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Archive | Franco-American Stories

In this archive category, you will find a significant collection of Franco-American stories. These posts are of interest to Americans of francophone Canadian descent and to their friends and allies.

Most of the stories below present a slice of Franco-American life in the middle of the twentieth century. They were written by men and women who wished to preserve the story of their lives, and in so doing, the authors also preserved a record of their ethnic group that once comprised one-fifth of the population of New England.

A legacy one generation is leaving to another

These accounts record often overlooked details of this significant ethnic group in American life. (Quick: who launched the credit union movement in the US? If you said Franco-Americans you are right!] These Franco-American stories contain much information thought to be too marginal and so too frequently lost to students of history.

A basic function of memoir is to give witness to a time and a way of life gone by. This category, Franco-American stories, succeeds admirably at this task for both a time and a group.

In addition, some of the posts cover the history of early Canada in the days before the Conquest. These cover a time when New France covered most of North America, when North America might rightly have been called New France.

Send us your Franco-American stories.

If you have a Franco-American story, please consider sending it in for our consideration for these pages. [We have no interest in stories about the Continental French (les Français de France) or francophone Africans unless they highlight an interaction with Franco-Americans. We are not interested in stories about anglophone Canadians—again unless they highlight an interaction with Franco-Americans.]

For submission details, click here.

 

Point of View in a Memoir

My First Morning Away

The is an excerpt from a yet-unnamed memoir of my high school years spent in a seminary continues to chronicle my first days there. The school is in Bucksport Maine, and the year is 1960. In this vignette, I write about my first morning. The memoir is in progress.

At 5:45, it was still dark outside, night really. Except for an occasional mumble, the regular breathing of boys in deep sleep was the only noise punctuating the quiet of the dormitory. Perhaps we were all back home in our dreams, with our families once again.

Suddenly—Brrr!

The “bell”— an electric ringer really,  resounded loud and insistent in the silence.

Laus tibi, Christe,” shouted the head Fourth-Form admonitor from his bed in the center of the dorm.
Only from the deep-voices of the other two admonitors at the opposite ends of the room was there an answering “Deo gratias!”<!–more–> [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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House where Marie Bilodeau was born Bilodeau

Marie Bilodeau’s story

My grandmother Marie Bilodeau Ledoux would have been 130 years old today. She was born in St-Narcisse-de-Lotbinière, Québec, on May 15, 1884. The following is excerpted from a booklet I wrote about my mémère some fifteen years ago and gave a s a Christmas gift to my extended family.

Point of View in a Memoir

Discovering My New Home

This is an excerpt from a memoir I am thinking of calling either In Another Century or A Very Catholic Boy. I am 13, and in the previous excerpt, I have just arrived at the seminary high school where I will be living. The excerpt starts as I have brought my trunk up to the […]

Point of View in a Memoir

When I Arrived at the Seminary

An excerpt from my high school memoir. It wasn’t until my father turned onto Middle Street and drove the 1955 red Ford station wagon up the hill towards the seminary that I gave in to the looming presence of doubt. Was this really what I wanted?

book tour

The Summer Before I Left

At 13, as I moved tremulously into adolescence, I knew that, whatever I did, I was leaving childhood and my life would soon be different from what it had been, but I could not appreciate how the difference would be marked not in age but in culture.

Louis Ledoux and Marie Valiquet Marry

During his first decade in Canada, Louis did not marry. While his friend Adrien Sénécal was growing a family, Louis remained single, paying (one presumes) the bachelor tax. In the early 1670s, Louis moved from one settlement to another, but, by the end of the decade, he had become an habitant in Varennes where he […]

Lewiston, Maine, 1960

Preparing to Leave Home

In the summer of 1960 when I was thirteen, my mother drove me into Lewiston to Vincent & Leblanc’s on Lisbon Street at Ash Street. There, in a shopping spree that was unprecedented, she bought me more new clothes than I’d ever had at any one time.

My grandfather Ledoux in the 1930s in his mill clothes

My Grandfather’s Birthday

My grandfather William Ledoux would have been 125 years old today. I would like to take a moment to honor his memory. His early years He was born in Lachine, Québec, on February 17, 1889, the oldest of what would be a family of six children. His mother was 20 and his father 19 at […]

ghostwriting a memoir

The Howe Street Apartment

When my parents came down, they lived in a tenement on Lisbon Street. My father worked at Dulac’s which was nearby, and while the mills were by their tenement, my mother did not seek outside work but kept house.

"Aurore: My Franco-American Mother," by Marguerite Roy

An Extraordinary Woman in an Ordinary World

It was inevitable that I should write Aurore: My Franco-American Mother. From early childhood, I enjoyed my mother’s stories, visualizing the scenes as she talked about her family and the past. During my teen years, I thought my mother talked too much, repeating the same stories over and over again. Whenever she was on the […]

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