I was pleasantly surprised two nights ago, to hear from our cousin, Jacques Martin, son of ‘mon oncle’ Gérard and ‘ma tante’ Thérèse Thériault Martin. We spent the better part of an hour on the phone catching up on each other’s lives. Jacques lives in the state of Washington with his lovely wife, Kim. They have two children, a daughter, Michelle Nicole, who is married and a college graduate; and a son, André Jacques, who is in his last year of college studies. Jacques is a Navy man through and through. After serving in the Navy for a number of years, he went back to work for the Navy as a civil servant. Today, he enjoys a pretty lofty position with the local Navy command. Both he and Kim are in good health and enjoying life in the northwest.
Jacques is the third child and third son of ‘mon oncle’ Gérard Martin and ‘ma tante’ Thérèse. ‘Mon oncle’ and ‘ma tante’ married on 28 May 1946 in Edmundston and had five children, Roger (1948), Guy (1949), Jacques (1950), Diane (1957) and Jean (1959). We lost ‘ma tante’ Thérèse in 1979 and most recently, ‘mon oncle’ passed away in Madawaska, Maine. A burial service is planned for May 28th in Fort Fairfield, Maine. Our cousin, Gilmay Theriault Michaud has the details.
I met Jacques and Kim in California while Rosemary and I were on assignment on the Air Force Space Shuttle Program at Vandenberg AFB in 1978. We had taken a weekend to visit with Oneil and his family in Orange County when Jacques dropped in for a brief visit. They lived not too far away in Santee in the suburbs of San Diego. I recognized him immediately because of his very strong Theriault features and good looks. 🙂 We hit it off very well and for the 10 years that we were in California, we visited each other quite frequently but after we moved back to New England… well, it was a little tough contacting Jacques. He was a very busy man.
Anyway, talking to Jacques, I remembered that I had planned to publish a recording that ‘mon oncle’ Remi and ‘tante’ Georgette made available to me a couple of years ago. So, I thought I would write up a short article to tell you about the recording and also to make the recording available to you. Hope you enjoy it.
(Note: I divided the recording into sixteen (16) files which I am making available in this posting. You may download each file and save all files onto a CD if you wish, or simply keep it on a hard drive on your computer. Scroll to the very end of this posting for the 16 links that will allow you to download each file.)
It was spring of 1959 and ‘ma tante’ Thérèse gave birth to her last child, a boy who they baptized ‘Joseph Jean Martin’. He was named ‘Jean’ after his godfather. The family later called him ‘Johnny’. He was born at the Hotel-Dieu hospital in Edmundston, New Brunswick on 3 April and was baptized Sunday, 5 April. According to Sister Marie Ange Thériault, Doctor Sormany attended to ‘ma tante’ Thérèse and delivered infant Jean. (At that time, the Religieuses Hospitalières de St Joseph still owned the two hospitals in the area, the one in St. Basile of course and the new one in Edmundston that was built by Soeur Morneault, daughter of Charles Morneault and our grand-aunt Pélagie Thériault.)
Later in the week (probably Sunday evening, 12th April), the Joachim Thériault family organized a ‘soirée’ in one of the halls in the Sanitorium for Thérèse, celebrating her new baby boy. The Sisters of St Joseph had accepted Thérèse into their hospital in Edmundston. After Jean was born, the Sisters kept the baby at the hospital for 10 days and brought Thérèse to a room in the Sanitorium where she stayed during that time. Afterward, she went to live with Georgette and Rémi to recuperate.
The whole family came and gathered at the Sanitorium in St. Basile where Sister Marie-Ange Thériault worked as a nurse in the Tuberculosis wing of the hospital. There they had a hall large enough to accommodate the family and a good piano. Mémére Theriault was not feeling well at that time. I believe that she was actually in the hospital there at the Hotel Dieu at the time of this soirée because she died three months later on 9 July 1959.
The members of the family who were present included: Leanne and Martin Marquis, Denie and Yvette Theriault, Theo and Anne ‘Mimi’ Theriault who were still newly-wed the year before. I think that Simone Theriault was there although she lost ‘mon oncle’ Thaddée earlier in January. Irma was there to represent ‘ma tante’ Annette’s family. Félix ‘Fattie’ and Gabbie Theriault were there along with Rita Theriault Bonsant. ‘Mon oncle’ Fred had died just a few months before in September 1958. George and Yvette Theriault were there along with Georgette and Rémi Cyr, Sister Marie-Ange Theriault, Joe and Thérèse Theriault and Jeannine and Bea Levesque. (Note: Please let me know if I missed anyone. I have conflicting notes that Grace might also have been there playing piano. This was four years before she and John Cole married.)
The entire program was recorded by ‘mon oncle’ Remi Cyr who kept the recording safe over the many years since then. It was our cousin Nelson Theriault who made me aware of the recording and well, long story short, ‘mon oncle’ and ‘ma tante’ let me borrow the tape so that I could digitize it and share it with the family. And so, here we are 54 years later!
First, the Master of Ceremonies (MC) for the program was ‘mon oncle’ Remi and the pianist was Cecile Thériault, of the Theriault’s of St. Basile… distant relatives of our Theriault family which originated in St- Jacques in 1821.
A brief note: if you know the name of a song in the program that I did not identify, please let me know in a comment below. Or, if you have any knowledge of some of the events in this program, please let me know. I would be delighted to add those details to our notes here for everyone to enjoy.
(Click on the track links to start the audio. A new window will open with the audio player. You may minimize that window and continue reading here.)
Track 1: Introduction and Opening Piece. ‘Mon Oncle’ Remi opens the program and introduces Cecile Thériault of St. Basile who plays the first piece of piano music:
“Bonsoir, tout le monde. Je commence par un fait qui est assez bonne de nous donnez l’occasion de nous réunir pour pouvoir fête Thérèse, madame Gérard Martin qui a eu le bonheur de donner naissance a un gros garçon, le 3 de avril passe. Ce petit bonhomme a été baptisé dimanche passe sur le nom de joseph jean et ont le donne ce nom en honneur de son parrain. Donc, ont a assez parlez et maintenant, tous le monde s’arrive. Toute la famille Theriault est ici. Ils sont assez nombreux pour emplir le rouleau. Le temps est ici. Cécile va jouer.”
“Good evening, everyone. I start with an event that is good enough to give us the opportunity to come together in order to feast Therese, Mrs. Gerard Martin who had the honor of giving birth to a big boy, on 3 April. This little guy was baptized last Sunday with the name of ‘Joseph Jean’. His name is in honor of his godfather. So, we have talked enough. Everyone is coming. The entire Theriault family is here. They are enough to fill the entire attendance list. So, the time is here. Cecile will play.”
Track 2: Ave Maria. Soeur Marie Ange Thériault. Remi:
“Maintenant Soeur Thériault va nous chanter quelque chose. Je penses que c’est ‘Ave Maria’.
“And now, Sister Thériault will sing a song. I think it is ‘Ave Maria’.
Track 3: Georgette Thériault Cyr and Cécile Thériault at the piano. (Does anyone recognize the song?) Remi:
“Madame Cyr et Mademoiselle Thériault vont nous jouer quelque chose.”
“Mrs Cyr and Miss Thériault will play something for us.”
Track 4: Remi Cyr and Cécile Thériault at the piano “Sur La Route de Berthier”.
“La c’est mon tour pour chanter la. Je va faire ma part.”
“Now, it’s my turn to sing. I will do my part.”
Track 5: Thériault Family and Cécile Thériault at the piano “Le Vieux Sapin”.
Track 6: Thériault Family and Cécile Thériault at the piano lead by Theo Thériault “Alouette”.
Track 7: Rémi Cyr singing “Le Cordonnier”.
Remi says “Durant que c’est chaud la, on va chanter du Cordonnier.”
“While everyone is warmed up, we will sing ‘Le Cordonnier (The Shoemaker)’
Track 8: Georgette Thériault Cyr, Sister Marie-Ange Thériault and Cécile Thériault at the piano, “Partons, La Mer est Belle!”
Track 9: Rémi Cyr singing “Souvenir d’un Viellard /Memories of an Elder”
Track 10: Cécile Thériault on the piano. Song is unknown.
Track 11: Thérèse Thériault Martin addresses her family.
“Je profit de l’occasion pour remercier spécialement la Sœur Supérieure et Sœur Thériault qui ont été si bonne pour moi et toute ma famille. Quesqu’ils ont faite pour moi. Je suis très heureuse. Je va me bien souvenir pour longtemps. Merci. Et je va dire un mot spécialement à Bea. Il a venue me chercher dans le fond à Kilburn. Jeannine voulait s’en allez et elle a vu que Bea avait defoncer le plancher avec sa chaise berceuse!”
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank especially the Mother Superior and Sister Thériault who has been so good to me and my family. What they have done for me. I am very happy and I will remember well for a long time. Thank you. And I will say a special word to Bee. He came to pick me up down in Kilburn. Jeannine started leaving and saw that Bea had fallen through the floor in his rocking chair! ” (Kilburn, NB is across the river from Presque Isle.)
As shown by her laughs, ‘ma tante’ Thérèse had alot of fun with that…which demonstrates a little of that sadistic Theriault sense of humor. 🙂
Track 12: Sister Marie-Ange Thériault and Cécile Thériault at the piano “Le Vieux Sapin”
Track 13: Duet Sister Marie-Ange Thériault and Georgette Thériault Cyr singing “L’Hirondelle” accompanied by Cécile Thériault on the piano.
Track 14: Cécile Thériault with an (unknown) piano piece.
Track 15: Final comments by individual members of the family.
Tell us in a comment below who you think each speaker is. Number each and the name of the speaker.
Track 16: Entire Thériault Family joins in singing “Ave Marie Stella”.
SOME THOUGHTS… Listening to these voices of these loving uncles and aunts in the process of caring and expressing their love for their sister, Thérèse, reminds me of how fortunate I am to be part of this family and to have had the benefit of being on the receiving end of the huge generosity of our big family. The memory of every single one of these uncles and aunts will live on forever in my heart.
DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY. To download your copy of each track, move your cursor on the track and then right click and select ‘Save Link As’. A window will open that will allow you to choose where you want to save your file. Repeat for each track.