I loved this picture from the moment I saw it when I was very young. Perhaps because I couldn’t believe that this little girl on the right on the photo playing cards with her family could be my mother. My grandparents had rented a cabin in Chertsey in the Lanaudière Region which is about 90 km north of Monteal. The stray hats hanging on the chairs, which were bought by my grandfather at the beginning of the trip, were the big stars of these summer vacations. We see them on all the pictures which are so funny to look at!
For my mother, the happiness of our annual early summer trip to Ogunquit in Southern Maine meant those little pleasures one can expect to find in that lovely coastal village: the sea, the Marginal Way, the Sparhawk oceanfront balcony, the bench under the green fabric awning (now blue!) facing the beach near the Norseman Hotel, her crossword puzzles and her mystery novel. Each and everytime I would leave her to walk the beach, I would ask her: “Are you sure you’re OK? You won’t be bored?” She would burst out laughing and say: “No worries! I have my crossword puzzles!”
My parents, like many couples of their time, had chosen Niagara Falls for their honeymoon which in the mid-fifties was the ultimate destination for honeymooners. If I remember well, my father had been there before and thought it was spectacular. I have found in my mother’s postal cards collection, a huge post card of Niagara Falls with a couple looking as Hollywood movie stars photographed in front of the falls. My father probably asked a stranger to take this picture, the only one in fact from Niagara Falls. All the other pictures were taken on the day of the wedding.
My parents look so happy on this picture… but, still, take a look at my father’s tight fist. And my mother seems so stiff. As their wedding was in mid-May, at 8 o’clock a.m., they probably wished for an early Spring. But it was so cold that morning of 1956 that they even saw some snow flurries in the early hours. In the group picture, all the ladies wore fur tippets and men enjoyed thick winter coats. As for my parents, even if they were truly happy, they were probably just thinking of rushing to the inviting heated reception room.
My mother had the chance to attend her grandparents’ 50th, 60th and 65th wedding anniversaries. We see her in first row on the 50th anniversary group photo, frowning because her cousin Simone, just three days older than her, was the one holding the bells. From what we’ve heard from my mother, Simone had taken charge quite rapidly and my mother always held a grudge against her. I remember that my father always wished my mother a happy birthday three days in advance to tease her and she would get mad and once again, here comes the tale of the bells!
If I ever learned something from genealogy, it has to be this: No money, no photos! My mother’s family albums show her at all ages while my father’s is almost empty until he was able to buy himself a camera in the 1940’s at about 30 years old. With the money earned from my paperboy (euh… papergirl!) job for La Presse, I was able to buy my first Kodak camera and my photos are all blurry. Even so I am very proud to publish here one of my “masterpieces” in memory of my mother. (I can hear you laugh Mom!).
My mother’s photo albums are full of pictures of her and Jeannine, one of her cousins. Jeannine was her best friend. Even if I have never met her, I know that my mother adored her and found her so funny. After their respective marriages, they lost track of each other but my mother always spoke of her with nostalgia and deep affection. I will never forget that phone call that my mother received in July 1975 announcing her Jeannine’s death. She was shaken up. I thought it was so sad they haven’t seen each other in more than a decade.
This is the only picture of Chicago found among my mother’s photo albums. I am sure it’s The Art Institute of Chicago in the background. I can imagine their father kindly asking the bus driver if the children may climb to the upper level so that he can take a picture. It was in 1934 during the World’s Fair – A Century of Progress. For those who know the doll boutique “American Girl” that I have visited in Chicago last fall, I cannot believe the coincidence: the doll called Kitt Kittredge (of 1934!) has the same haircut as my mother’s!
Can you believe I’ve seen this picture for the very first time only a few months ago? It was taken in London in November 1987 where my mother went on a vacation trip with my sister. I know for a fact that after a long day of walking and shopping in a foreign city my mother easily gets the giggles once back in the hotel room, but what I found surprising is that picture never found its way on the family refrigerator’s door. A Tourville’s “refrigerator’s door picture” is a picture which is 1) blurry, 2) ridiculous or 3) funny.
Summer vacations at Lac Sainte-Marie in Nominingue are one of the most beautiful memories for our family. From 1968 to 1973, our parents were renting a cabin there for three weeks. In 1971, my mother, who got her first full-time job that year, could not take any time off during the summer. How is it possible to forget the sadness in her eyes, and ours, those Sunday nights when we drove her to the train station? Our father must have been particularly worried because it meant a full week of cooking and taking care of three noisy and hyperactive children!