Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hope was her Maiden Name

My Grandmother Collopy was a great inspiration to me, always. In fact, she inspired the naming of my business "L'esperance".

Elizabeth Hope was born in the first year of the 20th century, on June 29, 1900. She met Harry Collopy in 1927, married him, had 2 sets of twins, and became a widow at 33. That was 1933 in the midst of the Great Depression. My Grandmother looked adversity right in the eye and met it head on. She took in furrier work to support her family, and later opened her own dress shop - The Hope Shoppe - using her maiden name. She was always the life of the party, her humor and kindness endeared her to everyone. She told us that we were the strength of the future, and helped us to believe in ourselves. My Grandmother passed away in June of 1979, and I felt her spirit soaring above me for many days.

The week after she passed away I left for a summer apprenticeship at The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, where I had my first tile making experience. After one day at the historic site, I was hooked, and decided that tile making would be my profession and obsession. When I completed the apprenticeship I headed home and started the search for a studio. To say that my Mom and Dad were enthusiastically supportive is an understatement. My Dad, who owns his own real estate business, had a customer who was selling her house and pottery studio, equipped with kilns, glazes, a wheel, and all the extras to start me off. My Mom gave me her inheritance of $1000 from my Grandmother Collopy, and we decided that the tile works should be named in her honor. Since the Hope family had moved, generations back, down from Canada, where their name was "L'esperance"...yes, that's the connection...L'esperance means Hope......it seemed a fitting name for my new tile adventure.

Thirty years ago in 1979 I paid tribute to my Grandmother by naming my business L'esperance Tile Works. Sometimes it takes a whole village to be clever!

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2 Comments:

Blogger cookingwithgas said...

great story of family love and support!

January 21, 2009 at 7:51 AM  
Blogger lori vliegen said...

hi linda...welcome to blogland!! i really enjoyed reading your memories of your grandmother, and the story behind your wonderful tile business!! thanks for sharing that with us! and, also, thanks so much for stopping by my blog...what a nice surprise! as you can see, i LOVE my heart in hand tile...it's so absolutely perfect for me (you probably knew that as you were making it, right?!). i hope to see you again soon!
:)
p.s. that kitty cam is so cute!

January 30, 2009 at 3:12 PM  

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