Other Stories

The Old Type Shop

Stratton Springboard

Stratton has been a springboard for Charly and most of his children.

I believe that every member of this family, except Salome, have lived in Stratton at one time or other while working in lumbering. Several had businesses here. Raymond and Ida had their taxi, boarding house, store, and repair shop, Maurice had his barber shop, Henri had his Stratton Diner and owned apartment houses. Marcel operated the business begun by Raymond and Ida. Richard is now trying to get an internet business going. Charly and Paul were foremen in lumbering. Leonie and Jules, Claudine and Roland, Raymonde and George, Noella and Irene Blais, Fernand, Raymond, Henri, Gerard, Paul, Charly and maybe even Godfreid II. worked in lumbering in the Stratton area. I will post some of my memories of lumbering later.

The county courthouse shows deed records belonging to Paul, Charly, Henry, Peter (the farmer), Peter (Henry's boy), Raymond, Richard, Fernand, Marcel, and Joseph Nadeau. Marcel, if you know of others let us know.

Raymond and Ida, Charly, Maurice, and Peter Nadeau  (farmer from Eustis Ridge who died in 1933) are buried here. Anne Arseneault is also buried here. There is also a Joseph Nadeau (lumberjack) who died in 1916 at the age of 19 of "acute indigestion" while at a lumber camp in Jim Pond Township.

What a time it was when 7 or more Nadeau families lived here at the same time. Marcel recalls the frequent parties at the picnics. Henri once remarked that there was a lot of sexual playing as well in those days. The Nadeaus were living and feeling the warm, healthy blood surge through their arteries. They worked like horses and invested their money in a manner to reflect liberation from the poverty and struggles of the farm. Some left for better employment. Life was too fast in Stratton for some. It was a very dynamic time.

We have a few skeletons in our closets as well as any family. Some things are too painful to talk about and these stories will remain untold until those who are directly affected are ready to bring them up. As in the story of the big diamond, stories that are not clarified by those affected get changed as they are retold by others over time. It is always good to set the record straight from the beginning.

I'm now the only Nadeau remaining in this village. I came back three years ago and bought the skeleton of the Old Type-Shop formerly owned by John Carville, sr. and his family since 1908 and closed in 1952. Here was manufactured typewriter parts and bomber sights for the war effort. This along with the dowell factory were the only major village employers of the time. While half the population of the town was french during this shops 44 years of operation the payroll logs only show one frenchman on the payroll. I believe that this record speaks for the bigotry of the times and townspeople's sentiment regarding their french neighbors.

I hope that more Nadeaus return here. It's a beautiful place and is historically significant to the clan.  For me anyway, it's as much a place I can call home as I have ever had and it's a good place in which to die.

Richard Nadeau

Double-decker cousins

Did you know that not only are Paul-Emile Nadeau and Raymond Nadeau's children first cousins but that they are also second cousins from their mothers' side of the family? Paul-Emile and Raymond Nadeau were brothers. Cleophas and J-Henri Bolduc were brothers. Rose-Aimee and Ida Bolduc were first cousins. Cleophas married M-Amanda Cloutier in 1905. One of their children was Rose-Aimee who married Paul-Emile Nadeau in 1936. J-Henri married M-Anne Poulin in 1919. One of their children was Ida who married Raymond Nadeau in 1942.

Nicole Nadeau Nemeth

Pee Tree

Between our house on Pine St. and Andy's house on  Blanchard St. there was a small stretch of woods with stately Pines and Spruce. Of  course the 1,000 ft of woods seemed like a big forest to us. Andy and I never found lack of things to get excited about or entertain us. If it was not rock fights with the Hennigers or Wymans it was building a club house out of the old chicken coupe or hammering a 12 guage shot shell for the BBs.

An interesting sport, like shooting birds on a branch, was to climb up the tallest tree and see who could pee the furthest distance. I really don't remember who was the winner or had the longest reach but I do remember who put an end to this sport and am willing to share it with you, if you like.

Richard Nadeau

Ghost of the present as well as past

I must be getting old because I'm thinking backward. Of course, I'm older than you so maybe I'm AHEAD! Right Nicky?

Memories haunt me--they always have, at least as long as I can remember, since my brain damage, that is. Bad memories (those unspeakable ones) occupy more space in my brain than the pleasant ones. Psychs will tell you that the bad things produce more memory traces than the good ones due to anxiety (survival theory stuff).

One of my cherished memories is one of going downhill skiing with Felix at the age of 50. I had just taken up skiing and went every night, even at midnight at Mt. Abrahm. Felix introduced me to Sugarloaf. Wow! while he was going 75 m/hr on the blue trails, I was zigzagging my way on the green. We would occasionnaly meet at the top--his second or third run to my first.

The reason that this is etched so indelibly in my dura mater is that at the summit, Felix and I just started a downhill run in a blizzard and no less than 100 feet above us military jets buzzed us! I loss control. Only once have I been as scared--that was when my father pretended he was a bear. If you want I shall write about it.

Enjoying cousinhood doesn't have to be relegated to childhood!

Richard Nadeau

Catastrophies and Dressing-room Lady

I kinda questioned wether I should send the following and said: "What the hell--touch that 'send' button!".

It is amazing that we are still alive. In the course of time a very small difference could have cost us our lives.Our family has had a fair share of catastrophies. These we would prefer not to talk about because they are too painful. But the near misses are easier to recall and are a reminder that we have something to be thankful for. I remember a few: numerous near-catastrophies on the road or in lumbering. Dad has had a near-fatal chainsaw accident and car accident. Felix and Marcel also have had their share of car accidents. Fernand almost burned to death from a gasoline explosion while fueling a farm tractor. We have all had close calls. Perhaps these could be the subject for stories which teach prudence.

I don't know how often I have been asked by children what happened to my hand. I never minded telling them that I blew my hand off with a firecracker. There were several lessons here. One was (besides the danger of firecrackers) that it's ok to ask. Another that it's ok to respond. Another that it's ok to be different. Being different is nothing to be proud of, it's just ok and nothing to be ashamed of.

My experience with the firecracker has shaped my life and has influenced those close and even distant from me. Since the 'handicapped' have come out of the closet in the 70s, my amputation appears minor in comparison. Before this, however, when the severely disabeled were 'shut-ins', I was considered as very disabeled.

I went to a clothing store to buy a pair of pants. To be certain of the fit, I went to the dressing room to try them on. Without a word, the saleslady went into the tiny dressing room with me. Amazed, I asked her how I could help her. She said "Don't you need help with your pants?" I said no thank you, that I was quite capable but that if she was a red-head I might accept.

The brain looks for order and definition. Anything out of the ordinary is either rejected or defined according to previous experience.

(I'm being very long-winded. It's ok to hit the delete button--I won't be offended.)

Because of my experiences, I have had to redefine the standards imposed on me by others. Had I accepted them, I would have let my little dissability become devastating. By redefining 'conventional' standards, I am again making myself different and ........well, that's ok!

Richard Nadeau

Death and Dying?

Kubler Ross made a profession of the fine art of dying back in the 70's. Now she is dying--or was recently. She never waivered about her belief that nature should take it's course--of course, with pain medication! That's ok!

Like I've said before somewhere, I've never been there! but I'm haunted by death. Am I so different from you--do you think about death a lot?

We will all have to go!--too bad but that is so!

The former generation had all kinds of 'rites of passage' to guide them. Now, with cremation etc....get rid of the trash idea--the values and 'rites' are redefining!

The elders are holding out--they, like Ross, want to preserve the old ways.

Nothing stands out in my incessant and haunting memory like funerals or last meetings with departing kin.

I have paid my lasting respects (and made a pest of myself by my denial) to several dying persons.

Several in recent memory couldn't understand why they did not get the respect they deserved by last visits from relatives. I responded by saying that people today avoid what they fear most--death. That is why Charly, Noella and Ida were dissapointed by the lack of visits. These gracious ladies and gent (king and queens in my estimation) had one on Kubler Ross.

I have very mixed feelings about death and dying and am anxious to hear your views.

Richard Nadeau

The Herald of the Hummers!

Hi cousins (That is, those of you not basking on the Floridian alluvians sight-seeing bikinis to the tune of the Disneyworld hop):

Spring is near for most of you and not far for the rest of us close to the Canadian-U.S. border. That means that the migratory animals are and will soon be on their way. It is not true that the hummingbirds hitch a ride in the feathers of the Canada geese or the fur coats of Franco-American tourists. They come up on their own power. Don't believe me? Check out this really cool site: http://www.hummingbirds.net/

Spring is more than a different season of the year--it is a renewal of the spirit and a re-awakening of experience. Nature almost dictates that The New Year should start on the first day of Spring! I think that we should redo our calenders. We of the golden generation, and the animal kingdom, are thankful that we have made it through another Winter and look forward to the next one--as if the battle is over temporarily. The Winter has culled the weakest until the next freeze!

I am looking forward to a more lucrative and rewarding natural-new-year. I wish you all the same.

Richard Nadeau (a Franco-American)

Soaring with Raymond!

If  Raymond was alive today, he would be my partner on the internet. Raymond loved electronic and mechanical gadgets. I remember when go-carts first came out. Raymond saw the potential for fun and profit, immediately. We visited when I was about 14 and I always begrudged my parents for not letting me ride uncle Raymond's go-cart, as my father did. Raymond, I wish you were here, now in Stratton. We could sell hang-gliders and enjoy soaring over the hills and look down upon Ida's garden!

Richard Nadeau

Engrams and more than the sum of the parts

Hi folks:

Here is something to entertain--some quick memory associations. Share some of yours?

Stepping in a cow pie at Uncle Fernand's farm.

Sharing a stall with the horses for #2 at Grampy Bolduc's house when the outhouse was overfilled.

Target shooting with uncle Raoul's (Bolduc) 22 rifle--can't remember who hit the cow--but know he got hell for it.

Fishing for eels in Grampy Bolduc's well with Raoul.

Elizabeth Joly Nadeau's grapes and here bony fingers.

Grandma Bolduc's beautiful wood stove and the bread she baked.

A view of Aunt Leonie as she walked down Main street in St. Martin when she was a teenager--what a hairdo!

Cousin Loraine in the crib.

Cousin Diane as a baby.

Long, serious and philosophic talks through the night with Clement at Fernand's.

Watching Pauline walk to fetch the cows in her rubber boots at Fernand's.

Bears, bobcat, deer and other animals which I have quietly observed, undetected, in the wild.

Sister Nicole trying to bash my brain in with a broom while I was taking refuge under the bed after Louise and I rode her bicycle into the side of a Sheriff's patrol car.

Uncle Henry arm wrestling with dad.

Dad getting nabbed by the game warden for 2 dozen undersized trout.

The baby-like cry of a wounded rabbit.

The vicious death struggle of a deer being brought down by a coyote.

The eye contact with each animal's eyes as I dispatched it.

Mom's reach for me in her last conscious moment.

My daughter's supportive embraces at dad's funeral.

The view of my blown-off  hand.

The religious brother who kicked my ass in front of the class to humiliate me.

The other religious brother who grabbed me between my legs at a vocational club meeting.

Another religious brother who treated me with respect and dignity.

The warty red nose of  Father LaFramboise.

A vision of myself away from my body when I knocked myself out in a fall from a tree.

Just a few in passing--It's a good thing we are more than our memories, isn't it?


Fernand's Farm

One place we just loved to go to was uncle Fernand's farm. Remember how crowded it was in the beds upstairs? I never got much sleep--just not used to sleeping with a toe in my nose or an elbow in my eye socket. And when we ate beans and pork pie, well.....need I say more?

I loved the smell of the hay and the cows. Remember the little dog whose bed was behind the wood stove? Rodrigue, what was his name? Ti Loup (Lt'l Wolf) was his name! These are good memories even though Fernand's big eyes and Germaine's loud voice were terribly frightening to me at times.

These are great memories to me. I'm sure that it wasn't always fun for Pauline to get up at 4 a.m. to fetch and milk the cows or Rodrigue to clean the barn. I'll bet sugaring was a good time for everybody as it is now, though.

Richard Nadeau

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