but around January I had a new teacher and she passes her time scolding me, but it made me no difference. So one day she took me in her office and she give me the strap. Oh yes, very badly too. When I arrived home I was still crying my hands all swollen and my eyes too. When father saw me he ask me what happened to you? I show him my hands. Poor father. We never had a slap from him and to see my hands all swollen, he turn and looked at mother and said to her, “I don’t want you to let Estelle go to school no more. No one of those English teachers will strap my children. Keep her home.” And in those days if a child goes to school it was alright, but if the parents wants to keep them home it was OK too. So this was the end of my education. You now see why I am not educated and place wrong my words. And bad spelling also. Forgive me for this, won’t you. Well that Spring father decided not to go back to the farm. He was making good money and the boys too. So a neighbor from us in Agatha asked my father if he could have the land for the summer and my father said, “yes you can.” So we stay in a rent in Stokholm. But in June first or before in May about the 15th my mother took sick. Also my little brother Lewis. They were so sick, my father went to Van Buren to get a doctor. As there was no doctors in Stockholm, or priests at that
time. This doctor came but didn’t know what was wrong with mom and Lewis. A priest who came from Sacred Heart Church from Caribou, he came once a month to say the mass in Stockholm. My father bring him home to see mom and Lewis. Lewis was so sick he was in a coma since two weeks. So my mother fell to the priest feet and beg him to pray so Lewis won’t die. He was 6 years old at time. My mother was getting better now, but [by] June first we all took sick. And it hit us so hard that all I remember was mother telling me we will take you to the farm in St Agatha. She dressed me, but on the way I remember passing a covered bridge. I said, “we are not moving to St Agatha.” And I remember too a big red brick building and that’s all for 3 weeks I could’nt remember nothing. After I learn I was in [the Presquile Hospital and my sister Anna was in the bed near me. And on the other side was my neighbor’s daughter sick too. I find out we had the Thyfoid Fever. One day my mother came to see us and she was thei brother Thelist. I asked her, I said, “Why father didn’t come to?” But mother answered, “your father is so busy. He will come next time.” And every time she came she was always with Thelist. And always this same answer, father was too busy. One day to my surprise I scared my brother Leonard. Coming in my room and he was so pale. I almost not
know who he was. He came to my bed and he told me, you don’t remember,but we came at the hospital at the same time. And father is here too. He was in my room he said, but they moved him upstairs so he can be more [fruit] there. And he said the nurse told me if I get better before him, hey will take me upstairs to see him before I go home. And if it’s father who is well first he will come see us before being discharged. Poor Leonard, he didn’t know at the time what he will learn later when he’ll be discharged. As I learn myself too. After Leonard told me that father was here too, my bed was in front of a window and how I tried to see my dad. Maybe on the porch, but in vain. Couldn’t see him for 54 days in that hospital. The couldn’t give me no food too much fever. All they give me was little powder. That they had in a cachet and little stuff in liquid. they was me in [pure] ice and I tell you it was cold. Anna couldn’t talk she was in a coma. I was so thin my bones was coming through my skin. In the bed and between my knees and hips I was marked for the rest of my life. I was so hungry I thought I could eat a horse. But the first time they bring me food I couldn’t eat at all. And one 2 nurses can and said you will get up. Con you walk by yourself they asked me. Oh I said let me down the bed.
But my feet had just touched the floor, I was on the floor. The nurse caught and pulled me up and sat me in a chair. After 64 days in this hospital, they told me you are going home tomorrow. I was so glad to go see my father at last. I will see him I thought, but how I hated to leave my sister Anna there alone. The next day mom came for me. I cried. i didn’t want to leave Anna there. But I had to go. So after being out, I saw my brother Patrick. He was waving at me from the hospital window. He was sick too. But I have seen him here days before sitting on the porch, but he couldn’t come to my room. After being in the car, mother was with Thelist again. And she told the driver, don’t forget to stop a the rectory. But not a word more. So he stop at the Presquile Rectory and mother and Thelist took me by the arm and took me in. There was a priest there. He helped me to sit in a chair. And he started talking to me. How badly sick I had been and I had to be a good girl so I wont be sick again. I had to be good for my mother. And one word led to the other at last he said. God came to get your father. He wants him for one of his angels. So you must be a brave little girl. I was so shocked. I couldn’t say not a word or cry or nothing. My mother was crying and also Thelist. But me I was too shocked. I couldn’t do nothing. So we left and mom took me home. No not home
because after father passes away, our neighbors didn’t want mother to be alone in her rent. With us in the hospital 4 of us. So my mother was staying with some good people who took her in with Lily and Lewis and Thelist. And she was pregnant besides from 4 months. So whe we arrived there seeing Lily and Lewis and no father, now I start crying and I was crying so much. My mom said don’t cry Estelle, remember what the priest told you. but there was no priest or nothing. I didn’t mind to be sick again. I didn’t mine if I died. God have took away my father and he was only 44 years old. And I would have liked to go with him too. Poor mother she was crying so much too and also Lily and Lewis. It’s not fair I thought. I am an orphan at 11 years old. And my brothers and sisters too. At night my mother gave me a bath and find out my head was full of lice, big ones. So she too a fine comb and combed me. My God it was terrible. I don’t know if I didn’t have a good care at the hospital [as] it was too much fever. It was just terrible after a while my hair all fell off. And when they grow back it was so curly. It was hard to comb myself. The next day after I got home from the hospital, mother took us home on the farm. Anna came home 2 weeks after me. And on the farm all we hear was crying. Mother she was crying all night long. And me, I [hide] and
cried so mother wont see me crying. And poor Leonard, we find him everywhere on the farm crying. I’m telling you this had been a sad year for us especially to mother, in those years when the father died the widow could not have help like today. She had nothing. Father have savee a little money, but mother spend every dime on father’s funeral. After Leonard was strong enough he worked here and there for a while to help mother. It was too late to plant nothing on the farm and the garden. People were good to mother. They give her food and clothing for us. Thelist stay to work in Stockholm. So in the fall my brother Pat came to bring us home with him. So we stayed with them. There was a small shed behind the house and Pat fix this shed for mother’s kitchen. And the bed was upstairs near Pat and wife 2 kids now. My mother find a job a the Venir Mill. Also Anna and Leonard and I kept the house for mother. I was 12 years old. I wash and dress Lily and Lewis and send them to school. And I cook the food and do the washing with a board and a tub. And wash the floor with a brush. I was used to work because our mother showed us how to work very young. We were poor but a little happier. Laura and Mabel was married now. So we were still 6 in the family.
The next spring mother took us back to the farm. Because my father pass away it was the only place that she love to stay. So Leonard us. So he plants some potatoes and oats. We still had our horses and he also planed Buckwheat for flower. My mother she bought a hog to slaughter for next fall. She made a big garden too. And after Leonard go through the planting he went to Stockholm to work. Anna had staying in Stockholm too. She was 15 and had a steady job. She help mom all she could too. There was a man, his name was Leon Pelletier. He was deaf and mute too. He stayed home but he was so lazy he didn’t want to do nothing. Not even go get a pail of water for his horse. So me and mother had to do everything. But mother couldn’t see nobody in misery so she too him in. I work in the neighborhood all summer to help mother too. To wash the floors and windows and all kinds of work. And they give me chickens or eggs or butter and stuff that mother didn’t have. But after Leonard had worked a while in Venir Mill, one of my cousins, to make smart of himself and to play a joke on Leonard while Leonard passed in front of a steam pipe, he open the shut off and the steam too Leonard on his left arm and shoulder. And how
badly he was burned. My cousin name was Walter Bourgoin. The boss at the mill asked him how come you open this shut off while you know it was a steam pipe. Well he said I thought the water was cold in the pipe. So there was no insurance at the Venir Mill. So Walter’s boss took Walter’s check every week and sent it to my mother to care for Leonard. He was burned so bad he passed the rest of the summer home suffering so much. Poor Leonard passing the floor all night some times. Mother didn’t know what to do for his burn. In those days they didn’t have [anacess] to ease the pain. I helped mother to cut the hay and the buckwheat and oats in the fall. Digging the little potatoes we had. And my mother she was very good with the horse. And after the crops safe, we moved back to Stockholm. And mother took her same job a the Mill. And Leonard was well enough to work too. Anna and Thelist was working all the time. And in the next spring we went back to the farm. Leonard came with us. But in the Fall, as my mother was ready to move to Stockholm for the winter. Leonard went to the mill with buckwheat for floor and came home with 1000 pounds of floor. And put the flour up stairs in a room for the winter. And he also took the rest of
the buckwheat and put it upstairs too. For the seed for the next spring. So 2 or 3 days before coming back to Stockholm, I asked my mother if i could go pass 2 or 3 day with my sister Laura. She said yes you can go. So I went. Now before going farther, I would like to tell you [something]. I told you my when father died, my mother was to have another baby. But I been out of the hospital and we came back to the farm mother lost her baby. Laura and her husband [Azime] Hebert, stayed with us for a while that summer. Now going back forward. I was gone to see Laura before going to Stockholm and one night that mute and deaf man Leon Pelletier I talk to you about was home again and said, “Estelle, your mother wants you. You are going to Stockholm tomorrow.” So I got ready to go home. The next morning so Azime said, “I’ll take you home, it’s too far to walk.” It was almost 3 miles from home but I was used to walks there sometimes. So Azime got the wagon ready and me too. And Leon Pelletier had his gun. So he told us you can go, I’ll pass through the woods to hung a little. So I left with Azime, but when we arrived home I saw smoke. I said Azime look there no more house and no more blacksmith shop. Only Smoke. Azime said, yes
I see. We came near. I saw some bones in the bottom of the cellar where the beds and everything had fallen. I started to cry and said look Azime mom and the kids are burned too. Look their bones. Azime said stop your crying we will see the neighbors. They must know something. So we went to the neighbors. they told us that mother and Lily and Lewis were safe but Leonard was badly burned and mother took him at Presquile Hospital. With a man from the neighborhood he had a car. And Lily and Lewis was over the next neighbor’s. So we went there. Poor Lily and Lewis. They were dressed in things too small for them that somebody had given them. They look so miserable. What happened I will try to explain it to you. The day before my brother Leonard wend to Frenchville to buy what mother needed, and he bought a 5 gallon can of Kerosene oil. And the next morning Leonard got up and light the stove, and told mother don’t get up now, it’s too early. And I need to make an errand down the neighbors below. And when i came back I’ll call you. And you can get up. So mom stayed in bed. And about an hour later Leonard came back. The stove had died. He put back some wood and too the 5 gal of K-oil to start back the fire.