In the evening of August 4, 1689, the night of the Lachine massacre, a violent rainstorm hovered above the Saint Lawrence and the Island of Montréal. Lightning flashed repeatedly across the sky and deafening thunder resounded above the seventy-seven houses of the community of Lachine. As the Canadiens slept in their isolated farms, fifteen hundred […]
Tag Archives | Franco-American history
This excerpt is from Business Boy to Business Man, the memoir of Robert Verreault as told to Denis Ledoux. The memoir was published in 2013. The military would never tell servicemen where we were going during World War 2, but it was a fairly easy bet that we were headed for Hawaii as a first […]
Point of view in a memoir can cause a major problem
In 1996 and 1997, I composed about 200 pages of a memoir of my high school years and then it wasn’t going anywhere more than where it had been—mired in facts and details with no spirit.
I merely stored it in various computers for years.
In the fall of 2013, I completed my mother’s memoir (We Were Not Spoiled). Because I was looking for a writing project I might devote myself to next, I picked up the high-school memoir. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
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 Denis Ledoux. 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 become an American citizen?
Becoming a US 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. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]
As was the custom in the colony, the wedding was set for a date soon after the contract signing. These were exceptional times. Winter was just three months away, and if Barthélémi and Marthe were to survive the long, cold months at the new farm in Chateau-Richer, there was much to be done. Until she […]
Let me celebrate my mother’s life by writing about her memoir We Were Not Spoiled—which I will offer you as a gift at the end of this post.
Today is my birthday. Here is the story of my birth on January 18, 1947. It is taken from my mother’s memoir, We Were Not Spoiled.
One morning, when the sun promised to be bright and the sky clear, as we sat down to breakfast at refectory tables, on a day that seemed to be a day just like every other day in January, Father Guy would announce, “Aujourd’hui, c’est un congé de glace [Today, we are having an ice holiday].”
I was one of those fortunate children to have known well both sets of grandparents. My Ledoux grandparents lived upstairs for most of my growing up while by Verreault grandparents lived 10 miles away. (My children did not know their grandfathers and my grandchildren do not know their grandmothers.) My grandmother Marie Bilodeau Ledoux was […]
Collect memories at my fiftieth class reunion
Last weekend—and a warm sunny three days it turned out to be—I spent, as I had written that I would in the last newsletter, with those of my high school classmates who could attend our fiftieth high-school reunion. Some of us had not seen each other in 30 years—not since our 20th class reunion—while one had not been with us in 50 years. Needless to say…
We had changed. The skinny boys we had been had become older white-haired men—except for on man who was mysteriously still dark-haired. Through the wrinkles and the few extra pounds (we were actually quite a fit group), it was uncanny how it seemed to me we had kept some essence of identity intact. The boys I had spent so many years with were there once again with me. I recognize the boys I had known transformed into thoughtful and kind men that I felt so much affection for. We spoke about our years in the seminary high school, our now-grown-up children, our life’s work which had occupied the middle decades of our lives, our goals and aspirations for the years that remained. [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]