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My Mother’s Stories are short excerpts written by Denis Ledoux as told to him by his own mother. These stories of Franco-American life were published as a memoir, We Were Not Spoiled, in late 2013.

point of view in a memoir

Point of View in a Memoir, Part 2

Your Point of View in a Memoir Is Important

What is the importance of point of view in a memoir? In the previous post on point of view, I shared my  challenge of trying to write material in a ghostwritten memoir that I knew to be true but which the subject was not forthcoming with. This is not “Truth” material. It is more the sort of reflection that a more intuitive, self-reflecting person might make to cast light on her/his life. The memoir in question is We Were Not Spoiled, a memoir I co-wrote with my mother Lucille Verreault Ledoux. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Point of View in a Memoir, Part 1

Point of View In a Memoir Is Important

This is the first of several articles on point of view.

I recently completed my mother’s memoir, We Were not Spoiled. It was a work of love that took me many years to bring to closure as I had other work to do to support myself that filled my days. Finally, she got to be quite a bit older, and beginning to feel urgency as many people do when in my position, I put the push on finishing her story.

I’ll be sharing with you in the next few blog entries my experience of writing someone else’s memoir. My mother was after all another person with her own agenda and experience. As the co-writer, my task was to listen to her and to write as close to her point of view as possible. How does one remain faithful to another’s point of view in a memoir? [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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Becoming an American–why not?

Becoming an American — why not?

Stories about immigration and citizenship form the backbone of our great American story as much today as in past times. Here is an excerpt about becoming American from We Were Not Spoiled, the memoir of Lucille Verreault Ledoux as told to Denis Ledoux.

My father had not come to the US to stay but that’s what happened. Working here to support his family and buying an apartment building that was his family’s home, it must have seemed obvious to him that this is where he would spend the rest of his life. So,

My Father, Joseph Verreault

My father, Joseph Verreault

why not become an American citizen? Sometime in the mid-1920s, he did just that. Now, he could not be deported and put his family at risk. My mother did not join him in becoming a citizen, but remained here as a resident alien. My father could make himself understood in English, but my mother did not know much beyond what she had learned in her waitressing days in Thetford. She felt this lack of English would stop her from passing the examinations for citizenship. My father was a now citizen, and so they perhaps felt that would save her from deportation, Besides, she did not work outside the home and so was not taking a job away from a citizen.

Although he was now naturalized, my father didn’t understand that he had the same privileges as native-born people—except he could not become President! He was still afraid that the process could be

[Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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My mother's book has found its audience.

My Mother Passes

On this blog, I have frequently offered excerpts of my mother’s memoir, We Were Not Spoiled. It has been such a satisfaction for me to have written her story and to have been able to hand her a copy. One day, after I had presented her with the hard copy of We Were Not Spoiled, […]

Albert is still gone

Our Second Son Is Born

I am pregnant again We were still living with Albert’s parents when I became pregnant again. Albert’s parents were kind to us. While we were with them, we did not pay any rent, but we did buy groceries for all of us, and in that way, we tried to show our appreciation and not be […]

Robert and me with our parents summer 1923

Uncle Pitou’s Migration to the US and Robert Is Born at Home

Not too long after I was born, my uncle Pitou Lessard (his name was really Lionel) undertook his own migration to the US from Canada, looking for work. Of course, he moved in with us. Today, people would say the apartment on Howe Street in Lewiston was too small to take in another adult, but […]

Jefferson Street, Lewiston, Maine

My Aunt Blanche, My Favorite Canadian Immigrant

During these years, Aunt Blanche Lessard lived with us. When she was in her early twenties, while we were still on Shawmut Street, she had come down as a Canadian immigrant, looking for employment and had moved with us to Jefferson Street. In Lewiston, she apprenticed as a hairdresser with a Canadian woman and eventually […]

Here to Stay: Developing Nationhood and Community in New France

Here to Stay: Developing Nationhood and Community in New France Here to Stay: Developing Nationhood and Community in New France is excerpted  from my historical memoir Here To Stay. Here I write about my maternal ancestors Bartélémy Verreault and  Marthe Quittel. As I recorded genealogical information—the births, marriages and deaths of my ancestors, I began […]

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A Franco-American Memoir: April Fool’s Day

The following excerpt is from We Were Not Spoiled, the Franco-American Memoir of Lucille Verreault Ledoux as told to Denis Ledoux. My Father Learns About April Fool’s Day Moving to Howe Street also meant that I lost my friends on Jefferson Street. I could still get together with Juliette and Jeannine at school but they […]

Albert Ledoux, 1943
Mississippi Base

Albert and I Decide to Marry

In February of 1944, Albert was given a seventeen-day furlough and, during that time, we became engaged to marry. We did not set a date, but we talked of a wedding…

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