A Boy’s Paradise is as if my grandfather Euclide Sauvé had written his memoirs and I had published them.
My maternal grandfather is seen on this next photo with my grandmother Rosina, and probably my uncle Florent in the back.
The photo is dated and I know my mother, who was 20 years-old at the time, took it. This one could have been taken also by my mother. We see my grandparents with my mother’s two sisters Lucille and Helena, and her half-sister Simonne Paiement. I would guess this was taken in the late 1930s or early in the 1940s since Lucille was born in 1926 and Helena in 1928.
Rosina seems a little annoyed.
This next photo is not dated, but I know where it was taken. Rosina is all smiles.
This next one was probably taken in 1952 or 1953.
This last one must have been taken in 1954 because Rosina is much older. She is seen here with her three sisters: Elvina, Emilienne and Marie-Louise.
In A Boy’s Paradise, Wilfred Nevue recounts his childhood years in Champion, a small village in Upper Michigan. When I read it, I travelled back in time when I was visiting my grandparents in the range of Ste-Julie in Ste-Marthe-de-Vaudreuil.
My parents and I visited my maternal grandparents there before 1955 because my grandmother Rosina died on February 4, 1955. After her death we no longer went to the farm since my grandfather Euclide had remarried six months later in Montreal with his new wife Blanche Girard.
Euclide and Blanche moved from Montreal to Ste-Justine-de-Newton in 1960. My grandfather had built a new house there with his own hands. He was 67 years-old.
This is where my father brought the family to visit my grandfather on New Year’s Day from 1960 to 1962. My grandfather and I would watch the Rose Bowl Parade on his television. I don’t think I watch the Rose Bowl Parade with him after 1962 since my mother became ill and my father decided to cut ties with the rest of my mother’s family.
Wilfred Nevue’s memoirs reminded me of my grandmother Rosina who was doing the same chores as his grandmother Celina Blais. Like Rosina Quesnel who became a widow in 1918, Celina had lost her first husband Jean Louis Delongchamp in 1883.
Rosina, a widow with her eight children, married Euclide Sauvé who was her sister-in-law’s son in 1919. Celina, a widow with her five children, married Maxime Delongchamp who was her brother-in-law.
The book says Maxime was a very strict man. Little Wilfred had to work hard. Wilfred doesn’t talk that much about his uncles and aunts.
In her preamble, Susan Branting mentions that Wilfred’s uncles were cruel with their young nephew. Wilfred loved his grandmother dearly. This can be seen in the reading of A Boy’s Paradise, which is full of anecdotes describing the lives of people in the late 1890s and early 1900s in the Upper Peninsula.
Wilfred left his grandmother Celina in 1905 to work in the woods of Michigan and Wisconsin, and then went to work for four years as a lumberjack in Puget Sound to earn more money to pay for his education.
This part of this life, he describes in an online book here… and is a good read.
This manuscript, full of anecdotes, portrays the life of loggers in Puget Sound and Grays Harbor counties in the early 20th century.