Charles Nadeau. Date and age not known but appears to be a teenager, possibly still living around Lowell, Mass. where he was born and lived until the age of at least 15.
Thank you Yvette Roberge Cantin for this picture
Salomee Roberge at 12 years of age
Date Taken: 1901
Place Taken: St-Jean Chrysosotome
Baby is most likely Noella, the first born.
Theresa's 1963 visit to Stratton after her seperation from Gerard in 1961
De gauche à droite, Auréa, Marie-Anne, Joseph, Marie-Jeanne, Charley et Louis
l/r: Aurea, Marie-Anne, Joseph Roberge, Marie-Jeanne, Charley Nadeau, Louis Roberge
From Leonie's collection to Yvette.
l/r rear: Noella, Antoinette Roberge, Charles Nadeau, Louis Nadeau sr., Auguste Roberge sr., Godefroid Nadeau Jr.
Fernand, Paul, Elizabeth (Gelley or Joly) Nadeau, Salome (Roberge) Nadeau, Catherine (Gagne)--Louis sr's wife
Noel Aimee, Henry, Raymond, Gerard ,Raymonde?
Charles Nadeau and Salomeee Roberge wedding taken on Sept. 7, 1909
Picture contributed by Yvette (Roberge) Cantin
click on picture to see an enlarged picture of the entire group
Charley's house--it did not burn as has been previously reported but was later moved to St. Honore
This is the same house as above, with some modifications.
I think that the original part of the house is the structure on the right. The original structure on the left was substantially modified.
From Leonie's collection
Nicole (Nadeau) Nemeth Remembers
When I was 5 years old, I spent many weekends and holidays with Grandma Nadeau. I was in boarding school in St. Martin but not altogether alone since Leonie attended classes there. Made a pest of myself--following her around like Mary's little lamb. On weekends and holidays, I would go home with her. Those were among the best of times in my childhood.
One memory is that of watching Maurice shave. There was a lot of kidding. We all sat at the long kitchen table and celebrated with porter. Maurice refilled my glass and I soon felt the need to go to bed. The stairs were too much for me and I tumbled down. When I awoke, Grandma was at my bedside, relieved and ready with warm milk. Got a nice hug and then was left to sleep it off.
At another time, I had misbehaved and was standing in the corner. I was very embarrassed when my uncle Raoul Bolduc came by on an errand and saw me there. Grandma quickly took me out of the corner and afterwards told me that punishment was for us only to know; I should always come out for visitors and finish my time when they left. Needless to say, I heeded her advice after that.
On one occasion, when we were washing the kitchen floor, a water fight broke between Marcelle and me. We chased each other and Grandma joined in the fun. Afterwards, we returned to cleaning; it didn?t seem like work anymore. Many times, Grandma would sit with me and Marcelle on the large double bench swing. We would sing and talk. I remember lots of laughter.
When Grandma died, I was nearly 7. We stayed over with the Bolducs. We children did not attend the wake. I was very heartbroken and was allowed to go to the funeral. I walked in the procession to the cemetery. A few rows ahead of me was a man carrying a large wood cross. That memory stayed in my dreams for many years.I carried flowers to the grave; and, as the first grandchild, I am sure that I was representing all the grandchildren.
left--Raymonde and hewr mother Salomee (Roberge) Nadeau (daughter of Salome Nadeau Roberge--Auguste Roberge's 2nd wife)
Over the years, going through mom's box of photos, mom would reminisce about her, especially when we came upon the pose of Grandma ("Madame Nadeau") with Raymonde. It seems that Grandma very often came to our farmhouse- especially when the men were away in the lumber camps. She was always there before and after our births and whenever any of us were sick. She taught mom food canning, meat curing, soap making and the making of headcheese and blood sausage.
Louise and I owe our names to her. The family agreement was that the maternal grandparents would name the girls; the paternal grandparents named the sons. Well, Louise was named Marie-Huguette and I, Marie-Luce. Grandma Nadeau thought we should have modern names and gave us our middle names: Louise and Nicole, with the understanding that those were the names we would go by. We owe her !
Nicole Nadeau Nemeth
The day that Salomee died: Claudine remembers
There are a couple of versions regarding the death of Salome. For the moment and the record, I (Richard Nadeau) am reporting a version offered by Claudine and Leonie.
Salomee was 55 years and 9 months when she passed away--very young by today's standards for life expectancy. Although most of us will never know the pain and hardships that her loss meant to all who loved her, we can comprehend how this tragic event might have influenced the experiences and development of her children and her husband, Charles. More often than not, tragedy and pain only breed more pain and suffering.
Here is Claudine and Leonie's version of what happened on that tragic day:
"When 'maman' died I (Leonie) was not home. I was a boarder in the St-Martin religious school. I asked Claudine what happened on the day 'maman' died . This is what she said:
'That morning we started the day just like any other morning --milked the cows and did the chores. Around 8 o'clock Maurice went to help Fernand for the day. At noon time 'papa' left to pick up some men to go to work for him in the US.
Around 5 o'clock mama said that she was not feeling well so we called Maurice to come home to help us with the chores . At 10 o'clock she was getting worst so we called Dr Poulin. One half-hour later papa arrived. We were happy to see him. He came back because they didn't let him cross the border with his men . Finally the Dr arrived. After the exam he said that she had pneumonia and he would check with her in the morning if she was not feeling better so we went to bed . About one hour later papa shouted for the children to come down-stairs because "your mother just died". We called the priest to administer the last Sacrament. At the bottom of her bed, her suitcase was packed; she was all prepared to go help Raymonde who was going to have a baby.'
Yes you can put it in the Nadeau Page. Bye for now,
Leonie & Jules"
I (Richard Nadeau) asked Leonie why Gerard was not present at his mother's funeral. What follows is Claudine's explanation as told by Leonie:
I (Leonie) asked Claudine why Gerard did not come when maman died , she said that he was on his way back from England, just had his discharge from the service, papa couldn't get to him. He arrived to USA one week after the funeral. He called home. Claudine had to tell him the bad news. He came home Claudine went to the cemetery with him. She said that he cried terribly....
Papa was home with mama when she died. I (Leonie) don't know where you get all the argument about mama sending money to Gerard--this is untruth.
Mama died from a pneumonia.
Bye for now Leonie & Jules
Richard Nadeau (P.S. If any of you have heard a different version, please let me know.)
Gerard -- in the Canadian Air Force
Only a Mother's Love
The story behind the relationship between Gerard and Charley is both extremely tragic and beautiful. It demonstrates the everlasting love of a mother for her wayward son as well as the everlasting love of a devoted husband for his wife. It is truly a warm and heartwrenching story.
Here, then, is the second version on the events leading up to Salomee's death.
When I (Richard) was at home from college at a time that Charley was living with us in the 60s, Gerard had made a special trip from Ontario to see his father. Gerard was on crutches. He stayed only a few minutes. He came with the sole purpose of seeing his father. Gramps refused to open his door to him. Gerard left broken-hearted with tears in his eyes. I believe that this was Gerard's last attempt in person to obtain forgiveness from and obtain his father's blessings.
I asked dad why Gramps refused to see Gerard. Dad said that Charley always blamed Gerard for the premature death of Salomee. On the day of her death, prior to Charley's departure for the lumber camps, Charles and Salomee had a hard argument over her sending money to Gerard, who was then in the military. Gramps left the house, both being very upset. Before crossing the border at Woburn, Gramps decided to return home and sooth things with Salomee. Upon his return home, he found Salomee gravely ill. She died hours later. Gramps apparently reported that he could not reach Gerard in time for the funeral. This is why Gerard is not present in the picture of his mother's funeral. For the most part, especially in his last years of life Gramps refused to recognize his son.
I (Richard) asked my eldest sister, Nicole, what she knew of the relationship between Gramps and Gerard. Here is her reply:
"MORE ON CHARLEY, SALOMEE AND GERARD
Several times a year, I came up from New York City to visit with Mom and Dad in Lewiston. I was present on two occasions when Gerard called. Gerard was then a paraplegic following an accident. On the first call, he was still able to speak; he and Dad chatted a few minutes and then Dad told Grandpa that Gerard wanted to talk to him. Grandpa told Dad to close the door and so that call ended. On the second occasion, Gerard spoke through Florence Kirby, his life companion, and asked to speak to his father. Gramps refused. And so I know that Gerard tried to reach his father, not only on these two occasions but also on several other occasions according to Dad and always to no avail. I asked Dad what had happened to cause Gramps to react this way. Dad told me the same reason as Richard has related. But there was more to it. It seems that Gerard often got into trouble in and out of military service. Grandma always forgave him and bailed him out - a severe drain on finances when there were so many other children to feed and clothe. Money was earned the hard way at the lumber camp, not only by Gramps but also by the oldest sons. Dad started working there at age 16 and has said that all but money for one pack of cigarettes was given over to Gramps to help support the family. I am sure that was the case with his brothers also until they married.
Mothers are naturally inclined to buy time for their wayward children, hoping that they will mature and settle down to a good life. That did not happen and an ever-increasing amount of money was used for Gerard. They had many arguments over this-the only matter over which Grandpa and Grandma really quarreled about. The couple was discreet about this in the presence of their children. Dad said that when they went back home from the camp, he saw a loving couple working together, playfully teasing each other.
After his marriage, Dad continued to work at the camp to support us. Gramps became very worried about the financial situation and sometimes told Dad so at the camp. He was now the sole breadwinner with several dependent children. I believe that the last gift to Gerard broke the camel's back and that things were said and regretted too late. Can one die from a broken heart? Surely, especially when one's health has already been compromised.
No matter what happened that fatal day, there is one thing we can be very sure about. Gramps loved his Salome and mourned her all the days of his life.
Nicole Nadeau Nemeth
Midnight-Musings on Kinship.
I am no anthropologist but it occurs to me that there is no bond in social relationships in all of social animals greater than that of kinship or blood ties. It seems to transcend every other kind of bond. This is even more apparent, the higher up the intelligence level you go. Man's cultural histories and traditions amply demonstrate this. If the apriories are valid, could we conclude from this that there is a set of natural principles which makes kinship the glue in social structure. Might there also be a genetic affinity (would birth-separated identical-twins upon meeting each other in life be drawn together by their likenesses?)?
Of course there will be exceptions and the glue is not perfect, but it is there. This is why family ostracism seems to us so terrible. Looking at incidences in history in which religious, political or legal structures have tried to undermine this glue, invariably these structures have collapsed. The strongest structures recognize this glue and make most use of it.
What is all this nonsense kneading (sic hic) to? To say as my daughters: "Get to the point, Dad!"
Our kinship is a powerful basis to bind us all together well beyond our petty quarrels, disagreements, differences, jealousies, and competitive natures. Let no outside predator underestimate this because we will unite in defence. We are a clan in the anthropological sense. Perhaps this is why it is so difficult to refuse help to a relative in trouble, even though this help is not constructive. Perhaps Gerard would have been better off not getting help most of the time--the principle of tough love! I believe that this was Charley's lesson and the cause of his rejecting his wayward son (besides the natural aversion to pain). Charley could be tough (he had to be--tough times of the great depression and WWII), but he was very wise, broadly educated and open-minded. He easily travelled, functioned in and assimilated two different cultures and languages.
His abilities, fairness, and wisdom were reflected in his relationship with the men working for him. It is said that he was very widely loved and respected by his men. This respect was enhanced by his ability to function as well as anyone else in spite of a club foot.
Gerard is not to blame--pain begets pain
This is long-winded but maybe thought-provoking (elementary for some). Please bear with me. It is about Gerard and all of us.
We are really not responsible for how we turn out. A baby does not choose to be a president or a bum (hmmm!) but the foundations of one or the other are there at the beginning.
Every child has the same basic needs for love, food, warmth, cuddling, toiletting, etc... Attention is very important also. The methods of getting attention or recognition in a large family can be very competitive. One child may learn to get attention by being the clown or buffoon for a laugh. Another by being a brat and prankster. When they behave this way they are asking for recognition. As they get older their antics get exaggerated because they are not as effective--often producing opposite results than what is desired. The clown does not realize what is going on. He just tries louder. The prankster pulls bigger and bigger pranks--often crossing into the antisocial or trouble with the law. Combine these traits with depression, from having such terrible luck in life, drinking behavior and some acting-out hostility against authority, etc.. and you have a very mal-adapted and dysfunctional person. This is not a "bad" person but a mal-adapted person. This person does not choose to be this way. This person simply knows no other way. In an adult, treatment to change personality traits and behavior modes is very difficult, expensive and lengthy. It can be done but not very likely. Tragedy, pain to self and others is usually the outcome.
Every large family of children has it's clowns, pranksters and pain-producers in the making. A look at the group childhood pictures quickly shows who these clowns and pranksters are. Even if you have never met or seen Gerard before, I bet you could pick him out in the family group pictures. I see three clowns in most of the pictures.
NO! A RESOUNDING NO!
A "lost person"?
YES. LOST TO SELF AND OTHERS.
Was Gerard such a "lost" son crying for his loved one's attention? I believe so. This was a hopeless situation and Charley dealt with it the only way he knew. He probably recognized it for what it was at the beginning but was unable to change it. The mal-adaptive behaviors were not stopped in time but allowed to continue and grow. Salomee was also unable to change it. What could Charley do but to insulate himself and bury himself in frustration and grief--this also leading to his pre-mature death from cirrhosis of the liver at the age of 88. Charley lost hope and reason to live in his old age. He might have lived to 120 under better circumstances.
Letters between Gerard & Salome while Gerard was in the military
First letter from Salomee to Gerard Oct. 18, 1944
Letter from Gerard to his mother dated Oct. 29, 1944 sent from RCAF overseas
Richard Nadeau - Apr 24, 2004
Gerard sounded desperately frustrated over his stay in England in this letter. Money seemed to be a source of worry as well. But you can also see that he seemed to feel ties to France, and possibly his heritage. We probably will not find out if he did finally go to visit France, unless Leonie or Claudine can tell us. I wonder if Salome even received this letter before her death--only 13 days after this letter was written. One thing we know for sure--Gerard got his wish and had been discharged from the service and came home two weeks after the funeral. Charles could not contact him in time to attend.
Richard Nadeau - Apr 25, 2004
Another Epistle from Dick?
Don't you get a feeling of snooping into people's privacy when reading someone's private letters? I do and I believe strongly in privacy. Pictures taken with the person's full knowledge seem to be ok because pictures are meant to be seen. Letters are a lot more personal.
The reason for "snooping" into private letters when the ones who wrote or received the letters are dead is that the letters gives understanding to past events. You can also say that if they were saved and passed down from generation to generation, rather than destroyed, then they were meant to record history. Why on earth were these letters kept? Why were not all the letters which were written kept? Who knows why these and not all of them survived. Perhaps because they, in a way, explain some important events that have happened. For this reason, they took on extra importance.
Gerard and Salome are dead. Remaining family members are the only ones who could possibly be hurt by the release of the letters. Both Linda and I examined these letters very closely to insure that they had no potential to hurt anyone. Why release them? Because they help explain events of the past. They clearly show the close relationship between Salome and Gerard, Elizabeth and her son, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, Gerard's dis-illusionment with England and the military (especially since he had chosen to enlist after being exempted from the draft due to flat feet). It gives us a glimpse into his character, personality, values, interests. It helps us understand him better. It also shows us the supportive nature and love of a mother for her brood. She tells Gerard to be more considerate towards his siblings by writing to them. She says that this will help preserve harmony and love in the family.
Gerard had difficulty adapting to the military (and some would say, life). He spent some time in detention (military prison) and we know that he had difficulty managing his money. We are not told why he was imprisoned. I know for a fact that Dad hid him from the police in our home while he was AWOL. Perhaps this is why he was in detention. We also know that he had commitments to send $10 home every month but that this was not always honored. Furthermore, he was costing the family money. Cigarets, clothing and booze were sent to him--some of which he sold. This was probably Gerard's first lengthy stay away from home. He must have been very homesick. He wanted badly to come home and was willing to sacrifice his health to do so.In a way, Gerard sounds like a boy lost to others and self.
We also gain factual knowledge of other events, as you will see in the next letters. I can't wait to read the next letter for greater understanding of Salome, Gerard, Theresa and Elizabeth. We are all so privileged to read these. Thanks, Linda, for sharing them.
Salome could not have read this letter. It was written only 3 days before her death, but she did write the following 3 days before her death.
A letter written by Salome to Gerard just 3 days before her death.
Letter from Elizabeth to Gerard and Theresa
Quand maman (notre mere) est morte Maurice a demeurer sur la ferme pour quelque temps. Claudine, Marcelle et moi nous avons ete demeurer avec notre grand - mere au village de Saint - Martin. J'ai quitter l'ecole et j'ai travailler au bureau de telephone pour une annee, a ete travailler a Saint Georges j'etait servante pour Mr & Mme Victor Rodrigue. Il etait un agent d'assurance. Je prenait soin de quatre enfants pour 30.oo piastres par mois nourri et coucher.
C'est tout pour le moment il faut que je me prepare pour aller travailler. Je travaille volontaire pour les repas aux volants .
Bonne journee, Leonie . Il faut excuser les fautes car je n'ecrit pas souvent en francais.
Leonie & Jules
During the time that Gramps was living with us, I was at college except for brief visits on holidays. Here is what I personally know about Charley.
He loved to be informed and always watched the news and knew what was going on in the world. I loved to talk politics with him and had a great respect for his intellect, wisdom and humour. As he became older and more physically limited he shut himself in more and more and ate less and less, relying more heavily on his wine. Only with great difficulty could he make it to the bathroom. He would not take a bath but never had a bad odor. He stayed clean by scraping his skin with the sharp blade of his jackknife (that is adaptability). This situation led to malnutrition and consequential cirrhosis of the liver. Dad had the family physician visit him in the home. The doctor said that there was nothing he could do unless Charley stopped drinking. Dad tried to have him cut down on his drinking but only suffered abuse as a result. At one point Gramps tried to hit him with a cane. When he did not get the alcohol from dad Gramps raided the cleaning solutions for alcohol. He refused any form of treatment. On the last occasion that I spoke with him, he called me to his room and told me to shut the door. The doctor had seen him a few days prior and Dad told me what the doctor had reported. Gramps said that Dad was trying to poison him. I asked him if Dad told him what the doctor had said. He said no. I then told him that he was dying from Cirrhosis of the liver. Gramps then understood what was happening to him and all hostilities for Dad ceased from that point. Shortly thereafter, Dad was at his side in Gramps final moments. I never heard Gramps say an unkind word about anyone--not even a politician.
Following is a quick sketch of Charley from Felix. Thanks Felix. I remember that Chevy real well. He hired you and I to wash it for him one time. Once, before he came to live with us, he had come for a visit and wanted me to drive him around town, which I did. I had never driven a standard before and he rapped his head on the windshield a couple of times when I shifted gears. He never said a word.
My memories of Grampy are exclusively from when he lived at our house in Stratton. Unfortunately, most of those memories are not too endearing. He didn't seem to have a knack with children. I suspect that this was further compounded with his growing older and being surrounded by three very active children! Sometimes he'd hook us by the neck with cane. He thought that this was hilarious (which it probably was) but it drove us kids to distraction. I think that he was just trying to find a way to play with us but he wasn't very good at it! My favorite memories of Gramps were those involving his pet parakeets. As you know they were his joy for years. One day, I left the door open and "Ike" flew away. Incredibly, he came back, but Gramps was sure mad at me for a while. My mother was secretly delighted because those birds shit all over the drapes and she thought that they were unsanitary. As part of a deal to "earn his keep", Mom and Dad agreed to have Gramps tend the cash register at the store for a while. He did a great job with the lumberjacks and truckers but was a little too rough in his manners with flatlanders, skiers and leafpeepers. I suspect that he, Mom and Dad did not always agree on who was running the place! Anyway, he had to get out of there to preserve the peace. Do you remember his old black Chevy? It burnt in the parking lot next to the store one day after Gramps lost some pipe coals on the front seat. He was distraught, but every pedestrian within one hundred miles was relieved and thankful! What a terrible driver.
As you would expect, my view of Gramps has softened a great deal over the years. With time, I have come to learn that life threw him some pretty tough challenges (from the disability to the loss of Salomie, and two of his children). Over the years I have met several people who used to work for Charlie (or with him), including my father in law! Nobody has ever had a bad word to say about the man. As I told you in my last email, Dad always maintained that Gramps had an excellent sense of humor, loved to play practical jokes and was a highly intelligent person. Mom (who always defended Charlie when I spoke ill of him) always told me that he started to have problems with booze after the death of Salomie. I know that I am stating the obvious, but her untimely death was a powerful event in all of our lives, although many of the grandchildren never had the chance to meet her. She died the year I was born. Each Memorial Day, Monique and I bring a few flowers for Charlie and Maurice, and pause a while at their gravesites.
During those times I wonder what it would have been like to know him when he was at his best, and now that we have the wisdom of a few years......
Were these the same paraquetes that he had at dad's? After gramps died, I inherited the paraquetes and placed their cage where they would be very warm, near the ceiling not far from the wood stove. I was terribly chagrined when I found them dead one morning from an overdose of woodstove comfort.
When gramps was alive eating a hot bowl of pea soup in his room, one of them landed in the soup and lost all his feathers. Gramps coated him with vaseline to prevent hyperthermia (another case of adaptability)! Mom hated them more than Nicole's two monkeys because they shit everywhere.
MEMORIES OF CHARLES NADEAU (1960-1970-s)
It isn't until Grandpa moved in with Mom and Dad (Rose and Paul Nadeau) that I got to know him on a personal level during our family visits.
Grandpa stayed in his room with the door closed whenever there was a lot of activity and chatter in the house. Quite understandable; but when the house was quiet, he would open the door. Oftentimes he called my husband, Bill, to come into his room. He was very interested in Bill-s background v growing up on the farm in Hungary; communism, the Revolution and Bill-s escape to Austria, etc. They compared farming methods, lifestyles and political systems and had many discussions on philosophy and religion. He remembered each visit-s discussion even though months apart. Sometimes I would join Bill; and, on one occasion, I asked Grandpa what advice he would give to young people. He said that it was very important to be fair to every one. He said that he did not believe in the afterlife. He believed that our mission in life was to improve life on earth and the only way we could arrive at that was through justice. He referred us to the Bible where the measure of a man was stated in terms of having been just.
When my son, Alan, was a month old, we went to Lewiston for his Baptism. I asked Grandpa if he would hold him and give his blessing to his new great grandson; he was very pleased. Years later, on several occasions, Grandpa allowed Alan to come in for chats. Alan sat by his side and they talked at length about the parakeet. Gramps even put on a little show for him, calling the bird to his hand, to his head and to pick food from his lips. The bird was well trained and never left the room except to accompany Gramps to the bathroom and kitchen table. When Gramps was in bed, it would stay still in its cage waiting for him to get up.
Grandpa liked having family pictures taken with him. These are all very good moments for us to remember.
Charles Nadeau gained a reputation for being fair to all and for being honorable. His word was his bond. He believed in working by the rules and did not hesitate to fire men who did not cut trees and clear their lot according to company specification. The men knew the terms for his hiring them. Everything was above- board and even-handed.
He was a man with great personal integrity and dedication to his family. He endured great physical hardships and the trauma of the death of his wife and seeing several of his children predecease him.
Society was not kind to his generation v 2 world wars and the Great depression; work was physical and harsh. In our generation, we are fortunate that there are medical treatments for most of our ailments; society has given us entitlements for health, education and safety. His generation just had to endure; stoicism was a virtue; many found relief through alcohol.
Grandpa didn-t talk much about himself or his failing health. For the most part, when I saw him, he was watching television. He liked to keep current with local and national news and would discuss current politics. He had a sense of humor and enjoyed a good joke. The TV set (a Christmas gift from Richard) and his parakeet entertained him all his waking hours.
Grandpa endowed us with a great legacy v the Nadeau name, rich with honor and trustworthiness.
Nicole Nadeau Nemeth
La Famille Charles Nadeau
click here to see more of Charles