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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Pages 101 – 110

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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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,

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Pages 11 – 20

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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Pages 1 – 10

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 sge 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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.