I was born the thirteenth child in a French Canadian family of fourteen children in Elie, Manitoba. Our mother would often tell us about being left in an orphanage as a child. She would end her absorbing tales by saying, “My life story would make a good book. I hope some day one of you children writes it.”
So, one summer I went west (St. Boniface) looking for a writer to write maman’s book and began interviewing people while doing some research there.
I found myself being led by an older Grey nun, very friendly but not encouraging. “Hummmm. 1904, that’s a long time ago but let’s see what we can find.”
Ninety years, that is a long time ago.
In St. Boniface, the next morning, back to the archives of Les Soeurs Grises. The same helpful nun met me. “Is this what you are looking for?”
Orphanage document: Eugenie was Marie Louise’s
and was also her Godmother’s name.
“Merci, ma souer.” This was my mother! There were spelling mistakes but there it was. I felt a chill run through me on the hot July day. I read and re-read the document watching the paper shake in my hand. I knew I had to do something with this. Somebody had to.
It took maman years - I found a writer – me!
Finally. I have finished the book of stories and wrote a play of the experiences of the family.
Voila maman! Ton livre est fini.
The works are a creative, non-fiction interpretation of the lives of the members of this French Canadian family.
Denyse is a bi-lingual, retired school teacher now living in London, Ontario. She and her husband, Larry, have three daughters and five grandchildren.