My memiours. Title, My Valley of Tears. I will write to you the best way I know how. I have never been to a teacher or a secretary. I know nothing. I am just a housewife. And what I know I’ve learned trying myself. It’s not a writing, it’s more like a child starting in first grade. And I might forget some little details, but in 71 years, we can permit ourselves to forget a little. I also wrote My Valley of Tears in French because I can express myself better in French. I am a pure old fashioned French woman, but there are so many who can’t read French today, so I thought I would try myself in English. Before you start to read, I am asking your forgiveness. My words will be the gospel truth, and I don’t want to offend no one. And I don’t want to make enemies for writing my autobiography.
I have nothing left for me after all that used to be. I live in memories among my souvenirs of 71 years past.
Dedicated to my parents and friends.
Among My Souvenirs — Title My Valley of Tears
By Estelle Hebert
(ed note — There is a date that seems to be written in Estelle’s hand in the upper right corner that looks like “January 6, 1963.” I’m not sure what it relates to.)
My dear reader of My Valley of Tears,
I was born in St. Agatha, Maine, and I am the daughter of Aime Bourgoin and Delina Gauvin. I was born in a little county of St. Agatha of Flat Mountain. I was born on November 8, 1911.
My dear readers, I am not educated and I would like to ask your forgiveness if my writing is very bad. I am not writing like those story books. I am writing like I am talking to you in person. My father’s name was Aime, but everybody knew him as Keith Bourgoin. He was a little farmer. Also a blacksmith. It was him who shoed all the horses in out community. Also welding. And my mother was a school teacher before marrying my father. They had a family of 14 children. I had 6 sisters and 7 brothers. I lost one brother at 18 year old from the Espagnol Flu. I also lost 2 little sisters four and two years old. Also a set of twins, a boy and a girl at the age of 2 months each. I remember like yesterday how my brother Thomas had spoiled me. Everywhere he goes he took me with him on his bike. And at home he often lay down on the floor and he sat me beside him and sing me some songs that I learn from him. And I still sing those today. But one day my brother took sick and died. He was 18 years
old. I was seven years old. And the next day after Thomas’ funeral, my oldest brother, Patrick plans to get married that day. So they got married as it was planned, but it was a very sad day for both my poor parents. Only Patrick and my father and his wife with her father went to church for the mass. And they came home after being married, and that was it for Pat’s wedding. For my mother and father, they passed their time crying for their lost son Thomas. And I cried too, but I hide myself to cry because I didn’t want my father and mother to see me crying, but I was missing my brother so much. My parents were very poor. It was just a little farm they had. And for a family of 14 children, it’s all they could to do keep them growing in good health. But for the love they had plenty to give us. They both love us kids so much. They were both so worried when on of us was sick. Sometimes just a little bit. My father had spoiled me a lot too. I remember as it was yesterday how my father used to rock me on his lap at night, smoking his pipe and singing me songs too. It seems that I still feel his heart under my head, and how his breath feels on my head. For my mother, well she didn’t have too much time fussing over us. She had too much to do. It was my father who teach me how to knit and showed me hot to knit my mittens and wool stockings and darn
our mittens and socks too. My mother she had to take care of us and churn the butter and milk the cows, take care of the children, and she always had a larger garden because she had many mouths to feed. And in the spring she sheared the sheep. My father put for her a big black kettle near the little brook we had on the farm. So she was near the water to wash her wools after the shearing. After the wool was dry, she corded it ready to knit. She had to knit a lot because my father and older brothers always wore knitted wool underwear and sweaters for all of us. Oh she had lots to do. And int he winter she wove blankets, wool and cotton ones. My oldest sister helped her to tod the chores and take care of the smallest babies. In our home everyone had to do his share. My older brother Patrick was leaving home with his wife and he helped my father on the farm. For me the help I done to my mother. I was about six a the time. I eat my mother’s little cucumber as soon as I saw a little cucumber in the garden. I piled them on my arms and hide and eat them. And small carrots too. I remember my mother said I don’t know what happens to my cucumbers, there were lots and now I can’t find one no more. I didn’t say a word, but I knew where [the cucumbers went]. I
had been a very bad girl as I see it today. In our home, everyone get up at the same time in the morning except my father. He got up early in the morning to go feed the cattle and horses and the rest of the animals. After he came back from the barn, mom got up and we heard her say alright children, get up for breakfast. We wash and now she said kneel down for prayers. We all pray together, morning and night. My parents were very religious people. On our farm, my father grew wheat and barley and peas and potatoes also buckwheat and hay. He made us walk on the loads to press it down. And we were always bare foot. And the thorns in the hay hurt our feet badly sometimes. And in the fall picking potatoes time. My father made us sort the potatoes in the field. So the oldest one picks the big ones and as I was on of the youngest, I had to pick the small ones. And how I hated those small potatoes. And we were also bare foot and no gloves like they have today to pick. And sometimes it was so cold int he field. My father had to build a fire in the field to warm ourselves. And in the fall my father fatted a young beef for food in the winter. Also a lamb. And when he slaughtered the beef and lamb I had the [noose, nose, noise, rope, ?] as I could.
And I never ate beef or lamb. And for the pork, I was scared when he killed them for food. I hide so I won’t seem them. So today I like pork, and I always liked it. He salted pork meat and smoked some for ham. And my mother she made blood sausage and lots of craton. For the beef there was no refrigerator, so my father wait almost at Christmas to slaughter it. And my mother cured some and the rest my father put water in pork barrels and after it was freeze around the barrels he throw the rest of the water and put the beef in and he put the barrels in a snow pile so we had beef for the winter. My mother she canned lots of vegetables too. So we were never hungry. And with the beef hide my father ship it to the tannery in Bangor. And when it came back it was ready to make [shoepac]. My father made us each a pair of [shoepac] or moccasins for the winter. And with good wool stockings, we were comfortable, but it was very slippery. We often fell on our dariaire at first. For our house it was just a little house. With a bed room down stairs and a kitchen. My father added a little shed beside the house where my mother cooked in the summer times. The upstairs was not finished. And in the winter snow fell inside. But with plenty of good blankets, we were warm in our beds. And a little well outside about 100 feet from the house
to fetch water. And my father’s blacksmith shop and a barn, an old one too.
One day we heard a noise. My father said, “listen kids.” So we listened, and about 10 minutes what we saw coming in the road, a kind of wagon and without horses on it. My father said what kind of rig is this? But to his surprise it was his brother Joe Bourgoin. He stopped at the house and said it’s my new car. We visit this thing. It was made like my father’s Sunday wagon, but instead of a horse, this machine had a little motor under the seat. And a crank in the side. It was very funny for us to see. So this was the first car I saw. Another time father called to come quick and sadi do you see the think in the sky? and the noise it made. This thing is an airplane he said. It was way up in the sky. She seemed large like a big crow. So this was also the first plane that I saw. Not very long after one day father came home with a model T Ford that he trade for a nice little horse and wagon. It was a new car. But when my mother saw this car she cried for 2 days. Because with her horse she could go where ever she wanted to. And this car she couldn’t drive it because a woman in those days would have been a shame to drive a car. So my brother Patrick drive that car, not my father. One day he said come children, I’ll give you
a ride, so we got it. And Patrick was maybe going 5 miles an hour, and I was so scared. I says, Pat, don’t go too fast, and I put my hand on my eyes not to see each side of the car. How funny it is for me today to think about this, but one day I cried to drive that T Ford. So my father said you want to drive so come on. He put me at the wheel. I was 8 years old at the time. And he give me a push, and as the road was a little hill and there was a culvert at the end of the hill. I fell in this culvert. I’m telling you it was the end of my driving. My father had been so scared. I almost killed myself. And I thought he wasn’t smarter than me to push me down this hill with the car alone. After Patrick was married for a year and a half, his wife give birth to a daughter named, [J______]. and I spoiled this little baby so much she cried all night. My brother Pat had to walk her in his arms almost all night long. [—–] was sometime mad about me. But after a while they moved to Stockholm. My father didn’t need him too much on the farm, and there was lots of work in Stockholm. They moved there and Pat was a blacksmith for some company. And for our school that we went to, it was just a very small school, about 15 feet long and 15 feet wide. And in this school, there was a big [Bat, big] stove in the middle of the floor. And at each
side a big table about 7 feet long. and a big wood benches a the side to sit on. And for the blackboard, three boards about a foot wider painted in black. And near this blackboard our teacher’s desk. All was French, no English at all. And no school mostly in the winter because part of the time we didn’t even see where the road was. So school was mostly in the summers. School was about half a mile from home. At 9 years old I had to make my First Communion. [At] We lived 5 miles from church. So we had to walk 10 miles a day to go and come back. And it was in June and some days it was so hot. The road was a dust road and we were bare footed. We too our shoes in our hand and when we came near the church we put our shoes. So we burn our feets in the dust. And sometimes we had rain. We arrived at church all soaked up. The day before we were doing our Firs Communion, I was so sick. the priest give me a note for my mother to keep me home. I was too sick to go the next day for my Communion. The priest told my mother to keep me home, and when I feel better to bring me to mass and will do my first communion. So that what she did. I been sick almost a month with the Measels. I cried almost all day to see the other one doing their First Communion and me sick at home. but Mom said don’t cry. God understands.
In the fall, for one thing or another, I guess my father needed money. So he said to Mom, we will move to Stockholm for the winter. So Mom packed our things and my father ask one of our neighbors to take care of the animals for the winter. And he packed the baggage in the wagon and my brother Leonard and Thaluspore went with him by the road and mother too us Laura, and Anna, and Lily and Lewis was barely 7 years old. And of course me. And Baptist Thibeault too us to the depot at Frenchville and we too the train. Poor Lily she was so scared of the train she didn’t want to get in, but after she didn’t want to get out. We pass the winter with Pat and his wife. My father started work for hauling wood for Sam’s Co, and Thelist and Leonard hunted rabbits all winter. There was so much rabbits in [Jimpland Woods] they sell rabbits for over 200 dollars that winter. They gave their money to father to help him. And in the spring we were all so glad to come back to the farm. There was still some big snow drifts near the house. So we had some good times sledding and playing, but the next fall we moved back to Stockholm. Father worked again also Thelost and Leonard they went to work in the woods for Ernest Thibeault. I was almost 10 years old. So mother said you got to go to school with Anna.
So one morning my mother prepared my small lunch and to school I went. It was about on good mile from home. It was an English school. Al the children were talking English except me. I never heard speaking English and the teacher give me a couple of books and showed me what page to work on, but I didn’t understand at all what she was talking about. She was a big lady teacher and when she looked at me I was so scared. She asked me my first name. I didn’t answer. A little girl near me said what’s your name, so I tell this little girl and she told the teacher my name and age. She put me in the third grade. But I couldn’t do nothing. I didn’t understand not a word in those books. And sometimes when I got home I was so cold my feet were almost frozen. When I told my mother how cold I was she said don’t worry God will warm your feet, but me, I was freezing just the same. I pass my winter like this at school and the teacher after a while didn’t try to make me understand. She let me be in school that’s all. I was so glad when spring came and we moved back to the farm. But the next fall father sold all his animals except the hogs that he killed and salted for winter. All he took to Stockholm was his horse. So I had to start school again. I was 11 years old. Sod school I went again. But I didn’t understand more than the year before.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
of course the horse hitch to the sled. I sat in the bottom on the straw. The road was bad. I was shy. We didn’t say too much. I didn’t know Emile at all. I saw him once when he was in short pants, and a runny nose. He was about 12 at the time and me 8 years old. So we arrived at Laura’s. Laura was glad to see me and [Azime] too and her oldest Camille and Rhella. It was time to eat supper about 5:30 o’clock. We sat down and eat. And we were just finished eating Emile came back he was 18 years old. He came in and ask me to go take a walk with him out doors. It had been a very nice April day, so I looked at Laura and she said you may go. I can do the dishes. So I put my coat and went. We walked for a little while but I had nothing to say. So I said let’s go back home. The next day Emile come again and ask me again for a walk. I looked at Laura because at home when mother was not there we had to ask our oldest sister to go some place and if she said yes it was ok. But if she sahid no that’s it. We had to listen. So I looked at her and she said yes, you go take a walk. We were just gone out about 10 minutes [and] Emile asked me to be his wife. I was so surprised, I said are you crazy, you. I don’t even know you and you don’t know me. Oh he said we know each other enough to get married. And once your mother promised me on of her
daughters for a commission I made for her. He was 12 years old at the time. I said my mother told you this for a joke. Well he said, just the same I want to marry you. Well I don’t I said. Let’s go home. But I could laugh about this demand. I thought he’s crazy. I say nothing to Laura. But the next day Laura ask me did Emile ask you to marry him. I was so suprised that she know about his. I said, yes and he’s crazy. I don’t know hime and I don’t know men period. And I don’t want to get married. Well she said why you don’t want to get married. Emile is my brother-in-law and he will be good for you. And you can stay with us she said. And if you wash diapers it will be your own baby’s diapers. She knew that I have worked hard for awhile that winter. So it was not to help her, she wanted me down there at Black Lake. She was not near having her child. Emile came every day and the more I saw him the more I hated him. I thought to myself, why don’t he stay home for a while. He as at Laura’s all the time like a cat watching a mouse. Emile’s mother came to and said Emile will be good for you. It’s better for you to get married. Laura said yes and step father said that he is willing to take care of Lily and Lewis, but you will have to earn your living.
But I didn’t mind working. And for one thing step father never said that he didn’t want to take me. He was so glad to have me home. Laura had lied to mother to have me there and she also lied about my step father. It was not fair to him because he was a very good man. I didn’t say nothing because we could not talk back to our grown up sister. So I shut myu mouth. Now they are getting ready for a wedding! Emile went at Daigle to see the priest. His father was with him and the publication took place about the 5th or 6th of May! And the wedding set for May 17th. We didn’t need any blood test. All we need was our baptismal papers and first communion and a certificate of marriage. Laura wrote to St Agatha for my birth certificate and first communion, so it was time to go to Fort Kent for the marriage certificate. This was at the town clerk. Jack Sweeny was the town clerk at the time. It was 1926. He fill the paper and ask us our age. Emile said 18 and I said 14. Oh he said your parents will have to sign too. I said father is dead. Well he said just have your mother to sign and this will be alright. So good I thought. If I can go to Caribou, my Emile will come down alone. All the way home Emile talk of going to Caribou the next
day. When we got home I said to Laura, Emile and I, we’ll leave in the morning to go to Caribou so my mother can sign our marriage certificate. I was on air. I sang all night and I get up early the next morning and say my prayers and said, thank you Lord to let me go to Caribou. But what I saw coming, Emile [and his] father. He came in and said the road are so bad for the horse. I will go to Caribou at you place. Give me your paper and I will walk to Frenchville Depot to take the train and I will pass the night at your mother’s and come down tomorrow. My dream of yesterday was shattered. God didn’t answer my prayers. I cried all that night. Laura asked me were you crying last night. Your eyes are red. i said no and start working so I won’t bust into tears right there. It was no use saying anything because I didn’t have any money to go back. And beside I didn’t know anyone at Black Lake except Laura and [Azime] and I was sure it would be no use to ask them for some money to go back because it was them who wants me there. When Emile’s father arrived at my mother’s house, he didn’t say nothing. But mother was sure that he was there for something she ask about Laura. If she had her baby yet and ask about me and the kids and they went to bed. And the
next morning step father leave for work and Emile and father was getting ready to leave to come back home. When he showed my mother the certificate and he said Estelle wants to get married and you need to sign, my mother said to him, Estelle is to young to get married and I wont sign. I know now she said why Laura wants Estelle. This was to get her married and I won’t sign. Go home she said to Mr. Hebert and tell Laura to send Estelle back home right away. Well Mr. Hebert said its up to you to sign or not. Its you daughter and he walk to near the road in the driveway and turn and said to mother its ok. You wont sign, but one day you might run after Emile to marry your daughter and maybe it will be too late. Mother took scared and thought they can tell Emile to get Estelle pregnant and to be obliged to get married after this. And as I had a step father and my real father was dead, she said well bring me the paper I’ll sign. And she was crying poor mother. And she thought poor Aime. How I wish he’d been here today. I would never sign this paper. And me, I prayed all night, please God don’t let mother sign this paper. I don’t want to get married. I’m only 14 years old. I pray, please Lord, answer my prayers this time. I cried again all
night. [Azime] said the next moring I heard you crying last night. Are you sick? I said no I’m not sick, but yes inside I was very sick, my heart was sick as ever been before. At night when Mr. Hebert walk in he said your mother sign and she was glad to sign. Starting that day I cried every night. God didn’t want to answer my prayers. Dear God I pray, give me strength to go through with this to please my sister. May 17th as planned, we leave for church. My heart was heavy. I put my purple dress that I brought for Easter. My coat and hat and new shoes. Emile ask his uncle Hubald to be my father for witnesses. We were 2 wagons, me and Hubald Hebert and Emile and his father. We went to church at Daigle. There was still big snow banks in the road. We pass through the field some places. Father Ouilette, the same one we had in St Agatha. When I made my first communion, he performed the ceremonies and with a 9 dollar ring we got married and after the mass, Emile was so anxious to go out the church. He was at the door and I was still in my chair in front. He didn’t wait for me. Two crazy kids who don’t know what they are doing. After the mass uncle Hubald, my uncle now, went back to his work. And no one of my family except Laura
was at my wedding. My mother wasn’t invited and any of my brothers and sisters. Emile’s family was there, no presents, no flowers, nothing. Emile’s cousin Ramio Hebert and [Yovanne Quirette] was there. They were supposed to be best man and bride’s maid. But I didn’t see why a best man and bridesmaid for such a cheap wedding like this. Twenty dollars for the mass. It was so sad for me. I was on the verge to start crying all the times. We eat for dinner and supper, over Emile’s parents and Clarice, Emile’s sister sang and they ask me to sing a song too, but I was crying inside. I didn’t feel to sing. After the visitors were gone, we had to pass the night at Emile’s parents. but I made Emile promise that we will go stay with Laura and [Azime], so we went to bed. And when Emile try to touch myself, oh no you won’t touch me. I didn’t know nothing about men and I didn’t want to know, especially him. The he got nearer the more I push myself nearer the wall. And if we would have been alone I would have runs so fast that nobody could have caught me. He try to tell me that he love and we were married. That I now belong to him. In my mind I thought, that’s what you think that I belong to you. but you will go far before
I belong to you. After pleading for a while, he turned his back and very mad too. And he fell asleep. I cried all night and thought what am I going to do. The next morning I got up early and my mother in law now asked me, how do you pass the night and she was laughing. I could feel my face flush with shame. I didn’t answer her. Emile get up and we eat breakfast and I said let’s go to Laura’s. I didn’t want to spend another minutes with those strangers. Emile had two unmarried sisters and a married on. The one not married was Aurare, 17 years old and Clarice my age. And the married one was Emily. She was married, but her husband was sick in Presquile Sanetorium. And 2 little brothers, Helaine, 6 years old, and Clarence 8 years old. And they were all strangers to me so we went to Laura’s. Every time Emile tried to touch me I cried. I know I was wrong, but I couldn’t [submit] myself. So one way or the other, Laura knew about this. And one day she give me a lesson about sex. She said you are married now and you go to submit yourself to the married life. I was so ashamed, I didn’t know what to say, and I thought why don’t she shut up with all this dirty junk. That night
I prayed, Oh Lord help me. I know I am wrong. I was married for better or worse, in sickness and in health until death the priest had prayed. So I pray and said, Oh Lord you had us [tied] together, help me and with your help I will do the impossible. For your far your grace I will do anything you want me to do. But I began hating my husband so much. It was like a pest. Every time I saw him come in no more talking for me and no more laughing. I used to sing all the time, but now no more singing. I cried all night. I was doing my best to hide my tears, but some times Azime notice that I been crying all night. He began sassing Emile for this. He said it’s your fault you made her cry every night. Laura was mad about Emile too and Emile’s parents take Emile’s part. [side] Oh it was like fire and water all the time. I couldn’t eat and I begin to lose weight. And about leaving with Larua for 2 weeks Emile said let’s go live my parents. He wasn’t working and he had no money after the wedding. He had 10 cents in his pocket. He had worked hard in the wood all winter but in the spring when he came home he gave his money to his father. But
when Emile got married his father paid twenty dollars for the marriage mass. And 9 dollars for the ring. And he bought him a very cheep suit about 10 dollars and keep the rest of Emile’s money. So all Emile have was 10 cents. So when he mentioned to go live with his parents, he didn’t want [Azime] to support him, he said so. I had nothing I could do. I was married and he was the boss as he said. So I had to go, but how I hated it there with a house full of strangers. Emile get up in the morning and took his fishing pole and off to fish all day. I was glad he was not in the house. And his mother started to hate me. Her and Aurare gave me names and some times laugh at me. It made me mad, but I couldn’t say nothing. At night when Emile came back with a bunch of trouts, I had to clean them. And every day we had trout to eat and suckers too. I was so tired of cleaning trouts. I hate trout ever since. I don’t eat trout no more. And Emile had a cousin Rameo Hebert. And they were always together. At night after supper Emile took his hat and went to see Rameo and they went over a family of Dechaine where there we boys and girls there and he always come home at 11 o’clock at night. He mother said, sometimes why don’t you stay home.
for once but it was always the same – fish in the daytimes and run around at night but it made me no difference at all.
June 29, Laura gave birth to a little girl and it was far from April like she told my mother. So as I have promised her that I would go take car of her and Emile, can I go and he said, yes well go. So I went to take care of her. Emile came to sleep there at night but I didn’t see him in the day times. Laura named her little girl Priscilla; it was her 4th child. I loved that baby as if it would been my own and I thought how it would be nice for me to have my very own little girl to take care of. I always love babies so much.
Three weeks pass and one day Ozime and Emile ask if you want to come with us Sunday. I will rent a car and we will go see Laura and Estelle’s mother. Emile said yes, we’ll go. So on Sunday we leave for Caribou. Laura was anxious to show her little baby to mother. I was so glad I will see my mother. When we arrived at mother’s home, my stepfather was outdoors and he had a lot of things to show them so I went in with Laura. Mother was glad to see us. She kiss us and the baby. Not long after she let Laura have her and food. She said you lied to me. you wrote me to send you Estelle to care for you. You were having your baby in April so
you just had your baby. You lied to me. You wanted Estelle to get her married to Ozime’s brother. She said I never knew that I have raised a daughter to be such a liar. And she said Laura I won’t ever forgive you for that. Laura starts to cry and mother was crying too and I don’t have to tell you that I was the first to cry. I went in the learning room and sit at the piano and try to make believe that I was playing but my tears was falling on the piano keys and I didn’t even see the piano keys. Then mom came in and step father came and sit beside me and he saw I was crying. And he said dear little girl, if you are not happy then you can come home anytime. This is your home anytime. You want to come and I was crying so hard. I would have given you a big gift and I would have been so glad to be your father at your wedding but we were not even invited at your wedding. I know it’s not your fault but pray darling he said and he took $40.00 from his pocket and give it to me. And he also said your mother cry all day the day you got married and he kiss me on the head and I was crying so hard. I could even say thank you father. He went back to the kitchen and after a while I went and wash my eyes and I went to see all our house
in all the rooms upstairs even the action in the cellar. The cellar was filled with nice wood [weed] piles it was smelling so good. My mother she had everything. I went to see mother’s gardens too but later in the afternoon we had to go back so Ozime said alright get ready it’s time to go. Laura started to get her baby ready and me I couldn’t think of leaving my mother. I went and hid behind the garage and I start crying again. They looked for me all about the house at last they find me hiding there crying. Emile said Come we have to go and Mother came and took me by the arms and said come Estelle I can’t keep you and she was crying too. So I know I had to go. So I get in the car and we leave.
That night Emile said now Laura is well to go back home so I had to go back with him to his parent;s about a few weeks after my step father wrote a letter to Emile and he asks him if he wants to go work for him. He needed a man on the construction and to my surprise Emile said yes, we’ll go m. OK, my mother-in-law was so mad about Emile to take me to live in Caribou. She said if you want to lose your wife, go. But she was very mistaken. I was married in the name of the Lord and I promised myself to give my life instead of shaming my mother and brothers and sisters by leaving my
husband. I would hide my tears and sorrow to the end. I thought to myself, Mother will never know what I am suffering.
So I was glad to go to Caribou so Emile could work because we needed money very badly. We stayed for 3 weeks with my brother Patrick. he had moved to Caribou now. He was still a blacksmith.
So Emile starts working for step father and we pay our board for three weeks and after we moved in with my sister Anna and her husband Horace Marquis. He too was working for step father so he had a car. so Emile trained with him. They wire buildings and the Caribou Dam.
Anna was working too so I was alone and in the morning after the house chores were done I went to pass the day with Mother. She was canning vegetables and fruits for winter so I help her all day. It was so nice for me to be there. I said thank you Lord to be able to be with my mother today but every day about 4 o’clock I had to go back to prepare supper and I didn’t want Emile to know that I was passing my days with mother because I know he would be mad. So at 4 o’clock I leave mother to go home and I pass a little short cut. That short cut was between Spring at where mother lives and sweeden street and in this short cut there was a little brook and on the brook to cross there was 4 planks to step to cross over
and every [day] when I went home I stop before crossing at the side of the brook. There were trees and one was much bigger than the other ones so I put my head to this big tree and cried and cried for a big half an hour every day. I cry at this tree and when I thought I had to go home because I will be late, I wash my eyes in the brook and went home and I hurry to cook supper. Emile and Horace arrived at about 15 mines passed 5 and Anna too and I kept my eyes and head down as much as I could so they won’t see my swollen eyes.
Poor Mother! She never knew the tears I shed leaving her every day. Nobody knew beside myself until today.
One day Emile came home and found $50 dollars near the theater. Two $20 dollars and a $10 dollars folded. No billfold or nothing just this $50 in the mud. So we went to a furniture store and we bought a new bed for $25 dollars and a new trunk. We were rich. We had a trunk and a bed to ourselves and we had a little money left to buy sheets and pillow cases. Every week we could buy something – towels and dishes and rugs and what we needed the most Emile was paid good wages. And for me step father ask Emile to work for me just because he want me out of Black Lake because there was lots of men who was looking for jobs in Caribou.
Anyway I was so glad to be out of Black Lake. I thank the Lord every day for it.
At the beginning of September Emile said we will go pick some potatoes at Washburn. So when time came we moved to Washburn. And Emile’s Uncle [ Maestoe] Pelletier was moved there for potato picking too. So we stay with them. Emile took a small job for [Tent] Hale and a boy from St. John, Maine Laurent Talbert pick for Emile. I pick too and I loved Laurent Talbert.
But one night I wake up in flood in the bed. I wake Emile up and said you wet the bed. Get up so I can change the bed. He didn’t say nothing. I made him change and I change too and lay down again. The next day I had to stay home to wash the bed clothes. I was laughing to myself because Emile had wet the bed. I told my Aunt Madelaine Emile wet the bed so I couldn’t go pick today. I got to wash. Poor little girl she said is this the first time since you got married? I said yes. Well she said you are not finished washing wet bed clothes because Emile had always wet the bed. She said Emile’s other told her that she tried everything and she couldn’t stop him from wetting the bed.
In the day time Emile heard that I have told Aunt Madelaine about this when he came home. He was so mad at me. He give me all sort of names
and he said if you said anything about this again you will get it. And he came to hit me. Matante Aunt Madeline just had time to put herself between us and she said Oh no, you won’t hit her while she is with me. Leave her alone. I was crying and I tell you that I learn my lesson. I never mention a word about his bed wetting to no one but this bed wetting last for years and years and years. And he was wearing long underwear since like winter and in winter he always sleep with underwear and shirts and sweater and he never get up for me to change the bed either. I change them in the morning. I get up and change because I wake up 2 or 3 times a week all wet. I change and put dry sheets under me and let him be. It was this way that he had been raised sleeping all dressed up and stay wet. He likes it this way so I just left him the way he like him to be. But sheets and blanket yes, I wash. God Almighty only knows about it. This had been another cross for me to bear.
One morning still at potato picking I faint. I couldn’t go to pick and Aunt Madelaine didn’t want Emile to bring me in the field no more. So I stay home and cook and wash. And I like her a lot. She sing – she was a very good singer and I like
to hear her sing. I learn some very beautiful songs from her. And I sing for her too. She show me how to cook macaroni and she show me to bake apple pies. We were living right near our apple orchard so we made sauce and apple pies.
After potatoes finish, Emile said we will go pass the winter with Father and Mother so I had to go live there again before coming down. We bought some clothing for the winter and after being dressed we bought a few more sheets and blankets. Emile’s mother was glad to have Emile back. For me, I didn’t count. For at home she rarely speak to me. I done all I could to please them so they would like me but in vain. Emily and Clarise I have nothing to say. I get along well together. Emily show me to crochet. At first I discourage myself and stop trying to learn. But she said Estelle try again. I’ll show you so I try again and I did learn. I could work for the Crocheting Company after that and made myself a little money. It didn’t pay much $3.50 for a day’s set of sweaters and caps and booties and I was not used to this so it took me a long time to finish a day.
But Aurare she didn’t talk to me at all. And mom in law she was a good singer too. When she sit at her spinning wheel and sing, how beautiful it sound. But as soon as she sees me listening she stop.
Emile was never home. He hunt rabbits and at night went to see cousin Romio again. He was working for his Uncle Hubald Hebert. Romio’s father and Emile’s father and uncle Hubald Hebert they were all brothers but Romio’s father was living in Fort Kent since he was a small boy. So Emile as ever was never home.
In January I find out that I was to have a baby. I ran over to Laura – she was living about 100 feet from the in laws and Emile didn’t want me to go see her because he said Ozime and Laura all they for is fill you head with junk. So that day, want or not, I went to Laura to tell her that I thought I was pregnant and I said I wish I be so I can have a little girl too. She was glad for me. Well, she said next spring when Emile works, buy some flannelette and I will make you some diapers and little shirts for your baby. I was so happy. I pray dear Lord give me a healthy little baby. I will be so happy and I will have something to pass my time and I will be less lonesome.
I was weighting 125 when I got married but now all I weight was 92 pounds. I was weak and I faint a lot. I couldn’t do nothing to please my mom in law no matter how I try and Emile and me was like fire and water. Everything was black
in front of my eyes. I had to stop crocheting. I was badly sick and mom in law said that I was lazy and Emile believe it too. I did all I could so they would like me but nothing doing. I hate my husband. I pray God please help me love my husband or take us apart. We are too miserable. You put us together – you can take us apart no matter him or me, take one of us but nothing doing. Life had to go on.
We went to live with Laura in the spring and Emile went to work for his Uncle Hubald to plant the crops and as soon as he could he give me $10 dollars which I give to mom in law to buy me some flannelette for my baby’s clothing. And Laura had a new sewing machine so she start sewing for me. How nice it was to feel this baby clothes to my face. I thought how nice my baby will be in this flannelette gown and shirts and diapers. All I live for was to see my baby in my arms. All mine and mine alone. I didn’t think about the father because he didn’t care.
Before my baby was born, Emile said we will go back home so Mother can take care of you when the baby come. So we move back there and I did all I could to please mom in law. But in vain. I saw she was hating me and Aurare too. And Emile believes all his mother and Aurare says but I didn’t mind no more. I thought I did all I could.
and I cannot do the impossible. And as I only have my trunk to put some clothes, I ask Emile, won’t you bring me some carton box so I can put my baby clothes. So he bring me boxes. But after I took them upstairs, I lost them and I couldn’t find out where they disappeared to. And Emile keep bringing me boxes everytime he went down town. He said are you eating all those boxes. i said I couldn’t use one. Some body took them. Years after Emile’s sister Clarice told me where those boxes disappeared to. She said if you go look in the atic, Aurare throw your boxes there so you wouldn’t use them. One day mom-in-law give us each one new sheet and a pair of pillow cases. Me and Emily and Clarice and Aurare. I was glad it was the first thing that she gave to me. I place them in my trunk. And I thought I will use this when my baby come. but when my baby come my sheet and pillow cases was gone. I didn’t have them no more. And I knew darn well where they went to, but I didn’t mention this to mom-in-law or Emile. Three days before my baby was born I didn’t feel well, but I thought this must be the food I ate. I went with Aurare to pick Hazel nuts to sell. Mom-in-law pick some and we had to pick some too. So I feel bad all day. And the next day we went again.
But the third day we were picking on farms below and I had so much pain, I said to Aurare, I can’t pick nuts no more. I am going to home. So she came home with me. I went to bed and Joe’s wife she just had a baby five weeks before. She was there and came upstairs. I was crying. She ran to mom-in-law and said, Estelle is sick. And as soon as she saw me she said, it’s your baby coming. Father-in-law ask me where is Emile. I said, I don’t know. To find him our uncle Hubald and he was mad. He sent him to call the doctor. And when he came back home his father said, what kind of man are you. Your wife is having your baby. And all you care for is run around with Ramio. Why don’t you stay home once in a while. The doctor Archanbeault came and not very long after my baby came into the world. All rosy and nice. A sweet little girl. I named her Laurette like one of my cousins. I was so happy. I thanked the Lord for my baby girl and said, Dear Lord give me all the babies you want. I will love them and take good care of them. I promise you I will give my life for all the children you can give me. My mom-in-law said, you will nurse your little girl. Bottle is no good for a baby. But I was so weak. It was awful in those days. We had to pass at least 9 days in bed. And we
couldn’t change the bed. She said it’s not good to change your bed. The sheets are cold and you might take some fresh air. At seven days in bed, I couldn’t stand no more. I said I got to change my bed. So mom-in-law took a sheet and pillow cases and said to Emile, sleep on this tonight so this will be warm to change the bed tomorrow. And the next morning all was wet. Me and him and the bed. Oh she was mad. I heard her swears in the kitchen. So now we had to change the bed. We pass the winter there, but after Laurette was born she was crying all the time. Starting at three in the afternoon up to three in the morning. I could not stop her from crying. She was thin and crying. I didn’t have enough milk for her and I couldn’t give her a bottle. And father-in-law couldn’t stand to hear a baby cry. So I pass all night with Laurette to try to stop her from crying. I became so tired, I thought I would die. All I weighed was 92 pounds, and I was not 16 years old yet. It was horrible. One night I fell asleep with her in my arms and she rolled to the floor. Aurare came to pick her up. She woke me and said, your baby fell to the floor. The next morning both my baby’s knees were black. At three months I started her on food, and she stopped crying and gained weight and she was a good baby.
In the spring, we moved into an old house belonging to Alduie Lagasse. It was near Black Lake about 1/4 mile from the in-laws. I was glad to move there because Hilaire didn’t leave my baby alone. One day I saw spitting in Laurette’s face. And when I told him why are you doing this, he said, I hate her and he start crying as if I had slapped him. He rand to his mother and said Estelle won’t leave me alone. So she was mad at me. Calling me names and a good-for-nothing. Hilaire was the baby and nobody could say nothing to him. He would fall on the floor in a fit, so nobody dared to say nothing to him. He was so spoiled he was like a little devil. So when we moved near the lake I was glad. Emile’s father let us have an old stove and he and Emile made us a rough table. And Laurette’s crib that I bought for her with my money I made from crochetting for the company. I paid [$10.00] for it. It was a nice little crib and our bed. Two old chairs and Laura let me have an old rocking chair to rock my baby. I kept this old house clean. I was always alone as ever. Emile work one day or two sometimes from salted pork and buckwheat flour. When Laurette slept sometimes I went fishing a the lake. I liked to fish. And in the fall we moved with Laura, for this old house was too cold to pass the winter in. Laurette was one year old, but she eat a lot too.
Emile hunted rabbits and he took them down town to sell them. All he could work was one day or two a week for his uncle Hubald. To buy some salt pork and buckwheat flour, uncle Hubald give him his potatoes. And this little house that Laura lived in was so cold we couldn’t wash the floor. The water would freeze as soon as she touches the floor. And When Laurette wet here bed it freeze under her. So I put her in bed with me and Emile too when he wets the bed, the border of the bed was frozen. In the morning we had to put the wash on a line out doors. And my God it was cold. Behind the stove there was a window and it was broken, so Azime put 2 burlap bags at the place of the window glass. And we had to keep the potatoes in the stable to keep them from freezing. One day Azime bring home one day’s eggs and they put them in a box in their bed at night so she could use them the next day. Poor Laura she had suffer a lot too. Azime was rough with her. I saw him many many time throwing all he had in his hand in Laura’s face pieces of potatoes, pieces of pancake, forks and dishes, anything. She didn’t have much to eat too. Azime was not working too. At first Emile try to be rough with me too. One day he squeezed my neck so hard, it made
me to big [scabs] behind the ears. The marks of his nails. Laura combed me one day because she was always combing me. She loved to play with my curly hair and she saw those scabs. She said what kind of scabs have you behind the ears. So I said Emile squeeze my neck to hard. She was mad. She said let me put my hands on Emile. I will squeeze him too. I said, don’t Laura. This will be worse. So she didn’t say nothing, but he never throw me anything. He was good to give me names and all sorts of things, but I said, hit me once and you will stay alone. It will be the only reason that I couldn’t have stand him because every time he got mad, he sit and sharpen his razor or hunting knife. And he always look at me at the corner of his eyes. And it was scaring me so much. I always been scared of knives and he always look at me at the corners of his eyes. And it was scaring me so much. I always been scared of knives after this. I was pregnant again that winter. I was sick a lot and Laura took good care of me. She was good for Laurette too. In the spring I tell you I was glad that summer was coming to warm myself i the sun. Emile fix a little hanger behind his father’s house. There was no more grain in this little hanger, he put some red paper around inside and we move in. Laurette
was a very smart child. She was 18 months old and she talk a lot and she was potty trained. So in this summer as you remember I had not been confirmed and the Bishop was coming to Daigle Church. I went to see Father Wilfred Ouilette, the same priest who married us. Well he said yes, but you will have to walk to church for three weeks with the other kids to be confirmed. Well I said, Father it’s impossible. I will have a child soon. Well he said, it’s not my fault. I cam home and mad. But in about two weeks Father Ouilette was transfered to another place. And Father Emile Robertaille too his place at Daigle. i went back to see Father Robertaille and told him about Father Ouilette wanting me to walk for three weeks with the other kids. Oh no, he said, come the Sunday morning that the Bishop will be here. I came to confession and communion and in the afternoon you will be confirmed. So I was glad. The day I was confirmed after the ceremonies, Father Robertaille comes to me and said, you will have a baby soon. I said yes Father. He said in case you cannot have this baby confirmed, he is confirmed in you today. So I said, thank you Father. I cam home happy. It was July 29 and my baby was born August 6th, my first little boy. I named him after my brother
Lewis. He was big baby and a good baby. but my [battle, body?] was ready to give to him when he was born. The next day that I was in bed, we had a thunder storm and they had to put 5 or 6 pans on my bed. It was raining inside like a basket. The third day they leave me there alone to go pick blueberries in St. John. Laura and Azime went too. I ask Emile to stay with me that day. But talking to him was like talking to an object, so he went. I had no wood inside. It was a very cold day. Laurette was cold and me too. For my little baby, he was in my bed so he was okay. So I had to do something, Laurette was hungry too. So I get out of bed and put a coat on me and I went out door to get some wood. To light the stove to warm Laurette and I cook her some oat meal to eat. And I eat some too. And late in the afternoon when they come home I was up and it was warm inside. Mom-in-law was mad. You go back to bed. You are going to be sick, but I didn’t go back to bed. I was nursing Lew, but he had a bottle too and he grew like a weed. He as a very big baby. And today at the age of 53 he weighs around 230. He always was big. When Lew was one month old, Emile said, if you write your sister Anna and ask her if we could go live with her for a few weeks, I’ll go pick
potatoes this fall. And as Anna and her husband were also going potato picking, she answer right back and said, we’ll be glad to have you. So September 15 we moved with my sister and Emile with them to pick. And he was a very good picker. Over a hundred barrels every day at 10 cents a barrel. And i was doing the house chores and one day I was washing the clothes and after I was done I took my brother on on the stove half full of [caustic] water that I used to boil the clothes. I wanted to put some water in a bucket to wash my floor. I put the end of the boilder on the side of the bucket and that bucket of boiling water upset on my right leg. I was burned so bad. I took my stocking off and all the flesh came off with it. For a month I suffer so bad. Now I know what my poor brother Leonard had suffered the two times he was burned. i passed the nights swinging my leg beside the bed. It was in pain so much. One day mother came home. She was living near us. And she said, get ready, I am taking you to the doctor. So I let Anna keep the two kids and the doctor took something like a wax paper and she scrub all burned flesh. I was crying. Mom was crying too. And after having finished scrubbing the bad flesh, he put some [inguantine] salve and gauze and wrap on my leg. I felt better after this. My leg start to heal and soon after
I was okay again. One day Emile came home with a nice big phonograph with 10 records. He paid 50 dollars for it. It was second hand, but look like new. He knew I liked music, so he bought me this phonograph. I was so glad he was working at the fertilizer factory now. And after the [drying] was over, he didn’t say nothing about going back to Black Lake. I was so glad. My mother was near, and Anna and [Honory] move on a farmers jobs that Honory took year round. So we was along now, but later on Emile start gambling with his friends at the [federation plants]. He came home very late at night and January 1st he said, I got to go work. I know it was not time because the federtation plant was closed that day. Anyway, he left in the morning as usual and I had no wood, not inside or outside. No wood at all. And it was so cold in the house. Mom came in the afternoon to wish me Happy New Year. I told her that it was cold inside, I have no more wood. She went home and not long after, my step father came with his horse and sled and with a small load of wood. And he was mad about Emile. The next day it was Sunday. My step father came back. Emile was just getting up. He arrived at 11 o’clock. The night before, no more money. He lost
every penny. So he was Marabow. My step father was mad at him. And he said, you don’t know that you have a wife and two kids. No wood a the house? If you don’t treat your wife better, I will see to it that you do. Emile was and and tell my step father to mind his own business. My wife, he said, is my affairs not yours, and if you don’t like it stay away from here. So my step father left without saying another word. Now Emile was mad at me. He started to give me names. He always called me la bonne fame kit when he was mad. And he said, you are just good to talk behind my back. But it was not my fault. His mother came home that afternoon and saw that I was cold. With the kids with no wood to put in the my stove. He bought a cord of wood from a farmer, Paul Cyer was his name, for 15 dollars and he never paid him. And he didn’t pay the rent 10 dollars a month. So in the spring we had to move out. My woman neighbor was good to me. She gave 2 quarts of milk everyday, and she didn’t want any payment too. So we moving in a little rent the other side of my mother but not far. It was just a little rent. Very small bed room and a kitchen and a very large shed out doors. It was about half the size of the rent I’m
living in today. And the shed, one day I found a box of dirty dishes. So when the landlord came to collect the rent I asked him about this box of dishes. Oh, he said, an old man was living here and he is dead now. So you can have this if you want to. So I washed and boiled those dishes and it was all good dishes. We had a big kitchen stove burning only coal. So when Emile passed along the tracks to come home from work, he picked a big bag of coal. So the apartment was warm all days. We moved there in March. I had nothing to wash in so my mother sand sister Anna came every two weeks. Mother brought her washing machine and they wash for me. An I hang my clothes in the big shed. So it was cold there. I was pregnant again. Every week Emile play [moving] and drink. He came home very late some times. The kids, for him, he never look at them. He knows the were made that’s all. He didn’t care for any of us. All he had in mind was gambling. But one weekend he came home with a boiler and a wash board and a small tub. I was so glad I had a good table and chairs that step father had given me. And now I had some things to wash with. I was rich I thought. My two children were fine. I didn’t feel to good again, but I thought I will feel better soon.
Every morning I had to run to get the milk and I had to pass the same little short cut that I used to cry by the big tree. But I had no time to stop now. My two kids were still sleeping and I ran as fast as I could and came back before they woke up. On Good Friday, I had the surprise of my life. Who came in the house? Emile’s father. I was so surprised to see him. He seem glad to see me. He shake hands and kiss me. He talk about Emile’s job and all kinds of things. Emile cam home and he was as surprised as I was to see his father home. And as we have no place to put him to bed. Emile too him over my mother’s to sleep. And Emile came back and said to me, father much have come here for some thing because it was Good Friday. so the next morning his father came back and talk for a while and said, well I came to see you Emile. I have bought a team of horses and they are very wild and I don’t feel well enough to work those horses. And I thought if you want to come work with the horses, we’ll work together and in June I will pass the farm at your name and you’ll take care of us. I knew right away that was a lie. Emile’s father was still to young to give his farm away.
He was just afraid of his new horse. So, Emile didn’t know what to say. Well his father said, think about it for 2 weeks and let me know, but not later. If you come, tell me the day and I will go get you at the Frenchville Depot. And he left to go back to take the train for home. Now before going further, I would like to say another thing. When Laurette was a month old, Leo Caron asked Emile one day if we would like to go pass three days in Caribou. He and his wife was going to see a doctor and they had to pass three days in Caribou. So Emile said, yes we’ll go. I was so glad to go show Laurette to my mother. Of course my mother saw Laurette when she was a day old. She and step father came to be her God parents. But now she as a month old and for me there was not a nicer lady in all the world. And after we’d been gone two days a letter came at home. It was coming from my sister Anna. So as mom-in-law couldn’t read or write. So when I arrived in Caribou with Emile, mother was so glad to see me and my baby. their house had burned down and my step father had made a temporary place to live until their new house was ready. I saw Anna too and she told me, I wrote you a letter, did you get it. I said, no. Well she said, you will get it when you go back. She said it was to ask Emile
if he wanted to come to work with my husband. You can stay with us and she said nothing more. So after three days was over we returned home and Emile went to the barn to see if the animals had been fed. So I went in and as soon as I step in the house my mother-in-law didn’t look at me at all. She was cooking supper and Emile’s father said, Aurare read the letter to Estelle. I said what letter. For a moment I had forgotten about the letter Anna said she wrote me. Aurare pulled a chair near the wall and she step on it to be near the lamp that was hanging on the wall. And she start reading. Nothing was wrong on the letter except she said, I know Estelle that you are not happy there. So she ask us to move with her so Emile could with with her husband. I said give me my letter. She said, oh no. You won’t get that letter. Emile came in and I was crying with Laurette in my arms. He said, what’s going on here, and you, what are you crying for. His mother said, Anna wrote to Estelle to move to Caribou and so you can work with her husband. And you don’t have to move Estelle, with them to become a prostitute like Anna and her mother and all kind of junk she and Aurare said. And she looked at me and said, you are like your mother,
la bonne fame kit. Emile said give me this letter, Aurare. But his mother said, no you won’t get that letter. So I went to bed without supper that night. Emile came up and said, stop crying and come eat supper. But my heart was to sick to eat. I use to write to mother once in a while when I could have two cents for a stamp, but after this event, I couldn’t write mother no more because you see only Aurare could go to the mail box. The mail box was in front of Uncle Hurbald Hebert at the foot of the hill coming from Frenchville. So only Aurare had the right to go at the mail box. and when I give her a letter to mail she didn’t mail it because mother never received my letters. And when mother wrote me a letter, you know where I find them. Well coming home from the mail box not far from the house there was a big rock near the road. And Aurare site there and read moms letters and she tears them into pieces and throw them in the road. I find the pieces bu all I know it was my mother’s writing but the piece was too small to put together. So I couldn’t hear from mother no more and I couldn’t write her either. This was Aurare again. Now go back forward again, almost two week after Emile father came home. He asked me what
are you saying about father’s offer? I said, you often told me that you were my boss, so if you are the boss, I have absolutely nothing to say. Well he said you can tell me what you think. I said, I think nothing. If I say yes, We’ll go and if we don’t get along there you will say to me, you should have said no. And if I say no, not to go, afterwards you will say, if you had wanted to, we’d be on the farm today. As you are the boss, if you go I’ll go because I belong to you as you say. so decide for yourself. The next day he said, we’ll write to father and tell him that we will be there April 15. I said, find yourself another writer. I don’t want to meddle in your affairs. So I never knew who wrote that letter for him, but he asked step father to put our things in the back of his shed for a while until he could come with his father to get them. And April 15 we too the train and as he said, his father was waiting for us at the Depot. He was glad that we came. But at home it was a very different thing. When we came into the house, his mother was mad. She didn’t look at us at all. And Aurare was mad too. and she said to Emile, you should have stayed in your hole with your wife and bastard. Emile’s father looked at Emile and shaked his headd as if to say don’t say nothing. We ate. The supper was ready. And
I washed my children’s and I went upstairs. Our bed was ready. The next morning I asked mom-in-law, can I help you milk the cows and feed the calfs. She said, no, you help Aurare to do the house chores and let me be with my cows. So that’s what I done. Aurare she was a good worker. So I start to work with her in the house doing the chores and the washing. And I worked as hard as I could to please them. Emile begin to work on the farm with the new horses. And they were very wild. But in the house, not matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t do enough to satisfy them. And father-in-law was always mad about Emile too. What was making him mad, he didn’t say nothing to Emile’s face. He came in the house and said, I don’t know why I raise a lazy son like this. I cannot make him do a job right. He’s stubborn and do only what he please. This made me mad because if he had something to say to him, why don’t he say it to him instead of telling us this in the house because I know Emile was working hard and he was doing his best. Clarice got married in May or June and my mom-in-law said, Estelle you don’t need your furniture that Emile put in the barn. When Emile
could go with his father to caribou they bring my furniture from step father’s shed. And they put this in the barn. So she said you are living with us so you don’t need those things. I will give this to Clarice. So I didn’t say nothing. Only my bed I kept. she give the rest to Clarice.
And in September Clarence. My little Clarence. I named him Clarence after Emile’s brother Clarence. And to eat in bed, my mom-in-law all she give me was pancakes soaked in pork fat. Grease as I say. And this made me so sick it was too fat and I couldn’t digest this. She always said it’s not good eating too much in bed. You eat more when you get up. So one day father-in-law was going to Fort Kent. So I had 25 cents. I give ti to mom-in-law and said, could you give this 25 cents to father so he can bring me 4 bread. We buy 4 breads for 25 cents in those years. Well she said I will give it to him, but you know Honore. He’s no good to make commission. He came home with the 4 bread. And my mother-in-law took them and said, Estelle, I will put your 4 breads in my little trunk upstairs and just ask me when you want some and I’ll go get you some. Otherwise the children will spoil them. So I tell you, I never ask for a slice of that
bread and I never any. When my Clarence was a month old, Aurare got married. She was three months pregnant. She married Alsime Bourgoin my cousin. And after she was married she wanted us to move from there because she didn’t want us to now that she was to have a baby. So she start bullying my children around. Laurette and Lew. She too Laurette by the hair one time and threw her on the wall. And she called them little bastards and all kind of lies she tell her mother about me. Things not believable. So after supper I too the children and stayed upstairs with them. One day Aurare and her mother go mad at me. They didn’t have to get mad because they were mad all the time. They start calling me all sorts of names and said, you are only good to make bastards. You are no good for nothing else. You are just like your mother and calling mother names so dirty that I don’t dare write them on my white paper. They could call me names, but my dear mother that she was a good mother and good in anyways we can say. And to hear them dirty her name, my god my heart was breaking in tears. I was crying and I open my mouth. I shouldn’t have but I did. I said look, when I came here, do you
Remember mother when I came home and you are saying today that I am not helping you to milk the cows. Yes, it’s true. I don’t help you because you told me not to bother with the cows – to help aurare in the house and I am doing all I can to do my share . It’s true I said I am now pregnant again but my children are not bastard and I almost said it’s your dirty sons fault, he is the one who do the children. I would never have one on my part but I didn’t say it to shut my mouth. Mother said I hate you so much. You can never be sick enough to please [him] and you never can starve enough to suite me and run if [… ] I won’t give you my worst breadcrumbs. As for my love, I didn’t want you to help me because I did;t want you to dirty the name[…] that’s how much they find me dirty[…]but what hurts me the most that day was to see them insult my Poor Mother who was so good I couldn’t listen no more. I took my little Clarence and I went over Uncle Hubald Hebert and I thought when Emile came home I [would] come back. I didn’t know Uncle Hubald and his wife too much but I couldn’t stay in the house another minute. My uncle Hubald was
In the house when I came in and he said , well you’re crying
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in the next summer my father in law and his wife. They went to pass the day in St. Agatha with Clarise so we were alone all day with Aurare. And at night they came home and I took my children to bed and it was early but as Aurare was [roughing] them I put them to bed early. And on the floor upstairs there was a grill so the heat could come upstairs. So I sit near this grill on the floor and mom and father in law was sitted downstairs but under that grill so I thought I will listen to them talk. The talk for awhile and father said, Estelle didn’t [dump] in the bean pot, mom said no but Aurare said that she cook a big frying pan of meat and eggs. And they eat all they could eat and she throw the rest in the hogs barrels. This was not true at all. And she said I told Emile not to buy her anything because it will be spoiling his money. I don’t know where Emile had money to spoil because we had been working there for nothing, not a penny. We work there for 3 years and he bought me a pair of shoes once for $2.50 and he keeps repeating those shoes that he bought me to the end of his life. Never a piece of clothing for the kid, nothing.
Emile was almost [naked] so one day he ask his father can I go work for a week or 2 for Edmond Gangnon to cut
some wood. His father said yes you can go. The spring planting was done and nothing much to do on the farm. So Emile work for 2 weeks but Lew took sick from cholera. And we have to get the doctor for him and after the doctor was paid, Emile didn’t have much money to buy clothes. And one day, Lew, had no more nipple and he was crying. Father in law was going down town so I give 5 cent to mom in law again to give to him to buy a nipple. I heard them say I don’t sucks one. If she wants to suck let her buy her own nipple. He keeps the 5 cents but didn’t buy any. Emile had to go downtown himself to get a nipple for Lew. So that night when I listen to them talk near the grill upstairs I went to bed crying, Emile and Aurare and [Alsime} and friend were playing cards in the kitchen. He came to bed. I was still crying. He ask me what’s the matter, I said nothing, He said are you sick I said no I’m not sick. Well, he said you don’t cry for nothing and I want to know why you are crying. So I told him what I hear from his father and mother. The next morning he was mad about Aurare and his mother. He said to them often time I saw that Estelle cried. And I want this to be the last time leave her alone and what you said was Aurare lies. Aurare was so mad
and his mother too. She said if you are not satisfied get your bitch and bastard out of here. It was pure hell.
Ozime came that day and he took my part so his mother throw him out. Ozime and Laura always took my part that’s why Emile and his mother hated him and Laura. So I told Emile that night you can stay but me I can’t stand it no more. I’m going away. I didn’t know where to go but I couldn’t stay there with my dear children no more.
So we moved in the same old house near the lake belonging to Alderie Langasse where we stay for awhile when Laurettte was small. But I had no more things – mother in law had given everything to Clarice when she got married. All I have was my bed and cribs and Lew and Laurette had a bed for the 2 of them. The same old stove father let us have again and Emile made a big old fashioned table again and to eat, salt pork and pancake and Uncle Hubald told Emile come get the potatoes you need. I give them to you.
Emile keeps on working for his father for nothing just fat salt pork and buckwheat flour. I had to cut some branches, spruce branches to scrub the floor and cedar branches to sweep the floor. Laura let me have a big black pan to cook in and a frying pan, a few old forks and that’s it. We eat in pail cover, no clock or mirror, nothing. I took an old fork to comb
Laurette and Lew and Clarence and myself. Nothing to wash the cloths in. I had to wash clothes by hand in an old pan. And as Emile was never home after working all day for his father, he eat there and came home around 11 o’clock at night. He had to go feed the horses for the night before coming home. That’s what he said anyways.
So I had to get my wood myself, to cook and warm the house. There was an old fence. I burn every piece of it and I cut some from the woods near the lake. I kept the house clean and the children.
After potato digging was over, Emile and his father hauls potatoes in town with the 2 teams of horses, each a load but when Emile pass our house he never stop to see if were were alright, He didn’t care he was home so rarely. The children didn’t know their father. Clarence was a year old and when Emile was home on weekends and talk to him he cry he was scared of his father. One day he came home I was sick with birth pain and I sent him to call a doctor. And I give birth to a little boy 2 months premature. I name him Aime like my father, but we always called him T. Emile god mercy was in the good health and I didn’t have any hard time with him. When I was out of bed one night there was nothing to eat in the house
Not even flour to make pancakes. I was hungry and the children too. Mama, Laurette said, I’m hungry. I put them to bed and said sleep for a little while and papa will come and bring some food. But Emile came as always at 11 o’clock with nothing to eat. Ok he said I forgot. So the next morning he went over Uncle Hubald and he bring a little pail of flour and potatoes, few pieces of salt pork. My poor children was so hungry – for my little baby I nurse him. Few days after nothing more to eat I went in the garden and there was some old string beans that stayed in the garden that Alderie Lagasse leave there. I pick them up and I took them off their shell and cook them with just no fat at all. And at night for supper me and the children eat those beans as it would have been raisin pies. When I think of that today I hardly believed this really happens. As it was too cold to live in that old house for the winter, we moved in Ozime’s little house near the in laws again. Ozime and Laura was moved on a farm in Caribou to work by there. We moved in their little house. My little Aime was born Nov 12 and he was 12 days old when I more in Laura’s house. Emile keeps on working for his father and I start crocheting for the companies to earn
a few dollars to try to buy clothes for the children and me. My mother give me some of her clothing and she made some clothes for the kids too. She often times bring some things to eat, vegetables and conserve. Everytime she come she always brings me something. My stepfather often give me money and he give some to the children too. I couldn’t crochet much in the day time but I work at night. I had an old lamp but no lamp chimney so I took a quart jar and I took a string of wool yarn and Oh just enough to put around my jar. I soak this piece of wool in kerosene and tied it about an inch at the bottom of the jar. And when the string finish burning I soak the jar in cold water and the bottom of the jar fell off. So this make me a lamp chimney. And I work up to 12 or 1 hour at night.
I was pregnant again for the next baby in March. And in the winter I had to melt some snow to have water to wash the clothes because it was too far to go to the well to get my water. Besides I had no pail so I melt snow and for my soap I put some stove ashes in an old pan and pour hot water on it. After it calm down I took the water on top so this was my soap to
Wash the clothes and scrub the floor. It was good to wash but I often burn my hand because this was very strong some times. When Emile went down town he went at the store and bring me beef and pork fats. And with caster and raisins I make myself some soap. I cook this in Emile’s father’s big black kettle outdoors. So I had enough soap for awhile and I had no soda for my pancake. I put a spoon of that stuff that I made with ashes and it made nice pancake but it taste like ashes a bit.
And this little house was so cold as I told you before it was terrible this little house. About 18 feet long and 12 feet large. 2 beds and a stove and a wood sink in one corner, a little cupboard on the top of th sink and the other corner was a little start to go upstairs butit was too cold to sleep upstairs. I couldn’t washt he floor too often the water was ffreezing on it.
March 16 I give birth to another little boy. I name him Haime Richard, like Doc Richard Savage. He was thin and small. I try to breast feed him but I had no milk at all. And mother in law came one day and said give him some rolled oates water, its good for an infant. So I boil oates and give him the water. He drink some for a little while but instead of growing he keep losing weight and cry all the time. One day Mr. Octave Theriault came in
he was passing the school lot2 for the school children. I didn’t have any going to school yet, but instead of turning where he use to turn in front at Emiles home, he ask me can i warm neer your stove. I say ah yes you can. I give him a chair and he sit for awhile. Richard was crying, he ask me is your baby sick so i told him about this oats water, that i was feeding Him, he ask me Emile father had no cows that’s give milk I said yes but no money no milk, he said I got cows and i Bring you milk every morning when I pass the school lot.3
so every morning he bring me 2 quarts of milk , and i put some out door, to keep it fresh, for the weekend. Thanks to Mr Theriwelt he had save my babys Life, may god give rest to his soul. in the spring Emile quite working for his father he ask him, you pay me wages or I’m leaving4. Well his father built5 is you wants to I don’t need you no more. it was O.K. now, his horses was tame now, they were not wild no more Emile have after times nearly being killed by those horse. When he put them on a machine thy took reared and Broke every thing thy had behind them one times thy got reared,6 and Emile couldn’t hold them and he fell in the Binder7 and his cloths got stuck
in the machine, and his clothes was all ripe off his body, and he was almost naked. When those horse got scared thy run and until one feel that when thy stop. one times thy rip’t and feel in a Barb wire fence, and thy were all cut, i tell you Emile had some hard times with those horses but thy were beautiful tame
now once thy we tame and Emile didn’t had hard times with them, so his father didn’t need him no more. so he went to work for uncle Hubald8 Hebert, for a while, for 50 cents a day. We were in the big depression now, and specialy at the boat9 at black lake there was no work. so Emile works for 50 cents a day. all the rest of that school term Mr. Theriwelt bring me milk. Emile bought a few hen from uncle Hubald. he made a shed for them 7 or 8 thy were laying eggs, his father give him a month old pig. i feed this little pig all summer and in the summer some of our hens had babys chickens to but in the fall Emile went picking potatoes and his father kill the pig for themselves and thy didn’t even give me a piece. Emile was so mad when he come back. But his father said it was my pig. That next winter Emile bought some traps and he start to trap for fur. mostly furs and minks and muskrats and with
i was doing for the company, I bought Blankets and clothes and house ware and was never home, he trap, and the rest of the times he stay over his fathers house. he pass in front of the house some times and didn’t even stop. part of the times I had to saw woods for the stove and one day, as I was sawing wood on a piles of snow, Mr. Theriwelt was going on his farm he had below and saw me and he stop. he said its not your place for you to saw woods like this, I was pregnant again, it was like a clock every years a baby, He took my saw and with his son, in a short while I had a big piles of woods.
I use to watch so no one saw me saw some wood, but this times i didn’t see them come when Emile came that night he was real mad, he said i will tell Octave Theriwelt . he had no business to come here and saw my wood. I didn’t say nothing but I was glad to have some wood in the house. one times when Laura was in this little house, she went over father in law house, it was Before my T. Aimie was born. he said to Laura, its terrible10 I saw 8 mans going at Emiles house after Emile left for work this morning, and i will tell you what he see every morning
on sunny days, at the bottom of the house out side there was dart paper and a big piece of Black paper was torn leaving a space big about a man, and as the sun shine the sun moved and it look like a man changing place. Laura came and told me about what this what he saw, and taught11 it was man coming home I am sure thy told this to Emile to because he was so furious12, he accused me of all kinds of things.
And there mother Denis Varisine14 thy haven’t talk to each other for many years. When my mother in law, saw the girls pass to go picks strawberrys on the farm down below us, she kneels on the porch , and she made the sign of the cross, or stand on the porch, and give them names. When i tried to tell Emile whats those mans was, he didn’t wants to listen to me at all. so i let it be . so in January, uncle Hubald Hebert died of Cancer.
in the eyes as he would tell me please moms don’t cry. and at 4 oclock Emile took him in his arms, and he pass away. god have took my little son away from us, at this moment I couldn’t believe what happen, and i start to cry. why god I said why have you done to me why do you take my little son away from me. what my god i have done to you. I took care of him the best way i could. and i love him and all the hard work i done all my married life, and was this not enough what could i have done more my god. I said I don’t Love you no more. I wont pray you no more. I pray and prayed and you never answer my prayers so I wont pray no more. I don’t believe in you no more. my mother in law came, and wash my little son and she made Him a place, at the foot of my bed, to laid Him to rest.
he was so nice my little boy. he had sky blue eyes and Blond Curly Hair and his little round face, and in front on his 2 front teeth white spots like little pearls. my poor little boy. was it possible that this morning was so warm and tonight so cold, and, instead of his bed a white casket. was it possible that this had Happen to me. I couldn’t believe it, but it was so true, i lost
my little boy. I was so proud of my fairer16 little son. was it possible that i lost one. Emile had gone to town on foot, to buy him a little white Casket I couldn’t stop crying Loretta and Lew, and Clarence17 was crying to.
Emile took me in his arms to try to comfort me but he was crying to my tears still are falling on my paper. I can help them from falling. After 2 days Emile and his father went to church at Daigle, with a sled and our little son, in the bottom of the sled. Poor little Clarence. As far18 as he saw them going on top of the Hill, he watch them disappear the next day. The cellar was full of water, and Emile open the little trap on the floor to take a pail of water and Clarence fell in and almost drown, under the floor, before Emile could pull him out. it was so sad moment for both of us. I didn’t pray I was mad at god. I pass my times crying. I took care of my other kids I love them so much, but the rest didn’t matter to me no more. I couldn’t eat, I feel sick all the times, and one day mom in law come, and said now if you don’t stop your crying, you will lost the baby you are carrying to. so instead of one you will lost two in all my sorrow i didn’t have time
to think at myself. I was daze, i didn’t think of nothing I have forgotten that i was bearing another child. oh my god i taught, what have i done to you, please forgive me oh lord for i said about you, please forgive me i didn’t know what i was saying. I have lost my head. You must have needed an angel and you took my little boy for you angel, you have given him to me to love for 2 years and 4 months and 27 days. thank you oh lord. its not true i believe in you and i will pray again and no matter what Happens I wont never Denied19 you ever. You took my little boy, but in a few months you are giving me another one, a boy or a girl no difference. if you give me a Healthy baby, he will took the place of the one you took from me thank you lord for giving me another one. I could stop crying after and do my work and take care of myself.
of course i had moment that i couldn’t stop crying for i am still crying today for my little boy, but i know today that i have an angel in the Heaven of god. and he didn’t had to pass and go true20 the Hard times my other kids have today. he is the only one who doesn’t have to pass true anything and i know he is an angel, for the other one, I don’t know where thy will be. I hope and prey that
thy will keep the faith in the lord so thy can see there little angel Brother one day. on August 6 i give birth to a little girl. I prey thank you lord for my healthy little girl and i name her Lillian, like my sister Lilyanne, but I was realy feverish21 a month after all i could do was sit on a chair neer the bed. Loretta was 7 years old and she done the cooking as to ay salt pork slice and boil potatoes and pancakes. she also wash the babys diapers. Angeus Hebert, Leo Hebert wife, now, she was uncle Hubald Hebert daughter, and she had the bad luck to have a baby, a 6 month old baby when Lillian was born. she came to help me for 2 week, and she went back home , but she came once a week and do my washing.
so Emile took his Brother Clarence and her to be god parent to Lillian thy took her to the Daigle Rectory for the Baptismal, and the priest didn’t want her to be god mother because she had a child, a while oh about 2 years later Angnus step mother told me Angnes is not you little girl god mother. she said ask father Rabalaille about it. so i did ask the priest and he said your baby had to22 good parent, to except a girl with a child for her god mother he said if you look for you baby
god mother her gods mother name is Burnadette Guimoud. I feel sorry for Angnes because she was a very good person. so any way when Lillian was a month old all the childrens took sick including Lillian with whooping caught. thy choke and throw thy was so sick. i couldn’t do nothing, Emile put ah23 not a mattress because we didn’t had no mattresses. it was like 2 bed sheet saw24 together, and with a Hale in the front, and it was filled with straw, he put this at the foot of the bed, and the childrens sleep on it thy were neer us. We could take care of them better on the floor. thy were sleeping upstairs but now thy were all sick after thy got better a little bit but still coughing a lots. i said to Emile i cant stay here no more I will died.
I will go to my mother for a while in Cariborn, maybe she can help me care for the kids until i get stronger, he was Emile I mean was working for T.A. St John once in a while, so he said yes you can go. he went to see Leo Caron to take me to Cariborn, and his mother came to pack the childrens clothes and mine she seem glad to get rid of us around there. When i arrive our mother, she was sick she was not feeling well at all. that night she help me with the kids to put them to bed and the next morning i said to her I should have stay home i didn’t know
you were sick I am sorry, well she said if you wants to go back i call Anna to take you down, but when my step father came for supper, he said i will take you down myself. that afternoon.
mother said to me what kind of peoples are thy your in law. and she tool 2 letter in her apron pocket and said i had those letter here for a long time now. and she show me the letter I have received, when I was in Cariborn that Aurare reads to me. on another letter she received and i start to read that letter, and things unbelievable on that letter about Anna and her. and at the end of the letter was mark a big black pencil Kiss my 25 you can imagine by your self what words it was and it was sign Mrs T.A. St John. i said to mother ah no, mrs st john never wrote that letter. she was a well educated woman and she didn’t know me at all. she couldn’t have wrote this letter and beside I know well the writing of this letter, the person who wrote the letter was educated like me, but she sign Mrs T.A. St Johns name on it. i ask mother give me one those letter, no she said I have to keep them to show peoples how good your in laws are. so i start crying, for the love of you she said, i will now burn the letter and she open the stove
and burn those dame letter.
and burn those damn letters.
That night step father took his son in law Eddie Hebert with him and took me home. He pass the night home. We wanted to give him our bed to sleep in but he didn’t want to. They sleep on blankets on the floor. Emile was very surprised to see me back. I told him about mother being too sick she couldn’t help me. The next morning step father instead of going home he went to Fort Kent town office to talk to the town manager to come to see me. I needed help he said. Earl Roberts was the town manager at the time. In the afternoon I saw a car coming at the house. He came in with a social worker or his secretary. It was the Aunt at Llewellyn Point. He talk to me for a while asking about Emile. I said he works one day once in a while for T.S. St John on the farm at Black Lake. He was working that day He looked all around the house. My broom of branches and the pail cover we were eating in. Nothing in the house kids. He shake his head and said to the women I saw poor but never that bad. He ask me about milk. I said there is some at Emile’s house but no money no milk. He said you cannot find a women to help you. and I said again there are 3 women over my in-laws but no money no help.
He look at the stove pipe. It was all rusted ready to fall down. So he said tell your husband to come to see me at the town office tomorrow. I want to talk to him.
He left and stop at my in-laws and he was mad. One, at you women couldn’t go help this poor wife and let her have some milk for her children. He said what kind of people are you here. My mother was so mad. She said to him you don’t work for nothing and we don’t work for nothing too. And my milk is to sell not give away. Well, he said, if one of you can go work to help her. I’ll pay you $3 a week and let her have all the milk she can use and I pay you $.20 a quart. So Emily said I can go and I have a cow. I will let her have some milk. Mr. Robert said mark all your milk and every washing you will make and I will give you $1 each wash.
When he leave there he met Emile coming when he leave from work and Mr. Robert told me what kind of man are you. Your wife is sick alone and you didn’t have the heart of come see me yourself. People from Caribou had to come at your place. He said come see me tomorrow. I want to talk to you.
Emile was so mad when he get home He said that’s why you went to Caribou to lament your self to your step father
and mother to talk about me but I didn;t know this that my step father had gone to the town office. That night Emily came with her cow and the next morning Emile went to see Mr Robets an dhe give him stove pipes and dishes and broom and canned foods and stuff besides. And when he got home he was not as mad.
A few days after a social worker came in too and she ask me questions and she look all the children over but they were all in good health. So she said you need medical care. I will see to it that you get it. And she said tell Emile to come to see me tomorrow. I want to see him.
So next morning he went where she said to meet her at the Fort Kent drug store. She had a job for him at the WPA working on the road. It was on Market St. She also give hi a big box of clothing and garden stuff and needles and bread. So the next morning he went to work bringing for his lunch pancake and slice of salt pork. That’s all we had.
He walks morning and night to go work. I begin to sew some clothing for the kids by hand and I made Laurette dresses and shirts for my little boys.
But that social worker she was transfer some place else so she couldn’t give me the medical help I need. One day I went to see a
doctor, an old doctor Cote in Edmonton. He find my heart very weak. He told me not to lift nothing heavy and not to sit down fast and not to get up fast because you can drop. But try to walk slow but try to walk a little longer every day. And he give me drops of Digitalis to take 5 drops a day.
So every day I try to walk out door and every day a little farther. One day I went to walk and my walk was not about 50 feet at the house. When I heard Aurare screaming out door. Emily was there. When she came back I ask her won’t you tell me what Aurare was screaming about. OK she said she’s crazy. She thought that you went down the hill to see Alsime her husband. I said Oh Lord. Yes she said Estelle is not sick she just making believe. She is going down the the hill to see Alsime. So when Alsime came he she jump on him with a piece of wood and hit him and hit him. So alsime said I will go away. He came home and he was crying and ask Emile to buy his gun. Emile said no Alsime it’s your father’s gun and he give it to you and I don’t want your gun. He said I can keep it for you for awile but I can’t buy it, it’s yours. So he left his gun with Emile and went at the barn. And Emile’s father went
to talk to him at the barn and said come back home and I will see that Aurare won’t do such a foolish thing like this again. So Alsime went back home. After a few days he came back to get his gun back.
The next spring I miscarriage. I was 4 months pregnant and I lost it. Not long after they transfer Emile to work near the house to put branches near the road. And after 2 or 3 weeks Mr. T. A St John ask Emile to work on his farm at Black Lake. So he quit the WPA. President Roosevelt had started giving reliefs to the poor so every month Emile went to get his part. Emily was still working for me and she spoil Clarence so bad. He was her god child and in her eyes Clarence never do anything wrong. She was good for me and my kids.
In the fall Mr St John had his crew for potatoes digging and picking. Emile went to pick for Wilfred Hebert for 4 cent a barrel. Laurette was 9 years old and Lewellyn 7 and poor Clarence he was 6 only. They start picking at dawn in the morning to the darkness at night and the children was so tired at night some time Clarence fell asleep while eating.
We were move in T.A. St john old house on the farm and this small old house had 2 doors. One to the north and one to the south.
and the one to the north, the people who live there before us had a big dog and this dog scratch the door and made a hole about 10 inches around. And behind that house there was a hole in the wall and one day we find a porcupine upstairs. When he saw us he was scared. I don’t really know if we took his rent or he want to take our place. Anyway he went back to between the wall and took the hill running. Emile put a board on that hole and for the winter Emile block the door in the north with straw and board too. But it was so cold in this house. Again no storm windows nothing. Air came from all over. I keep the stove going until 12 to 1 o’clock at night and the next morning the water is frozen in the kettle and the stove.
Emily had to leave us. He husband was back from Presque Isle sanitorium. So we took one of my cousins to work for me. Mr. Roberts was still paying for her. Emily was crying whe she leaves and the children too especially Clarence. For me after my little boy wa dead I promise pyself that I won’t spoil my Aimee. He was spoiled no Emily have spoiled Clarence too.
I was still working for the company. Laurette help me to do the booties. I was getting stronger with
drops that doctor Cote give me for my heart.
The next summer Emile works on the farm for T.A. St John and they pick the potatoes there that fall. Potatoes were near home. I could dress the kids for winter.
After potato picking Emile start fur trapping again. One day he came home with 10 skunks. It was smelling so bad it was just awful. He skin them and put them on his [fat mold??] and he hang them upstairs. They were nice. No one was alike but how they smell. Every time I went upstairs to get some flour I throw up every time. He put them in a steel container and ship them to George in New York. When his check came he didn’t stink.
In the spring Emile and his brother in law Fortuna Bourgoin went hunting deer. It was close season. It was March and when they met in the wood, the warden Cash Austin. And he took them to Houlton jail, no hearing or nothin. Bail is $200 each. As they had no money to pay it was for 60 days each.
Late at night I heard walking outdoor. I though it was Emile coming but it was a man to tell me that Emile was in jail for 60 days. Me pregnant again and the stable full of animals. We had a cow now and a calf and 2 pigs and Joe Hebert Emile’s
brother had moved to town and he put his animals in our stable so Emile could care for them and now I was alone with a stable full of animals. Lew and Clarence help me to go get the water from the brook to give them drinks. After a while I didn’t have no more hay for Joe’s animals. So I wrote to him to bring me some hay but I get no answer again. So I went to father in law. he went to see Joe about his animals but Joe never came. I give them our hay so they won’t starve. Now I had no more hay for our animals too. So I bought a few bales of hay from Wilfred Hebert.
After a month have pass, Emily and Emile’s father went to Houlton and Emily pay the rest of their fine. He went down to see Joe and said come take your animals out my stable or I’m putting them out. So spring was hot enough. Joe came and took his animals to his barn.
Emile works for T.A. St John again that summer but in July he took sick, very sick. Joe took him at Eagle Lake Hospital and he was operated for a ruptured appendix. He was in the hospital for 25 days.
In October I give birth to Roland, another little
boy and 6 months after I lost another baby at 4 months. And one year after in July I give birth to a little girl – I name her Geneva.
Emile quit working for T.A. St John and when Geneva was one year old or 14 months instead, we moved to pick potatoes for Joseph Theriault at Soldier Pond. And after potatoes over, Emile at last find a rent at Fort Kent. And we move there and Emile work in the potato house for T.A. St John.
And I took to [to ?] to take care as their mother was dead and their father was supposed to pay for them but he never did. For 3 falls we moved to pick potatoes for Phil Theriault and in winter he works in the potatoes house but he start his gambling again on weekend. Some time he came home next morning no more money. He lost everything and he was drinking beside.
Mr. St John ask him to work steady for him the summer on the farm in Daigle and in the winter in the potatoes house. So he took the job for $18 a week on the farm.
So in the spring we move on the farm and when Geneva was 5 years old one day were were on the proch . It was a very hot day. A man came and ask us for a drink of cold water. So we give him water and he look at me and said you give birth to 10 kids
and I was very surprised because I lost 2 babies my miscarriage and one was dead. He said you will have 4 more. He was an Indian. I said no my baby is now 5 years old. Oh yes he said you will have 4 more and he laughed. I was mad at this man. A couple months later I was pregnant again and next August I give birth to a little girl. I name her Cecilia after St. Cecilia. She play music and I always pray at St. Cecilia’s.
Every winter we move in town and summer we move on the farm. Lew and Clarence began working on the farm for $3 a week each. They were smart boys and they were good workers. For Laurette, she help me a a lot in the house but some times I was so sick I was feeling to lay down and died. I kneel down and pray Dear Lord I pray if you don’t helpm e with your mother the virgin Mary, I can’t go on no more. The drops for my heart didn’t help me too much now. I was so tired I said Lord put your little finger on my hand and this way I will be able to go on again. And after praying I feel better. I could work again. I had the Lord on my side and with the Lord sometimes we can move a mountain. This was my support in my life. I pray and pray.
And Father Emile Robitbille is one who help me alot in my life too. He came to see me one day and
instead of me giving him money. He took a hand full of money in his pocket and place it on the table. And one time Emile went to mass and he give him a big box of clothing, sheets and pillow cases and towels. All kinds of nice clothing. He also gave Emile 100 pounds of flour and a door to put at the place of the door with the big hole in it. Cicilia was 2 years and 3 months when I give birth to a little boy. I named him Paul Emile. Emile like his father and Paul like St. Paul. A year before Paul Emile was born, Emile and the children had made a good potato harvest money. $1000.00 So he bought an old house on 2 Highland Avenue. And we pass the winter in this small house. It was full of bed bugs. In the Spring, Emile took some carpenter and painter and plumber and electrician. And when we came back from the farm, the house was one times larger and all was finished. Down stairs hot water and bath room and every thing. Emile borrowed money to do this, but now we had a good home at last. That’s when Paul Emile was born, in November in our new house. And when Paul Emile was born, I almost died. I almost lost all my blood. The doctor Albert was sure I was dying. I was so weak. A month after Paul Emile was born, I look the other side of the house
and it seemed so far away. I was glad to have Lauette to help me. And in 1946 she got married. I was so sorry to loose her, but I know she was old enough to get married and she married a good husband. I was 3 months pregnant a the time. So in June I give birth to a little girl that I named Rose Marie. Rose, like St. Rose de Lema, and Marie like the Virgin Mary. She big and beautiful and a good baby. Two years before I started to keep old people. But when Rose was born I had none at that time. But when she was a couple of weeks old I took some old folks again. Emile and the boys Lew and Clarence work all the time, but Emile kept playing poker and drink and he lost more than he won. He also played most of Lewellyn and Clarence’s money. He made believe that they were giving extra work at night and he took the boys with him and went to play poker. Lew was 19 years old. He wanted his father to buy a new car. He and Clarence would make the payments. So Emile bought a new Chevrolet. Oh Lew and Clarence were so glad. Emile’s father was sick with cancer. Very sick. So Emile went to see him. He was living near us now. He’d lost his farm a couple of years before so they were living with his son Clarence and his wife near us. Emile told his father, I bought a new car and his father said, I would like
to see you car. So Emile took him in his arms and took him in the door so he could see Emile’s new car. Oh, he said, you got a nice car. I am glad for you. A week later he passed away. He was a good man. He didn’t talk too good some times, but I didn’t hate him. He was a good hearted man. One time when we were living near them in the Ozime little house, I had no wood and one morning very early I was still in bed. He came in. Emile was gone to work on the WPA. the door wasn’t locked, so he came to my bed and said, look I am leaving you a little sled of wood. But I didn’t say nothing to Vina and didn’t tell Emile because he might talk to his mother and you know how Vina and Emile believed in each other. So I didn’t say nothing. I said thank you. I won’t talk and I never said nothing to Emile about his father bringing me wood.
As for my mother, she passed away when Cicilia was 14 months old from cancer also and how she suffered. In a way, I thanked God to take her away because she had suffered for 2 years terrible. She used to weigh 180 pounds and when she died she weighed 25 pounds. The funeral man said that he never took care of a woman so thin in his life at [embalbing]. But it was very sad for me because she was so good. And she always helped me all she
could. My God rest her soul. Emile’s father passed away in 1948. After Emile had the car for awhile, Clarence and Lew were doing the payments, but in the next Spring, Lew starts talking about getting married and in April Lew got married leaving Clarence alone with the payment. And Clarence he only worked once in a while. He had no steady job. He shoveled snow on the rail road tracks to make the payment and couldn’t keep the payments in time so he enlisted in the regular Army and left Emile alone for the car payments. So Emile had to sell the car to finish paying for it. So we had no more car. Lew was living at home with his wife and his first son was born at home. Brian was his name. And Lilianne got married too and was living with us too for a while. Her first little girl was born with us too. Her name is Lewella. She was home when Clarence left for the Army. What a sad day that was to see Clarence board the train for the Army. It was during the Korean wars. I cried and cried. I was so lonesome without Clarence, and I was so worried. I cried when my Amie died, but I cried more for Clarence, because my tears lasted for 3 years. After a year in the Army, he came on furlough for a month. And after he went back he was
transferred to Korea. And he was right on the battle field. Every night I went to bed and cried. When I fell asleep I had nightmares. I saw him on the battle field wounded or dead. Sometimes I dreamt that I saw him passing with a plane over the house. Oh it was terrible. If I could have gathered my tears I shed for those three years, it would have made a brook. Before going over seas on Seattle Washington Base, he’d been there a year before crossing over seas he had an accident with some other men and his nose was almost cut off his face. He also had a bad cut to his face. He spent over three weeks in the Army hospital. They fixed his nose and it doesn’t show too much today. After being over seas, I asked the Lord and the Virgin Mary to protect him from harm. I wrote to Father Emile Rabetaille. He was at Lille, Maine now, and I asked him to pry for Clarence too. He wrote back to me and I still have that letter. The first letter Clarence wrote me from Fort Daven Base in Massachusetts. I still have this letter too. So this time God answered my prayers. Clarence came back without a scratch from the battle field from Korea and the battle was over. God’s mercy.
Now let’s go a little bit backward. I was pregnant when Lew go married and this was 1950. I gave birth to a little boy. I named him Norman Patrick.
Norman like Emily’s husband’s name and Patrick like my oldest brother Patrick that we stayed so many times with him. He was also dead today. He died at 70 years old. So Pat was one month old. I made a nervous breakdown. I was again at the end of the rope. I saw all the doctors in Fort Kent and they couldn’t do nothing for me. I was so thin and discouraged. I thought, my God, I will die and my baby is only a month old. I prayed, Dear Lord, please help me. I don’t want to leave my children alone. Give me the strength to live again. And I promise you, Lord, if you let me live to finish raising the rest of my family, I will take care of my children who need help too. And I will take care of old persons. Please, Lord, help me. So one day I was going to Edmundston Hospital to stay a while, but when we arrived there, Laura’s oldest son had just passed away in that hospital. He was married and had 2 kids. Poor Camille. So I didn’t want to stay a minute in that hospital. And there was an old priest, Father Burk. We called that priest. He was retired and lived in a house with his servant. So I asked to go see this priest. I had heard about him, but I never saw him before. I went in alone and I started crying and I kneeled down before him and asked him to keep me. I said, I can’t live no more. Please help me. He look at me and he seem
surprised. He said, ho la la. Sit in this chair and tell me your problem. So I told him the best way I could my reason of being there to see him. He asked me what is bothering you the most. So I said my worst problem is to see my children going to church alone not being able to go with them. He looked at me and said, is the Lord not in your house? I said, I hope so. Well he said you don’t need to go to church. Stay home and pray. It is just as well. I see, he said, that you are stubborn. You want to win, and you won’t win because God is stronger than you are. All that crying you are doing, stop it and sing instead, and eat. All the doctors you said you saw, putting you on a diet you said it’s no good. To raise a family you got to eat. Go home and cook some nice salted pig [gigot] and fill that stomach of yours. You are living backwards now and its forward you go to live, not backward. Now he blessed me and said, go to your family and remember what I told you. So I came home and I tell you I never forget the sassing this Father Burk gave me. Instead of crying, I tried to sing. it was hard at first, but after a week or two I sang, and I cooked some salt pork [gigot] as he said and start to eat. And in a short while I was well again. I will never forget this good priest.
Years was passing fast. Clarence was back from the Army and went to Connecticut and he got married not long after. And Richard went in the Army too. He was transfered to Germany, but there was no war at the time. So I was a little less worried, but I was anxious for him to be home again. He’d been 3 years in the National Guard before going in the Army. After his 2 years of Army was done, he came back. I was so glad for him to be home too. But while in the Army he took to drinking and he drank. He was a good worker and a good man. He never said a word at home on foods or clothing. He was a good boy, but he drank. He enlisted back in the Guard. I had [stopped] keeping old people because it was too hard for me to cook for them. One couldn’t eat this and the other couldn’t eat that. I kept them for 6 years and I quit. And I began keeping foster children instead. I was easier to feed and I liked this much better. And as I have promised the Lord I would help children in need. I thought I would fill my promise. It wasn’t paying too much, 38 dollars a month, but even if I could have kept them for nothing I would have done so. Years before when I kept [Preston Airois] and Rudolf, we never were paid and I kept them a long time just the same. And later on when we [bought] our house a little boy was out
doors. A nice little 11 year old child that the foster parents put him outdoors to go take a vacation in the city. Poor boy, he was out doors alone. So I took him in. His name was Roland Duchaine. He had nice blue eyes and blond hair. He was real charming, but he wet the bed. I kept him all winter and in the spring his father came up from the city and he took him with him. But he paid me for all the time I took care of him. And how he was mad about his foster parents for putting him outdoors. When Pat was 10 years old, I had 5 foster kids at the time and still 4 of my children. The rest was all married except Richard. He was drinking to much to have time to look for a bride. I made another nervous break down. I was at the end of my rope again. Emile was drinking and lost his money playing cards. I was so tired of this game. One winter he said, if you want to let us play cards at home I will be home not else where. So I said, okay you might as well play here. That was before Cicilia was born. So every night the house was full of tramps playing poker and drinking. I let the be for a while, but Emile was working in the day times and those tramps came to play in the day time. I was mad and I told Emile, you better tell them to stay home in the day times. I don’t like this at all. Oh, he said, let them play. They are not
bothering you. So one day there were 8 at the house playing cards. And they started a fight. So I threw them out. That night Emile was surprised his chums didn’t come. So I told him they won’t be back, I threw them out this afternoon. He was mad. He said, ah yes you thow them out because they are my friends. If it would have been your friends you would have said nothing. The next day those men came back and said they were sorry. This won’t happen no more. We will be as quiet as possible. So they start their playing back. I was pregnant for Cicilia and one week I miscarrage I almost lost my baby. I had been 3 days in bed in the spring. The days were longer. It was Saturday and they played poker all afternoon. And I went to bed at night and in the morning I hear voices. It was 7 o’clock. Emile wasn’t in bed. I got up. They were all around the table playing. Coffee cups all over the place, tobacco spit cans even on the floor. Cigarette stubs in this. I threw them all out doors and I said, what the neighbors will think if they see you in the morning going out this house and all the peoples going to church seeing you too. Ship out and don’t ever come back here again. Emile was mad, but I didn’t care if he left with them too. I was so tired of washing their mess. Emile went to play some where else, but I didn’t mind. No more gambling
at my house. Now I had another breakdown. But I remember Father Burks words so I came out of it in about a month.
Emile had works on all kinds of jobs. He works for awhile for a company name [Chinchette], a road builder in Frenchville and every time he came home he was drunk. And after he helped build the hospital and it was always the same thing. After he started to gather [ ], old scrap iron with Honore Bouchard and he was drinking very heavily. Every night he came home his clothese was full of rust and he was drunk and he didn’t wash. He went to bed and in the morning the bed was all wet but I couldnt’ say nothing.
One Sunday night he went gambling, I told him you better stay here it will be too bad for you if you go. But his mother was home so he thought she won’t say nothing in front of my mother and he leaves. This was in the afternoon. At 10 o’clock at night I sent Roland and Richard to go get him. He was not far from the house but he didn’t come back. Roland and Richard stay there too. So at 11 o’clock Lew and Clarance came home. I said go get your father it’s late and he got to work tomorrow. But they stay there too. I go to bed and when he got home was was not [time] for me to say nothing but that night I wait for him. I close the light
and wait and wait. I thought I got to make believe that I madder than I was. And I wait. At 1/2 past 12 I saw them come, an old bunch of musketeer, the father his 4 sons. There was a pair of rubbers to put over the shoes behind the door. I pic one up and as he came in the door, I hit him with the rubber and said if you don’t stop your gambling you will taste more than this another time. So to my knowledge ti was his last gambling.
It was not funny you know. Some time he didn’t had a dime in his pocket to give to one of our children to pay his lunch at school. I had to borrow money here and there to buy food. And for a couple of years he couldn’t pay the house tax so they foreclose the house. So he had to borrow from the Federal loan to pay that tax. We were always in debt from loans. One time we were over $300.00 in grocery debts over Louis Paradis store and Mr. Paradi stop his wages. So he borrow again. So I had to do something to stop him gambling but he never stay home. Just the same, finishing supper he put his hat and left. And he went to pass his evening over the neighbors but I didn’t mind as long as he didn’t gamble.
But one night Lilianne was home at the
time. He took his hat as always and went out. I pass in my bed room and I saw him. He was stopped in the road. I thought what’s he doing there? I watch him for a while and when I thought he was safe that I want see him go. He turn back and run to pass the house and there was a dirty house where they were selling liquor. And it was always full of bad girls and men. I put a jacket on and I took the little short cut and when he sees me come in this house too his face was white like a sheet. I give him a push in the door and said you come home, you prostitute runner. I tell you Emile was coming home. In the road we met some people I didn’t care because I didn’t know them. I give him another push and in the house I was so mad I took my eye glasses and threw them in the face. I’m telling you be stop going there but he never stayed home at night. And on weekends no matter how sick I was I said sometimes and I cry “Why don’t you stay home to help me with the kids?” But at that time he didn’t care for kids. He never helped me with them and he never help me in any way. And no matter how sick I was Emile went fishing and hunting sometimes for a week. I took care of my family the best I could. And I was living for my children only.
For Richard, about his drinking, I try to
talk to him softly; it was no use. I try talking hard to him. Nothing doing. Rather he gave me $25 a week to pay his board and when he was out of work, I didn’t charge for keeping him. He give me a little money to put away for him and everytime he work and have a little money he drink. He went to the Guard meeting sometime drunk like hell. he was a Sargent and he was a good soldier. They all like him in the Guard.
Rose and Pat was married now and Emile was now working with our son in law Leon Ouillette. They almost fight sometimes but they got along fine. Emile likes Leon. They were working in the woods together. After a while Emile took a job at woods so Leon works for him and he also hires another man to work for him. At first he was making good money.
I was still keeping foster children so one day Emile came home and said, “My wife, I will buy a car. I will give $400 dollars cash and the rest I will have it put on finance.” After dinner he put his cap to leave to go get his car. I said. “Wait a minute, I pass in my bedroom and I count $1900. I said. ” Don’t buy a car on finance.
Just pay cash for your car.” He couldn’t believe his eyes. He said, “Where did you get this money?” I said, “I saved from my pay for the foster children.” He was so glad. I never seen a person so glad. He jump on the floor. I was glad for him too because he was working very hard and I understood that without a car he need to go some place for business and no car it was hard for me. And me, I couldn’t go shopping. I had to send the kids to shop. I been 10 years without going down Fort Kent store. So we need a car I thought. He came home with his new Chevrolet like a millionaire. I was so glad for him too.
After a while he came home drunk with the car. I said, “Yes, you need a car to drink? If you drink, you don’t need a car, you walk again.” I took the car keys and hid them for two weeks. He didn’t say a word about the car and I didn’t nothing rather the car was in front of the house. And he went to work with Leon. One night he said. “Give me the car keys. I won’t drink no more, I promise.” So that was the end of his drinking. Oh he took a swallow once in a while but not to bother. And he stay home more.
We went to Connecticut for the first time to see the 5 children there and family. We had a good vacation for us. Just 3 days at Thanksgiving. We went with our daughter and husband Elmer Dubois.
Elmer know the way to Connecticut and for us it was our first time. Roland and Lewellyn and Clarence and Geneva and Rose was living there at the time. We came not not tired at all. With Elmer and Cecelia this was in 1967.
In 1969 Emile want to change his car for a new Chevrolet. So I give hime again $1500 and I went and paid the house tax. Our house really ours now. We had paid it in full. After Emile stop gambling it was so nice. We never bought on credit and we had money to buy what we need but we were both working hard.
That’s when I started to notice my husband more and to know him better. I have been too busy before to be able to know my husband well. I didn;t care but ow I do care. I find out that he was loving his children an awful lot. He was always worry about them he was always ready to help them as they need it. And he was a man. When he needed to say things to some one he said it to their face. After he quit gambling and drinking, he could have a dollar in his pocket for months. He never spend a penny for nothing. He was a good man now and I learn to love him. It was late I know but as we say, better late than never. We could sit and talk now like 2 married people, not strangers. We had so much to say to each after about
all those past years that we lost in nowhere. We had to catch on .
How many night we sat talking he told me everything about Aurare and his mother He he was believing all they said about me. Making him believe that his children didn’t belong to him and his mother told him never move your wife to Fort Kent or you will stay along. She will go away with another man. And don;t buy her nothing’ it’s spoil money and so much bad things about me. I said, “Poor, poor husband. Where were you thinking my children came from? Did your mother thought my children came from heaven?” He said, “I know everything, Now I know it was all lies. But in those days I believed them.”
And I also told him how scared I was when I saw him sharpen his knife and razor. He said, “Poor wife, you were crying, I never in my mind thought of hurting you. I always love you.” But I said, “I was just a child and I was scared.”
And how he hated Aurare now. It was terrible. Some time he saw her fishing and he said, “If she could fall in the bottom of the lake.” I said, “Emile, don’t say those things, She is your sister, He said. ” I don’t care if she is my sister, she lied to me too much. For his mother he never say nothing wrong about her but after we moved from Black Lake, when she said some thing wrong about me, he
was fast to tell her to mind her own business. He never believed them after.
For me, I didn’t talk to Aurare for 35 years. I forgive her everything but I can’t forget.
After his father lost everything they had and now Emile’s mother was a widow, I was keeping Emile’s Aunt Connie, her husband Octave Therault was dead. And Aunt Julie Landry – they were sisters to my mom in law. And I was boarding them at home.
One day my mother in law came and ask me I would like to come and stay here too if you want me. If I want you, Oh yes, we want you, of course. Come anytime.
So that night she was home so their sisters were with me. And I said to my mom in law, i don’t want you to pay us. We are glad for you to be here.
And one day she was talking about Aurare how jealous she was. And she look at me and said,” Estelle I know I done you wrong but it was Aurare’s doing. She lies so much to me and at that ime I was believing her. I’m sorry,” she said. I was so glad hearing my mom in law say those things to me. I took her in my arms and in front of Aunt Jule and Aunt Connie I kiss her on her white hair. I was so glad at last Emile was believing in me and now his mother. I couldn’t be so happy. And some time I look at
my mom in law and I thought I don’t know if she think that my bread she eat today is taking the place of her worse crumbs of her bread she had refused to me. If she saw me starve and my hand I cook for her was my same hand she find too dirty to milk her cow. And she had wish me that I couldn’t be sick enough to please her. Well for her every thing turn upside down. They lost their farm and now I was the one to support her. And I give her my best. And I took care of her the best way I could. I have forgiven her too but to forget, never.
She died in the old folks home in Eagle Lake in 1967. And who was with her when she pass away? Me. Not one of her daughters. I was there with Emile and Aunt Connie. We went to see her the day before she died and she didn’t hear nothing and her eyes were closed. And I give her a drink of water with a straw and she was so thirsty. I took her hand and she smile. She seemed to know who I was.
The next day one half hour after being near her bed she pass away – like a candle that finish burning. Not a sign, not a sound. She was gone. We say the good parts at her funeral and for the marking of the date and the year she pass away on the tomb stone and earlier in the years when we were
still living with T.A. St. John on the farm.
One spring morning Emile’s father came to see Emile and ask if Emile want to go help him plant his potato crop. He said.”I will plant you a few rows of potatoes and next fall I will haul them to town for you. This will help you next winter.” So Emile said, “I’ll go.”And in the fall, Emile sell his potatoes for $600. He was glad. He never had $600 before.
So Ozime came one day and said, “Emile, if you can lend me $500. I will buy a team of horses and haul some wood and I give it back to you in one month. So Emile thought to himself I can get along for one month and this will help Ozime. So he took $500 and give it to him.
A month pass, 2 and 3 months. Emile ask Ozime again. “Ozime I need my money.” Ozime said, “Wait, you are not on fire. I will give it to you when I can.” And he never paid it back. Emile was so mad, he hated his brother Ozime ever since. They are both dead now. I hope the Lord didn’t put them together or it would have been a job to separate them back.
At 62 Emile retired. He had worked in the woods with Leon for 10 years and he didn’t make any more money in the woods. The hauling and shipping costs too much. The last two weeks, I had to pay the men with
my own money. About the year he retired, he bought a piece of land at Black Lake near the lake. It’s a beautiful place. It was large enough. He sold 5 lots and keeps one for ourselves to build a cottage on. So I help him and we build a nice little camp. And he bought a 6 horsepower motor. So I went and I bought an aluminum boat 14 feet long, a very good boat that he used only 2 hours on the lake. I also bought the 9-1/2 horsepower motor. I bought the boat and motor for $500. and the price of the boat was $400 but this man needed some money to move to Lewiston and he sold me the boat and the motor.
So we started to fish together at Black Lake and elsewhere. We went very often at Togue Pond with Elmer and Priscilla and Elmer’s father and mother. We pass 2-3 days at a time there. We camp near the lake, it was so beautiful. We catch nice tiger fish and nice salmon. And after the camp was built, Emile fix all the land around the camp and he planted trees all over. All kinds of trees and on the lot he sold to Lew, he made a big garden. He plants a big plot of potatoes to sell early in the fall. So we fish and take care of the garden.
In the fall Emile took some customers and sell them fresh potatoes and vegetables. She had a very good time.
When he [asks] change for a new Chevrolet in 1969. We went back to see the children in Connecticut. It was Christmas. So we came back with our car full of gifts. I bought me a little dog in Hartford at a pet shop. A five week old little female pug. She was so cute. I had another dog that I ordered in Spegel’s Catalog, a little peekenees. His name was Bruce. I paid $100 for him. I also paid $100 for my little pug. I bought Bruce for Pat’s 10th birthday. He always wanted a little dog. So this dog was for Pat. Two years after Pat got married, Bruce was 13 years old. He became so sick, so I had to have him put away. Now Richard likes to fish too, so he came with us to fish and he was lucky catching trouts. Emile also started back collecting old copper and old batteries. He couldn’t stop for a minute. He help Elmer Dubois build his camp and he also help Edward Plourde our son-in-law too to build a house at Black Lake. He also help Leon to make a gallery. He also help our son-in-law to find furniture to fit their bedrooms upstairs. But one day he had worked hard all day. He was very tired and he felt sick and he said let’s go home. As soon as we got home he was so sick I call the ambulance and we took him to the hospital. He had a severe heart attack. I prayed, Oh Lord, don’t
don’t take him now. Our bad years was over and everything was fine now. I love him more than I have hated him. Lord let me have him for a few more years. You cannot take him away now. All the family were so afraid to loose their dad too. For a week he was between life and death. And after he began to feel better, he passed 21 days in the hospital, but this didn’t stop him from working. Clarence was home. He had come down to see his father. Lew came down too. So I went with Clarence to discharge him from the hospital and this same afternoon he said to Clarence, take me to see my garden at Black Lake. His potatoes was ready to dig. So the next day he dug potatoes to sell. The children and me do all we could to stop him from working but in vain. He said, you children don’t try to stop me from working and you too Estelle, mind your own business. He said only one can stop me, and when he stop me I ask him to be fast. So nothing to do. He keeps all his days working and I was worried about him all the time. I was always afraid for him to have another heart attack all along some where in the road or hunting alone in the field. I thought, oh my God, take me those thoughts out of my head because I’ll turn crazy. I cannot bear those thoughts I had in
my mind all the time. And in bed I was always afraid to feel asleep. After a few years passed I was little better, but I know he wasn’t feeling well. He had some small attacks sometimes, but one day another thing happened. Richard came home drunk one night. He had worked all day and he didn’t come home until late at night. The next morning Emil went to work at the camp. At noon I hear Richard calling me from the top of the stairs, mom can you come here. I started running. I knew some thing was wrong. I looked on the top of the stairs and Richard was there and couldn’t come down. I help him down and I put him in my bed. And I call Emile and he took him with the ambulance to the hospital. And he couldn’t have a doctor because it was Thanksgiving day and all the doctors were off the job. At 9:30 at night when the doctor finally came to see and check him, Richard was paralyzed from head to toe on his right side. They put him in intensive care for six days. Ad after 2 weeks in the Fort Kent Hospital, the sent him to Fort Fair Field care unit for therapy. Poor Richard, he was like a little baby. No balance at all. He couldn’t sit or nothing. They had to tie him in his chair. We went to see him as often as we could and give him all he needed.
He stayed there two months and the doctor told us that he couldn’t do nothing for Richard. He will stay the same as he was. So I said I will bring him home and care for him at home. The children said it’s not a house case. You won’t be able to care for him at home. Well I thought I’ll try. And after if I can’t take care of him, I tried so I won’t have no regret. And that’s what I did. I tried, but it was a 25 hour job. I thought I was strong enough, but I made another breakdown. I kept Richard for two months, and the doctor said you will have to place Richard in a home. So we find him a place in Eagle Lake home. And what a day it was to know that Richard will go and never be able to live with us again. I would rather see him dead than to see him go out that door. He never said nothing because he never complained. And he knew I was sick and he couldn’t stay home. But I might have thought the same things as me. He was going out for the last time. He have always stayed with us. He was 44 years old. When Lilianne and Leon took hime to Eagle Lake I was crying and Emile too was crying. And Richard was crying too. And I am sure if I have seen Lilianne and Leon’s eyes I would have seen tears too. Today he is in the
Fort Kent Rest Home. It’s not to far from here. When I became 62 years old I quit keeping foster children. Emile was tired and me I was tired of taking care of kids too. And I thought young children belong to younger parents. So I called the social worker to find them a place with younger parents. I had four and three were Roland’s children and I had a 17 year old boy. I have tried to move them before but they start crying and I cried too. So this time I told the social worker to come and get their clothing and to go get them at school. So that way they won’t see me cry when leave. So that’s what the social worker did. So they were moved without too much tears. But after when I saw the school bus pass I couldn’t help crying. I was so lonesome the house was so empty. All we had left was my little female dog named [P]uchie and she was so spoiled she was just like a child. We love her a lot. I always put her to sleep on her little blanket at the foot of my bed. On my feet as to say. Every night Emile took me for a ride around the town and in the country where I was born in St Agatha. Every where he go he took me with him except when he go buy some old copper. Sometimes I didn’t feel too much like going at the camp, but he always said, oh come with me.
I was lonesome in the camp alone. So to please him I went. And he said let’s go on the lake for a little while and if the fish don’t bite, we’ll come back at camp and you sit on the porch while I work. So it was so nice on the camp porch. And at night coming home and when we went for a ride we always sing in the car. Some times it was me who start singing and some times he start singing. And we both sing together. And at the camp he walk through his trees that he transplanted and he find it so nice he loved the birds, the water, the woods and everything of the nature. And he always said, it’s so nice to be alive. And the food he always said how good it tastes. And he always repeats how nice it was to be alive and have good times. We were so happy. God changed our lives in 5 minutes. Emile haven’t slept well all night. He couldn’t eat all day. He said I eat too much yesterday. My stomach is full, but in the afternoon he was feeling better. We eat for supper and all he ate was 2 toasts. And he asked me, do you think my wife that I eat too much? I eat 2 toasts and I drank 2 cup of tea. I said, no. You didn’t eat too much. So he went and he sit in our old rocking chair we had near the window. All of a sudden he made a jump on his chair. I was sitting
in front of him. I said, my God, won’t you tell me what you are doing. He was all stretched on his chair and his feet hit the floor so hard. He look at me and said, I became so dizzy. I didn’t know where I was. And he continue looking at the T.V. I said don’t look at the T.V. Maybe that’s what made you dizzy. There was some bowlers on T.V. and he like to look at the bowlers. And the phone rang. It was Lilianne. She had somethings to say to me. I just said 2 or 3 words that I heard. The same noise behind me. I turn and Emile’s eye glasses were on the floor, and he was falling sideways on his chair. His eyes closed also his mouth. I shout in the phone, my God, Lilianne. I think your father is dying. And I ran to put a little pill under his tongue. He had to take some of those little pills very often under his tongue for his heart. But his teeth was closed so tight together. I call Ceiclia. She was the nearest one and all I could do was hold him in my arms, his head on my chest so he wouldn’t fall to the floor. And I could feel his breath fading away. He passed away in my arms. The ambulance came and the men tried to revive him at home, but I know he was gone. At the hospital they try and try but when I saw
Dr. Tao come to us shaking his head, I knew it was all over.
I have lost the companion of my life. All those bad years and all the hardship we passed through. All the poverty and the sorrow. We both had when we lost our dear little Aime. The sorrow we had when Clarence went to Korean battle field. And Richard leaving our home to go pass the rest of his days in a home for the sick. And the few good years and moments we had together. This man I learned to love. I had given my life, my last blood drops for him. This man I learned to appreciate so much, to depend my self on him. Those last years I find a quality in this man that I haven’t seen before. This man had loved me all those years. His children he loved so much. He was always worried about them and his grand children too. His camp, his trees that he loved so much, his flowers he find so lovely, the water he said was smelling so good and the wood. Was this possible? That this good man was no more. I couldn’t believe it some times even after 3 years. I can’t believe it’s happened. Our good years were so few. My children in their sorrow was my support. They have
always been the pearl of my eyes. But now they were more I was so glad to have my big family around me. I don’t know what I have done without them. And parents and friends, I didn’t know we had so many friends. It was from the bottom of my heart that I said thank you to all. We couldn’t say that he was drinking. He hadn’t touch a drop since his big heart attack and about 8 years before he stop smoking. He had smoked for 54 years and one day he quit and never took smoking again. So we say that no one is perfect. Yes it’s true. Only one man was perfect and they killed him. But he was nearly perfect. I gave him a nice funeral. The church was full of friends and his best friend that he had, had passed away too. And it was Mr. Leo Dubois, Ceiclia’s father-in-law. They both get along so well together. Loving the same things, the water and the woods, the fishing and hunting. Now I was alone. Only my little pug dog Fuchie to be with me. She seems sad too. Some thing was missing in the house for her. She look all over the house at night to go to the bed because he always too her to bed with him. And she was looking
all over for him. And she was just a dog. Today he is with our little Aime. Maybe watching over us the family. You see when I asked God years before for the grace of raising my family and after he could come and get me. No, God had something else for me to do. I see it clearly today why he keeps me living. He could have taken me instead of him because me, I didn’t know what to do. To arrange the things me and him. I know he could have done much better. I did the best I could. I had to bear my cross which was heavy at times. And I hope and pray when my time comes to go, that I will be good enough to meet my love one’s father and little son Aime. My life was a hard one but God could have give me worse he gave me all though those years. And today I an say it’s over.
Today I am alone as I have never been before, in a little apartment. The house that I thought that I could never leave because there was so many memories, the children and I saw growing there, sickness and then health. The first step of Paul and Cecilia and Rose and my dear baby Patrick. It seems that I can still hear them take their first steps. their little feet on the floor. They all got married while living in their house, our home. The good times I had with my family, their singing, their music playing and broken hearts many times too. Three of my sons got divorced; it’s hard for a husband and wife to draw apart but don’t forget the heart of the mother, the sorrow she can have seeing her children getting divorced. The poor children between them. Two are remarried today, thank the Lord. They married each a good wife and they got back their future. I hope one day the other one could also find a good wife to set his life anew. My house there was too many memories. The chair at the end of the table where he used to sit and sleep, his head laid on his hand sleeping. I couldn’t stay there no more so I moved. The house has been sold; I was glad because if I
have seen my house empty too long I had gone back there maybe. So I was very glad when one of my nephews bought it. Of course I miss my house. I’m very lonesome some times. I cry now in silence but my tears aren’t worth nothing now. I don’t want to show my loneliness to my children; I don’t want to hide from them what is hurting me the most now is going to see my poor Richard at the house. He got pain all the time; he hates the doctor, the nurses, the workers. He has no patience at all. I give him all he needs, poor him, but I cannot give him what he needs. God only can give him that comfort, his health. Every time I go see him, I can’t stay long. and when I leave I leave with him a part of my heart with him. My children they are good to me. I love them as always and I will love them till the end. They have been my life. I live my life for them. I don’t want to bother them their lives then I can because they have their family to take care of. Sometimes I need to bother them for things or other and I don’t like this. They are all ready every time I need them. I’m sorry for them, having to bother with me. I love them and I know they all love me. I also have good son-in-law
and daughter-in-law and I love them all. Today I have 44 children and 26 great grandchildren also. For my sister Laura she done me wrong to lie to me and my mother but she has been bery good to me and I forgi e her and love her. She is in Frenchville Security Home. All I have left now is one brother Leonard and three sisters. For Emily, Emile’s sister who works for me for a lone time she died in 1949. She was a good sister-in-law. May God give rest to her soul. As for Aurare, she is still living but she has been in poor health for many years now.
Today I love all the peoples. If I have enemies somewhere, I don’t know about them. And I love them where ever they are. For my little apartment, it’s very small but warm and comfortable.
And I love the place. I got good neighbors to pass my time. I got a good big TC and I got tape recorder and many beautiful cassette tapes and whem I’m lonesome I play my tapes and sing. I have a good violin and accordian that I sold but they are in good hands. I sold them to my grandchild Lewis Labrie. I miss my music. I wish I had
kept them for a while but it’s too late now to think about them.
I registered over 300 songs for the public, archiving all French old songs. If you happen to go to Quebec, Canada you can go to the archives and hear my songs there and also my pictures. My name is there too. I also registered my songs on tapes for me. I also wrote about 300 of my songs so I won’t forget them. And if God give me my sight still for awhile I will sing my songs till the end. And if I can’t see, I can hear them on my tapes. I also read hundreds of nice old fashioned romance and mystery books. I also gave them to my daughter Laurette. I hope she won’t throw them away because there is so many old peoples who would like to read them.
I can’t sing too much now but I can still sing to myself.
Before ending I would like to ask you to forgive my bad writing, the bad spelling and words misplaced as you read. I never went to English school. What I know today I learn this by myself. And it’s very poor. Maybe one day I will have My Valley Of Tears tape with a typewriter. And by
someone who can spell and put my words at their place. So thank you if you had the patience to read it through. You will have my benediction and I love you all.
by Estelle Bourgoin Hebert
“Poem”I’d rather have one little rose And kindness says to me Then flattery when my ears is still I would rather have a lovely smile From a friend I know is true Then to be around my casket When this world I bid adieu
Bring me all flowers today Whether pink or white or red I’d rather have a blossom now Then a truckload when I’m dead.
Would you feel the same that I know what’s in my mind? I say have yourself a nice weekend, a laugh and a smile.
Adieu je vous, Aimie (graphic heart)