in World War II. Each one has a story to tell and later I’ll share some of them with you. For now, I thought I’d share how they impacted my life.

Vibrant, loud, crass, my grammy’s house would be transformed when they converged from all parts of the country. Roger from Georgia, Hiram from New Hampshire, Earle from Burlington and Everett and Clarence from just nearby. What an event it would be when all gathered and how grumpy Grammy would become.  I spent the better part of my childhood there, only to be kicked out when she cooked dinner for them. Strange and harsh how us grandkids were never welcome, but we weren’t her children, we weren’t her “boys.”

You raised her to be fierce and loyal. Sad, that you wouldn’t know, Rosa, that her grave marker simply says “Mother.”

Grammy would fire up the special kerosene stove in the side pantry and cook up a storm. The dining room table would be pulled out, cleaned of all her beloved knick-knacks and set with the fine china. And then they would arrive.

Such an event that I could only watch from a distance. My cousin, Marcia, and I would wander Northfield and grumble. We didn’t need her, we’d find our own source of fun.

But we never did. The uncles got Grammy for the weekend and we were told to stay away.

They’d leave my father a long list of chores. Fix the roof, Henry and paint the living room. It always pissed my mom off when they’d go and dad was left to do the work. He did it without complaint, though, she was his mother. And he was the baby of the family.

You would’ve been proud of them, Rosa, and pained to know how many died young and how many were taken by the alcohol.

I miss them all.

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