an immigrant’s first christmas: thérèse writes home from california

“It’s been seven days since I last cried. I’m resigned to my fate. If they keep me, I stay. If they let me go, I leave.” Click here for the full article

8 juin 1964 – John writes home to his mother, Amabilis

jean to amabilis 8jun64_Page_1ajean to amabilis 8jun64_Page_1a

My father knew when he left Quebec in April 1964 that he would never see his father, Delphis, again. He didn’t expect Delphis to die this soon when he wrote this letter to his mother and family back in Sainte Croix.

You can read the letter in French and its English translation by clicking on this link.

“Everyone lives to hope. When there is no hope the desire to live is pretty much done.” John Bedard, 8 juin 1964, Orange, California

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10 avril 1964 – Thérèse moves to California and writes home about it

You can read the letter in French and my shoddy English translation by clicking on this link.

On a bright Friday afternoon in April, probably right after lunch, my mother waited for me to come home from Kindergarten at Palmyra School.

To pass the time and to reach out to those she left in Québec, Thérèse sat down and wrote this letter in the backyard of 340 Olive Street, a house built in 1923, which still stands in the City of Orange, California. She sat writing in the sun while Céline Corriveau, her sister, ironed clothes.

I was five about to turn six; Marc, my brother, had just turned two in January. My father was turning 40 in December. We had all just driven from Montréal Èst to Orange on Route 66.

Thérèse passed away earlier this year just a few miles from where we first settled, from the backyard where she wrote this letter.

Thérèse’s handwriting is precise, almost technical, Tektonish. She was naturally left-handed, and like so many others, was forced to be right-handed by nuns. This probably explains her professional-grade manual dexterity, a must for pediatric nursing. She was resourceful, quick on her feet, and had the amazing ability to keep her head while all around were losing theirs.

As a Registered Nurse, she was . . . Click here for the full article

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