On February 19, 2020

Ludlow residents spread kindness with hearts

LUDLOW—You may have noticed colorful hearts hanging all over Ludlow.

Hundreds of colorful hearts made of fabric hang from trees in front of homes, at the gazebo at Veterans’ Park, at Kessman Park and on Main Street. A note left in a plastic bag indicates that the person has been “Hearted by the United Church,” with wishes for a “Happy Day. “

Hearts have been hung in Ludlow and surrounding communities for about 12 years. Nancy Hagge, the organizer, was inspired by her former neighbor in Winchester, Massachusetts, Helene Coubour, a quilter, who used scrap materials to make hearts. Coubour hung 70 hearts on a dogwood tree outside her front yard in Winchester in 1988 but when nobody noticed, the following year, she hung 150 hearts.

Coubour began to hang hearts around town, surrounding her church, and in gardens. Coubour continued the heart tradition after she moved to Brooksby retirement community in Peabody, Massachusetts in 2004.

“I used to love to go drive by her house,” Hagge said. “I used to purposely reroute my day because it was so joyous. I thought ‘when I retire, I want to do that.’”

Hagge said she asked Coubour’s permission to start the tradition in Vermont. Hagge retired 12 years ago from real estate and moved to Plymouth to be closer to her kids, where she started making hearts.

Now, every year, women and men from the United Church in Ludlow trace designs, cut fabric, stuff, hand sew and crochet the hearts every January. Volunteers then hang the hearts around town Feb. 1 and take them down March 1.

“It gives you a great feeling to sneak up and do this and have people be surprised,” Hagge said.

George Thompson, one of the volunteers who makes and hangs the hearts, called it a labor of love. “I love this project,” he said. “I hope that it brings discussion about joy. It’s a fun thing to do and adds some mystery to our lives. Who? Why? We get a kick out of trying to deliver them without getting caught. And it adds some nice color to the landscapes.”

Hagge also hangs hearts around her neighborhood in Plymouth, she brings them to Sherburne Memorial Library in Killington and makes them for Killington Elementary School, which her granddaughters attend.

Her grandchildren each bring about a dozen hearts to school and every year, the sixth graders help the kindergarteners hang them outside.

“The enthusiasm is marvelous,” Hagge said. “You plant the seed and somehow that particular community seems to go with it. It makes me really happy. It just lifts them at a time when you need some lifting in February.”

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Large turnout for Hartland school budget info session

May 23, 2024
By Curt Peterson The May 21 Hartland school budget information session may be the best-attended school board gathering in recent history — an estimated 40 people attended in person at Damon Hall in Hartland, and another 41 tuned in online. Hartland voters had already approved the $11,040,567 budget 320-311 on April 2. But a petition…

United Way of Rutland County names new exc. director

May 22, 2024
The United Way of Rutland County (UWRC) announced the appointment of Tina Van Guilder as its new executive director, May 17.  Van Guilder officially assumed her role as executive director May 6. With over seven years of direct non-profit leadership experience in the Rutland County area, coupled with recent roles focusing on grant coordination, budget…

Slate Valley school district to hold fourth vote on district budget

May 22, 2024
In response to the results of the last vote on May 9, and valuable community feedback during the school board meeting on May 13, the Slate Valley Unified Union School District will hold its fourth vote in an attempt to pass the budget on May 30. It will be a revote on the third FY25…

Where is the road construction this week? 

May 22, 2024
The Agency of Transportation produces this weekly report of planned construction activities that will impact traffic on state highways and interstates throughout Vermont. Hartford: Monday, May 20, through Friday, May 24, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., multiple concrete mixers will be moving in and out of the project area at either end of the…