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Point of View in a Memoir

The Wrong Point of View in a Memoir Can Throw the Story

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. ]

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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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successful book reading

Our Second Son Is Born

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.

write your memoir

Another Bucksport Story—An Ice Holiday

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].”

Point of View in a Memoir

Feedback on “Collect Memories at My Fiftieth Class Reunion”

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. ]

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Point of View in a Memoir

Collecting Memories at My Class Reunion

This weekend of September 26-28, 2014, I am reuniting with my high school classmates. We have not seen each other in 30 years—not since our 20th class reunion. Back then, we developed an intimacy and an affection for each other that someone attending a regular high school cannot have experienced with classmates they saw for […]

Ledoux Wedding, September 4, 1944

Our World War 2 Wedding in Maine

We Prepare for Our World War 2 Wedding

On Saturday evening, Mr. and Mrs. Ledoux threw us a pre-nuptial party at their home. I had known them for a long time already so they were not strangers to me. Our friends and relatives dropped by to wish us well. Mrs. Ledoux had prepared finger foods and served soft drinks and beer. I supposed Rhéa [Lavigne, Albert’s sister] had helped her.

Sunday called for all the food to be ready as well as for my suitcase to be packed and ready for our trip to Syracuse, NY, the next day after the wedding ceremony because Albert would have to report to base Monday night. That trip would be the only honeymoon we would have because we were having a World War 2 wedding! [Free Membership required to read more. See below. ]

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marching drill teams were popular in Franco-American New England

I Join a Marching Drill Team

In Franco-American New England, marching drill teams were popular. These teams were made up of girls who played instruments and marched in formation. Rhéa Ledoux was a team captain and she got to march in front of the other girls. The various drill teams would prepare elaborate sequences which they performed in parades—often in competition […]

My mother's book has found its audience.

My Father Loved to Tell a Story

My father loved to tell a story. He would sit three or four of us on his lap and ask us what kind of story we wanted to hear. “Perhaps un petit rien tout nu (a little naked nothing)?” he’d suggest. Not knowing what that was, we would nod our heads eagerly. “Do you want […]

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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