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In Loving Memory of My Grandmother
Valdora Age 3 - click to view full size Memorial Valdora at 90 - click to view full size
Marie-Oneida Desjardins
Age 3 - click to view full size
Valdora (Desjardins) McKenna
Age 90 - click to view full size
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Valdora McKenna, 94, of Lecanto
Rosary

 

 

Valdora Desjardins McKenna, 94, of Lecanto died peacefully in her sleep on Tuesday, May 4, 1999, at Brentwood in the Meadow, Lecanto, following a short illness. She had been a resident of Citrus County for 25 years coming here from Newark, N.J.

Mrs. McKenna was born in Lewiston, Maine, on Dec. 14, 1904, to the late Wilfrid and Marie-Clara (Simard) Desjardins and was raised by her grandparents, Etienne and Celanire (Pellitier) Desjardins. She was educated in Lewiston, Maine, and in 1923 married Tony Lachance, whom she later divorced.

After moving to New Jersey in the early 1930s, she married Lawrence J. McKenna on Aug. 31, 1941, by whom she was predeceased on March 20, 1982.

She is survived by one son, Wilfred B. LaChance and his wife Edythe of Hernando; two grandsons, Lawrence J. Lachance of Jacksonville and Paul E. LaChance of Portland, Ore.; three great-grandchildren; one great-great-granddaughter and many friends and relatives.

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"Sorry I never told you
All I wanted to say.
And now it's too late to hold you
'cause you've flown away
so far away.
Never had I imagined
Living without your smile
Feeling and knowing you hear me
It keeps me alive."

"And I know you're shining down on me from Heaven."
"And I know eventually we'll be together
One sweet day."

". . . I never showed you
Assumed you'd always be there.
I took your presence for granted
But I always cared."

"Although the sun will never shine the same
I'll always look to a brighter day
Lord I know when I lay me down to sleep
You will always listen as I pray."

- "One Sweet Day"
- by Mariah Carey
My Thoughts

Today is November 11, 1999 and recently, I have started to think more about the loss of my grandmother, the mother of my father, and how it has effected me. I can tell you that I miss her dearly. I'm sure there are others, family and friends alike, who miss her as well.

I had the privilege and blessing of having my grandmother around as I approached my 50's, thereby allowing me to appreciate her more. As a child or as a teen, I assumed she would always be there. That assumption held true until this year.

I know that life must end sometime, for everyone...I just didn't want it to happen to her. As I have been adding to my genealogy, I also had the pleasure and the privilege of talking to her about her life's experiences. I know I didn't ask a LOT of questions, but she gave me insight to many things. I have so much more to talk with her about...guess I'll just have to wait.

As a tribute to her life and a memorial to her passing, This page is hers and hers alone. It's not a cold stone in the ground or a brass plaque on a wall, it is just my way of telling the world how much I will truly miss her. And, hopefully, it will stand as a sort of living memory.

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My Memoires
The Way She Was - Her Life as I knew it to be
I sat this evening as I wrote this page ... and just started to type up the first things that came to my mind....my memories. This is what showed up on the screen.

Tante Jean et Tante Juliette, Uncle Charlie, their house in Union, Grandma's house on Norman Road, the corner drug store with the soda fountain and the chocolate malts; browsing through the comic books in the rack on the wall; Mikes Pizza; watching Johnny Carson and Lawrence Welk on Television; Pizza and Pepsi at midnight in the TV room; Noxema/coldcream all over her face to take off the makeup; hair nets before bed; the big ben clock ticking on top of the TV; the basement on Norman Rd. that used to give me the chills; the little chair I sat it, it was pink and had a little table to go with it....I still have the chair; the seemingly huge kitchen with the breadbox on the counter; the huge cereal bowls, my granddad used them as coffee cups;

The Colonade in Newark, an apartment building where the lived; my grandparents visit to Arlington not long after my parents separation; tsi tsi fru fru noir, the little poodle they had...she used to hold up his ears so he could drink milk from the bowl without getting them wet; the bird..there were others, but this one had a talking teddy bear of its own...and everytime the bird squawked, the teddy bear repeated it...I thought I might go insane...;

The house in Inverness, FL where I went to visit in 1975 after being discharged from the Air Force in North Dakota; The Wendlings, especially Mrs. Wendling and her room where she would sit with my grandmother and make hats; the Wendlings had a carwash, it was called Jet Car Wash, we'd go get the car cleaned there; Grandmas French and the cards she would send wishing me happy birthday or merry Christmas in French;

Discussions we used to have about many things (I did a lot of talking, maybe I should have listened more), the 1953 Dodge, it was a big green thing and I couldn't see over the dashboard; the Dodge Coronett, my grandmother gave it to me when my granddad died, I tried to fix it up, but it was pretty much rusted out; The 1968 riots in Newark, NJ, we had just returned from a trip to Virginia Beach and we were greeted at the city line by the national guard, then my grandmother and I were escorted to the apartment; the City burned as we looked on from above...

We stayed up late a lot, we watched a lot of television; then there was the condo in Inverness, after they sold the house, it was a bit small, but they enjoyed it, until my granddad passed on; the little room in Brentwood on the Meadow, the Independent living facility where she spent her final years, it was apt 229, we ate several times in the dining room there, she was always so proud to introduce me as her grandson; I watched her play cards, canasta I think;

She came to Virginia when I was living in Alexandria, twice at least. Our trip to Virginia Beach; Once she was with my mom and bought an antique oil lamp for me, it was reddish orange...she really liked red; she was so tiny, so fragile, so loving, so demanding, so understanding, so good to me, her last 5 days; the feeling of helplessness as her mind was so sharp with no forgetfulness but her body gave up, the wondering WHY oh WHY God didn't take her immediately, WHY she had to be in so much pain during her last few days on that bed; the remorse for not visiting; the wanting her to be here.

She made a French concoction called creton, sometimes she used it to stuff turkey mixed with mashed potatoes, it's really good; she told me some stories about my dad, she never got mad that I remember; and her broken English could be counted upon to cause a chuckle on occasion.

Once, I picked her up in my arms and took a picture, she was 60; both my granddad and she came to my high school graduation ... today, that means a lot more than it did then; she must have been proud but sometimes I think I disappointed her; I know she loved me as she did everyone in her family...without conditions;

I've come close to breaking down with my eyes welled up with tears, but so far, I haven't let it go; she's gone, I can't call anymore, it's too late now, I knew I should have but I didn't, I listened to her pray the rosary so many times, I almost have it memorized myself...the two of them used to pray the rosary while we were driving around in the 1953 Dodge , there was a statue on the dashboard; my granddads nephew Tommy McKenna and Donna his wife, we used to visit them, eat in the back yard, I think that was in Irvington, the story of the house where she was born, it was Dr. Martel's house, in Lewiston, ME., They lived in Denville, NJ when I was very young, I only remember that the house was green.

And the memories trickle in..and they are all I have left ... and I shall keep them close in my heart always.

Ma Grandmère
For all you have done, your devotion and most of all, your unconditional love.
You will live in my heart... ...forever.
Until we meet again ........ I will always love you.
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