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Franco-American memoir

Getting My Dream Coat

From We Were Not Spoiled, the memoir of Lucille Verreault Ledoux as told to Denis Ledoux.

Lucille Verreault Ledoux Summer of 1945

Lucille Verreault Ledoux Summer of 1945

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 that also looked good on her—we used to say comme il faut which means “the way it should be”. The two of them really looked comme il faut when they went out–especially together.

In those days, a lot of women had fur coats—not like today when you don’t see furs. Women who couldn’t afford a coat would buy a stole or a shoulder wrap to wear over their cloth coats. Well, I was young and I wanted to look comme il faut, so I decided to cash in the war bonds that I had bought a few years back and use the money to buy myself a coat that would look good on me. I went around Lewiston to a number of furriers and found a good shop down on Lisbon Street that sold all sorts of coats at different prices. I can’t remember what the shop was called but the owner was Jewish and perhaps it had his name. Having money from the war bonds, I zeroed in on a muskrat coat with a white collar. Well, I felt terrific when I wore it in the store and I decided to buy it. I loved that coat and wore it for years and I always felt well-dressed—comme il faut—when I had it on.

We were still living with Albert’s parents and it might have been a wiser investment for me to have bought furniture for an apartment of our own so that we could have moved out. (Perhaps affording a place seemed too big at the time and a coat was an easier change to make in my life—I can’t remember now.) His parent were very kind, always trying to help their kids out, but it would have been better for us to have our own place.

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That muskrat coat, though, made me feel real good. For years, every time I wore it, I felt comme il faut.

Lucille Ledoux raised six children and worked for many years in clothing stores. She is a resident of d’Youville Manor in Lewiston. Even today, she regrets not having finished high school. All six of her children graduated from college.

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