Thanks to Becky who had Memere and Aunt Jo sit down in 1990, an extended conversation was recorded for posterity. This recording has allowed me to learn a lot about the early histories of both the Alberts and the Gagnons. Bernadette Alexandra Gagnon was born on March 27, 1902 in St. Malo, Quebec, just over the border of Vermont. She became an Albert on February 11, 1924 when she married Auguste Albert. For a perspective of something else happening in the year of Memere's birth: one of the coolest buildings in New York City, the Flatiron, was completed. The picture below is from Ardent Editions Historic Photographs and was photographed by August Loeffler.
As mentioned in an earlier post, Pepere stopped going to school at an early age and started selling clothes before he became an adult. The same is true of Memere...she stopped going to school at age 13 and began working at the mill when she was 15. She later changed jobs working the counter at a women's clothing store right next door to where Pepere was working and the rest is history!
Memere's parents were both born in Quebec but they met in Westbrook. Families like the Gagnon's and St. Pierre's came to Westbrook to work in the mills. Many underage offspring would go to work at these sites and their paychecks would directly support their families-as was the case with Memere. Osias Gagnon, one of Memere's brothers, actually died at the age of 16 from an accident at the mill.
By the example of Memere's long life, it seems the longevity gene exists in the Albert blood. How many of you know that Pepere's sister, Antoinette Gallant, lived to 101 also? So...what contributes to a long life? Besides genetic predisposition, one's health habits certainly make a difference. What are your thoughts on what factors influence a long life? Please answer the poll on the upper right of the blog. Also, it would be great to hear of your stories and thoughts about Memere.