I’m taking a Journaling Your Life e-course, which has been all kinds of wonderful even though it only started a week ago. In preparation, I spent a few days digging through boxes, dusty bookshelves, and dark closets, on a quest to find every begun-then-abandoned journal I own, and there are a LOT….. but, back to the point,
tucked inside an old, cast-off (about 75% abandoned ) journal, was a folded bit of teal paper covered in my handwriting. It was dated June 22, 1996 and began with:
“stories from Aunty Helen and Aunty Jeannette…”
I have to say, I have absolutely no memory of this particular conversation with two of my Great Aunts (siblings in my Grandfather’s family of 14 children), and no recollection of having ever heard these stories. And for that, I’m grateful beyond belief that June 1996 was among the few, brief periods when I was trying to make journaling a regular part of my day. No one living knows these stories firsthand, if at all. Here’s the text:
Grampie [my grandfather Ernest Napoleon Varrieur], every Sunday had to make a plain cake for his father [Joseph Varieur], who would divide it into 7 pieces, each day he’d have one with lemon jello and cream which he’d scoop right off the pail.
He didn’t believe in buying eggs, so he always had chickens. Extra eggs [were] sold to neighbors to pay for the feed. But his wife [Albina Mercier] always skimmed money. He knew but always feigned surprise over the mystery.
Grampie’s mother [Albina] was so kind. Going to church in the winter with all the children. If she saw a child without mittens she’d tell one of her children to give the child their mittens because the child had none and she could buy more later for her children.
Grampie’s mother had a secret with his father’s bookkeeper [Joseph was a general contractor] to tell her when to ask Joseph for purchase money. His father had no idea.
A gold mine. There aren’t a lot of stories about my great grandparents. I know the bare facts, dates, places, but what they were like, how they lived their lives, and what kind of marriage they had has eluded me. As far as I know, and I asked often and searched for a long time, none of this couple’s personal papers exist.
I’ve scanned the page, added the details to my great grandparent’s narrative, and hope some day to pass this little teal treasure on to someone else who’ll cherish it. And, my advice to everyone, write it down!!
Sentimental Sunday is a daily blogging prompt hosted by Geneabloggers.