There is a good chance you have already heard about Lillian Weber. She has been all over the news for several months. Why? Because she is amazing. Lillian turned 100 years of age on May 6, 2015. That in itself is an accomplishment. AND she still lives by herself. AND Lillian sews a dress every day. For several years now, she has been working with the organization Little Dresses for Africa. Each dress Lillian sews is one-of-a-kind, sewn for little girls who live in poverty all over the world. Lillian adds an extra-special touch to make each little girl know that she matters and is cherished.
Lillian with just a few of her lovely dresses
In March, Lillian hit her goal of making 1000 dresses before her 100th birthday. What?! Yep, it is true! (She has probably made more than 1075 at the time of this post.)
Lillian having fun
There have been so many news stories and articles written about Lillian. But she is so unassuming and charitable she doesn’t really get why everyone is making such a big deal. But others are floored by her generosity and her drive to keep on making a difference in the world. For example, NBC Nightly News featured her in the “Making A Difference” series. She won the 2015 Argpatch Woman of the Year Award and the 2015 Ascentra Credit Union’s “Pay it Forward” Award. The Huffington Post and even the Daily News in the U.K. wrote about her. And get this, a Brazilian film crew is making a documentary that includes Lillian’s story! (Many of her dresses have been sent to Brazil too!) There are so many other folks that I could mention who are inspired by Lillian. I could go on and on. But just google her – you will see what I mean.
This story isn’t about me but I want to share with you that I am extra super lucky to have Lillian in my life. Lillian is the mother of the most awesome bestest bud in the whole world, Sherry Weber Scott. Sherry and I have been friends since we were in junior high in Pleasant Valley, Iowa. I used to hang out at the Weber’s home all the time. I didn’t really understand how much Lillian and Sherry influenced my life until I was much older. The Weber family was welcoming, loving, generous, non-judgmental, and fun!
Way back when (circa 1973) banana curls were all the rave. To pull it off, you had to tie a boatload of rags around your hair. This is just one of many fond memories I have.
Lillian, Sherry and I having fun with banana curls
Lillian loved me as her daughter and gave me the space to grow into the person that I am. (She also sewed dresses for me. But they were a little bit bigger than the ones she is sewing now and I am pretty sure it took more than 1 day.) I am beyond grateful for having Lillian in my life. I wouldn’t be who I am today without what she did for me.
My husband, Robert, and I were able to head back to the Iowa farm house where Lillian still lives to celebrate her 100th birthday. The Weber home is a special place for me. And of course, we had another day together filled with love and fun.
Lillian, Sherry, and me at her 100th birthday celebration
(Little Dresses for Africa does much more than providing dresses. They do amazing work to create positive change for little girls. Check them out at http://www.littledressesforafrica.org.)