change date is at the bottom of each page.
On Thursday August 30, 2001, I boarded a Delta
flight out of Jacksonville ... destination Québec via Portland,
Maine (only to land the airplane) and Lewiston to visit the "kinfolk".
I have talked about, thought about, dreamed about
and otherwise foamed at the mouth, over this trip for a number of years.
| I was bitten by the genealogy bug and I couldn't
shake it! I spent hours planning what I would hopefully find when I got
where I was going; I searched for and ordered French language CD's and books;
I tried to find out as much as I could about the areas I would visit and
sent off for "travel guides"; I wrote letters to every single Lachance family
I could find in St-Evariste-de-Forsyth where my great-grandparents were
married and I meticulously packed clothes a week in advance planning exactly
what I would wear each day, right down to the shoes and socks. Heck I even
had tags on each set of clothes with the dates written down. (Can you say
"retentive"?) I could not have been more prepared. The trip was
planned in two parts...three days in Lewiston/Auburn, Maine and the next
8 days in the, absolutely incredible, Province of Québec.
My Goal was to visit family I hadn't seen in years, find family I didn't
know I had and generally find out "from whence I came". I was successful
in all of the above. What I failed to realize is the impact this trip
would have on my life.
On the pages linked from this journal, you will find some of my thoughts
on the places I visited in both Maine and Québec. You'll find pictures
of people, places and things from each. You will find links to documents
I had copied and photo's of headstones from the many cemeteries I visited;
you'll find Lachance family and other family mixed throughout the pages.;
you'll even find many of the churches and photos of inside and out...as
I was able and allowed to take them.
My journey was an adventure, a visit to a place I had never been, a well
thought out and planned trip with specific results desired and expected.
As the saying goes, I wanted to "take" nothing but pictures and "leave"
nothing but footprints. Alas, no matter how much one may plan, no matter
how much one is determined to go from A to Z without changing the alphabet
in the middle, and no matter what one might desire or expect... there
is always something that takes you entirely by surprise and perhaps changes
your entire life.
Sometimes people come in to your life that make think, reflect, dream
and perhaps...hope. On Tuesday, September 4th, 2001, I was out... having
a drink (who me??). My French is embarassing to me so I didn't do to much
talking to anybody, unless they happened to speak English. I like to talk
though, so, this was a difficult situation for me to be in. In my most
horrible French, I struck up a conversation with an indvidual sitting
next to me at the bar. It was like a light came on...and, from that moment
on, we were inseperable. Francis accompanied me around the province for
the next four days...and it was wonderful. My life changed because of
him and his family and I will not let go of this memory, ever.
On Tuesday September 4th, I met Francis Bonsaint, descendent of Jean-Francois
Prevost and Catherine Dumont (early 1700's), a resident of the City of Québec.
Francis comes from Rivière-du-Loup, northeast of Québec City.
How he became so gracious is beyond me, but I'm glad he did. He helped me
find my way around, aided me when I was lost, spoke for me when I could
not find the right words, acted as my guide and my confidant, and in just
an instant, became my best friend ... it was as if we had know each other
for 20 years...and all with the bonding of a lifetime. Francis is that one
in a million (actually over 7 million, the population of Québec) that one
never expects to find.
Francis, for all that you are, and all that you
did for me, these pages and "mes mémoires" are inspired
by you...jusqu'à ce que nous nous réunissions encore ...merci d'être si
now on with this trip... please click on the button to go on to the Journal