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.
DL— 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 an American from We Were Not Spoiled, the memoir of Lucille Verreault Ledoux as told to me. For more excerpts of my mother’s life, click here.
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, why not give in to becoming an American citizen?
Becoming An American
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. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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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, […]
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 […]
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 […]
It was my first time visiting Thetford since I was three. I did not remember anything from the first trip except being so pleased to sleep at my Lessard grandparents’ house. In my growing up, I had not had the luxury of staying over at a grandparents’ place as many other kids in Lewiston had.
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 […]
DL—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 […]
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…
From We Were Not Spoiled, the memoir of Lucille Verreault Ledoux as told to Denis Ledoux. My mother-in-law had a lovely black Persian lamb coat. It had large buttons that were very fashionable at the time. That coat was heavy and warm, and Mrs. Ledoux wore it everywhere. She looked good in it. Rhéa had a raccoon coat […]
e left Lewiston and our wedding guests to travel to Albert’s base in Syracuse, New York, at 1:30. Since it was still summer…