Pages 21 – 30

Page 21

but as soon as he pour a little bit in the stove, it must have been still some fire in the stove with other hot ashes.  This can of oil busted on Leonard and all around the house.  Leonard took the door all in flames and as  mother was sleeping near the stairs, she heard the noise.  The stairs were full of flames already and she couldn’t get down.  She wakes up Lily and Lewis and she stretch her arms down by the windows and drop them on the frozen ground.  And she stretches herself down too and fell on the ground too but thank God, all she had was little bruises.  Lily and Lewis were both safe too.  Now she met Leonard and she didn’t notice that he was burned.  She said go find our Baptist Thibeault the neighbor and tell him to come to help us and she was naked there.  For she always slept in the petticoat and her petticoat was not tied in the back.  And she didn’t have time to tie it so she took it off.  After Leonard left she ran in the barn with Lily and Lewis and she wraps herself with burlap bags.  When Leonard arrived at Thibeault place, Mr. Thibeault thought Leonard was singing. He said” Hey Leonard yours affairs goes well this morning –  you sing” and Leonard said “Come first the house is on

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fire and mother and the kids are burning!”  Poor Leonard! He didn’t remember having seen mother. That’s when Mr. Thibeault saw Leonard’s hands, the fat dropping to the floor and far from singing.  He didn’t know what he was saying.  All his hands and legs were burned – all he had left on him was his belt.  His shoes was burned in his feet.  He had a long jacket and brim of  his coat had protected his body And the bones I saw in the bottom of the cellar was the dog and the cat.  They burned inside.  And Leon Pelletier arrived too.  And all his nice clothing and nice things he had was gone too.  He was crying like a child too.  My mother didn’t come down from Stockholm. She stayed there and at night Pat came down to take us with him again for the winter.  Leonard was 5 weeks in the Presque Isle Hospital.  The doctors save his hands and legs but he pass all that winter his hand wraps an leg.   Poor Mom.  She was left with absolutely nothing at all.  The peoples in Stockholm had been good to her even the Boss at the Mills.  They made a collection for her and every worker gave to help her.  She started working at the mill and I also took a job at the mill.  I was only 13 years old but all they as us at the mill was what

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your names and how old are you and I said 16.  That was it.  They gave me a job on the dryer at night and my mother also worked on the dryers in the day times but it was very hard for me on the dryer.  I burned my hand on the hot [newmirs?] and no gloves to wear.  My hand became full of splinters after a while.  They put me on the staplers.  It was easier for me.  Works starts at 6:30 at night until 6:30 in the morning.  We had one hour at midnight to rest and eat.  Arriving home in the morning, Mother was ready to go to work too.  So when it was time for Lily and Lewis to go to school I helped them dress and wash and give them their lunch.  I straightened the house a bit.  We were in a rut more and after I went to bed for awhile until mother came to eat lunch.

And I went to bed again for a while in the afternoon but when it was time to do the clothes washing I didn’t have much time to sleep.  Mother was not feeling too well; she was weak and she was so tired.  Some times she had to sit before reaching home.  My sister Anne got married that summer.  She was not home with us.  She was boarding with Pat, 7 [lilist?] and Leonard was working in the woods more.  Mother couldn’t go back to the arm.  She rented it in July that summer, My mother met

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a man from Caribou.  There was a carnival in town and he was a part of this carnival with his son in law Eddie Hebert.  They came home and ask my mother for coffee.  This carnival was right behind the house so mom gives them coffee and while talking he find out that mother was a widow and he also was a widower.  So he came again.  His name was Baptist Labell.  He came the rest of the summer and in October he asks my mother if she want to be his wife.  She din’t know what to say.  So after some few days, she asks my brother Pat what he was thinking about this proposal.  Well, Pat said I will be very glad for you if you married a good man.  She had been a widow for 2-1/2 years and she was only 45 years old.  She had a good summer going out with this man.  He took her to dance every weekend.  I went with them too and some times I went with Pat and his wife.  They love going to dance too so we had a good time.  Mr. Labell was a carpenter making good money.  He took mother to see his house in Caribou.  He had a very nice house and as she was so tired of working in the mill, she said yes, I will marry you.  So she got married in October.  I didn’t want to go to Caribou with her. I wanted to stay in Stockholm to work but

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she said you are too young to stay behind.  There was all kinds of people working in Stockholm, and she was afraid for me.  So I had to quit my job and tag along as to say.

The day of Mom’s wedding, I cried all day thinking of my poor father. I couldn’t see another one in his place.  Mother came and tell me “Don’t cry, Estelle because I will cry too and I don’t want to cry on my wedding day.”  For Lily and Lewis they were younger so it was made no difference.  So we moved to Caribou and the day after the wedding, Mother took charge of the home.  This Mr. Labell had a family too but they were all married except Louise and Lilyanne and Lilyanne was mute and deaf and she was in school in Portland.

And Louise was my own age.  We got along very well together.  After we were there she didn’t want to go nowhere without me.  She took me everywhere she goes.  She took me to  the movies.  It was the first time I went to the movie.s  It was silent movies and it was a Charlie Chaplin show.  And I was glad because I went to the movies.

Louise was in high school and me, I turned 14  Nov. 8.  Lily and Lewis start school too. One day my step father ask me “Would you like to go to school too?  I will be so glad if you go to school with Louise” and I said ” no.”  I remember too well the

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time I went to English school in Stockholm so he never mentioned school to me again.

He was a good man.  He dressed Mother like a queen and Lily and Lewis were dressed like a prince and princess but I didn’t want my mother to buy me clothes with his money.  He was good to me.  He always called me his little girl.  But I never could call him nothing.  Lily and Lewis called him Father and this pleased him a lot but me, I could not say father or step father or nothing.  Whey my mother said some time go get father to come and eat, I went and all I said  was “Mother wanst you to come to eat.”  My mother didn’t seem to notice this but one day she came and sat with me.  And she was crying.  And she said if  your father came back today,  I know which one I would choose now.

Step father was very good to her and she was good to him too.  The house was spotless clean and she cooked good food.  And she was always well dressed and had curly hair.  And food.  Step father was always bringing home so much food.  She said to him, “You bring too much food.  I will lose some.”  She didn’t have any refrigerator.  Just an ice box that they put in each day to keep this fresh.  But he said, “I don’t want

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my family to starve.  Let them eat all they can.”

I didn’t want to go to school but when Louise took some comics and read, I laughed.  I talked to myself how nice it seems to be able to read.  When she puts the books away, I took them and looked at them.  And tried to spell some simple words.  I had learned my alphabets in English so I spell some words and after a while I find one word.  I was glad and I try and try again so I learn to read a little bit and I like it.

And my brother Patrick had shown me to play the violin so I bought a violin for $4.50, a nice one too.  I ordered it in the Montgomery catalog and I love to sing so I play the piano and sing and play my violin.  Later on I also bought an accordion and I also learn to play.

I read French which I learned in our little school in St Agatha and as often as I could, place my hand on a French book and read it through.   French was my specialty and I real a lot of French books.

One day a lady called my mother and asked  if she could let me work for her for $3 a week.  So my mother asked me “Do you want to go and I say “Yes, I’ll go.” This family had 8 kids, some were as old as me but they were in school.  She had a little baby and she couldn’t do nothing

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except take care of the baby.  I cooked and washed and sent the children to school.  Five were in school and 3 at home but the little baby, I didn’t bother with him.  Once in a while I went home to see Mother but not too often.  I didn’t have time.  I had been there almost 2 months when my brother Leonard came to see me and said, “Why are you working hard like this?”  It was my washing day so yes, I was working very hard then.  So I told Leonard. ” I got to work i f I want to dress myself for the summer.”  Well, he said, come home and this spring if you need money I’ll give you some.  So he went home and tell my mother how hard I was working there so that night my mother called me home.  She said she needed me.  So when I leave there to come home, Mrs. Midane she was crying. Also the childrens.  I went home for awhile.

Stepfather was glad to see me home.  He said ” I can buy you clothes because you are my little girl too.”  He always called me his little girl.  He was working on construction and it was downtown in Caribou so it was not far from home.  At noon my mother sent me to take his lunch to him.  How proud he seemed to show his little girl to every man on the job and said look she’s my little girl and he

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sit me on his lap for awhile.

Me and Louise, no sisters could have been so close. She let me wear her nice sweaters some time and all kinds of her dresses too.  It was so nice to be so close together but her sister, Lilyanne, the deaf and mute in Portland, when she heard that her father had remarried she didn’t want to come back home.  She wrote her father and she ask him for money to pass her Christmas in New York with some of her friends.  But stepfather wrote her telling her if she didn’t want to come home for a vacation she would get no money.  She  wrote back asking for money to come home.

It was the first time we saw her.  As soon as she step foot in the house, she moved all the furniture from their place and placed them where she like them to be.  And she ask mother is it nice this way?  Mother said Yes, it’s very nice. So she was pleased with mother and us.

She played piano very well.  She played piano and my mother listened and said it’s very nice.  She  had been home for 2 weeks and when she left to go back, she told mother you are very nice, I like you. I will come again. She kiss mom and Lily and Lewis and me and after she was gone, Mom put back her furniture in their place.

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Me and Louise, we like to play jokes on Mother and her father.  One night when they went shopping, we saw them coming so we sit under the light in the kitchen and when mother open the light, Lily, Lewis, Louise and me we shouted “Surprise!”  My mother was so surprised she almost fainted.  She said don’t ever do that again.  I thought it was some burglars so I tell you we never did that kind of joke again.

By the last of the month of March my sister Laura wrote my mother if she want to send me down.  She said she would have a baby soon and she was alone.  Mother said Poor Laura.  She was having another baby and she already had four.  She asked me do you want to go help her for 2-3 weeks  I said I’ll go.  So she wrote Laura to send Ozime to the Frenchville Depot.  I will be on the train April 6.

She came with me to the store and she dresses me for Easter and part of the summer with the money I have earned working.  She bougth me a nice coat and hat and a good pair of shoes and a beautiful purple dress for Sunday.  Also dresses for everyday wear.  I was so proud of my clothes.  I packed everything and as planned April 6, I was on the train to Frenchville Depot.  Ozime was not at the train to meet me but his brother Emile was there.  With a sled and straw in the bottom to sit on


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