Over the years, I've kept a diary chronicling day-to-day events in my family and my community, and I've written about my childhood years in Wellington. I've collected many photos of my own family and my wife, Elva's, and I've researched and compiled the genealogies of my eight ancestral families. I've done the same for Elva's. Some of this material has been published in the form of articles in The Island Magazine and La Petite Souvenance.
My primary audience, I expect, will be members of my family, my close friends, and the few others who may share my eclectic interests. Most of my entries will be in English, with the occasional one in French.
Elva has been going through her parent's things; her mother passed away last October and her father in August 2009. She's come across some very interesting stories, some of them quite funny, and I've scanned many of the photos in her family collection: grandparents, great-grandparents and even one great-great-grandfather. I will use these to create the first few entries, and just see how it goes.
Here's one about Elva's great-grandfather, Joseph-Élisé (Jos à Antoine) Arsenault. Jos Antoine was born in Saint-Chrysostôme on March 18, 1871. On November 22, 1892, he married Hélène Bernard, daughter of Éloi and Hélène Gallant of Baie-Egmont. They had 14 children, all but one of whom survived to adulthood. Their eldest, Joseph (José à Jos Antoine) was Elva's paternal grandfather. Here is a picture of Jos Antoine and Hélène.
We found this cute little poem about Jos Antoine, published in La Voix Acadienne a few years ago. It was composed by Léonce Gallant.
La Logique de Joe Antoine
Joe Antoine de St-Chrysostôme
N'a pas d'B.A. ni de diplôme
Mais quand il parle y'a pas de doute
Ça du bon sens, tout le monde écoute
Il a montré sa bonne logique
Quand il voulait un casque à pic
On lui demande quelle pointure il veut
Il dit "Peut-être vingt ou vingt-deux"
Mais on lui dit d'un ton moqueur
"Un chapeau n'a pas cette grandeur
Un six sans doute serait trop petit
Peut-être un sept ou sept et demi?"
Mais Joe explique qu'il ne sait pas
Comment on trouve un nombre comme ça
"Mon collet de chemise est seize et demi
Et j'ai le cou beaucoup plus petit
Que ma grosse tête si vénérable
Dinc vingt-deux semble plus raisonnable
La femme de Denis Cajotant
Est une grosse femme mais cependant
Elle dit qu'elle se trouve à son aise
Dans une robe qui est de pointure seize
Et moi je suis mince comme un pique
Puis mon habit mesure trente-huit
Prends ton ruban, mesures ma tête
Et tu verras j'suis pas si bête
J'ai une caboche de vingt-deux pouces
Et je m'EN SERRE par petites escousses"
It's interesting that, in the poem, Jos Antoine uses a woman's dress size (sixteen) to make his point regarding the hat size he thinks he needs. "La femme de Denis Cajotant" happens to be Mémé Aline's mother, Mélanie; Elva's maternal grandmother. As you can see by this "poème moqueur", the Acadian sense of humour has its charm, even if it's not always politically correct!