The Pepere’ I Never Knew

valmore

Growing up in rural Maine was not an easy life for a young man back in the 20’s. My grandfather Valmore Duguay, one of twelve siblings ,was told by his mother to get out of the house. She replied to the older children, You, You, and You! Get out and find a job I cannot support you kids anymore. Pepere’ one of those children was pushed out to survive on his own. He was living in Canada, Three River region of Quebec. At the time the United States was employing men to work on the railroad so my grandfather chased this chance. In his travels he ended up in Arizona working hard days laying rail. Word was spreading that a man named Hugh Chisholm was building paper mills back in Maine. One of these mills was in his home town of Jay. My grandfather moved back for a chance at working in the mill. He did get employed and worked there for over 40 years also raising his family in this small town.

My mother and her siblings were raised in this small town of Chisholm which was filled with lots of Canadian family’s which migrated from Canada. Hugh Chisholm died in 1912 but the paper mill thrived until 2009, the Otis Mill which was owned by Wausau Paper. I have some small memories of my grandfather, the only grandparent left alive when I was born. Most of the people in this region worked at the mill, myself included, following the legacy of my grandfather and father. I only remember my pepere’ from the Sunday lunches at the house which he would come all dress in his Sunday’s best, after returning from Church. He was a lonely man after my grandmother passed. He spent many day’s  watching the television is his kitchen. He was struck with cancer and had his leg removed and spent the rest of his life in a wheel chair.

I wish I knew more of him. I do know that he was a hard working man and  provided very well for his family. He also was into real estate and was known to own lots of land. There was also a story that he owned land in Arizona, this was never found to be true and no record was ever kept of this. I know that during the depression he helped others in trying to keep their homes from being taking away.

He died when I was around ten years old.  The only other times I remember of him was in a nursing home. The cancer was still in him and they wanted to take away his other leg. I believe in his mind that he didn’t want to live like this and he passed shortly after. The only thing I do know is he loved to work and watch Mutual Omaha. He also would smoke cigarettes and stop about halfway through, taking scissors cutting the end to save the butt for later .

I really missed out on having a grandfather around in my life. I do limited memory of him. I just wish I was born ten years earlier to be of witness to a wonderful man.

Here is a bio of Hugh Chisholm, this guy was very interesting – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hugh_J._Chisholm

 

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6 comments

  1. Hello Mr. Bilodeau! It’s been a while since I said “hello” so I’m dropping in for a visit. I’m very touched by this piece you’ve written. I hope you are well. I look forward to dropping around again.

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    1. Hello Gwen. I’m glad you popped in. I’m still writing a little. I do not get many comments on what I write so it was a pleasure for you to pop in. Happy Holiday’s to you and your family. Glad you liked this story.

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