Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Family Treasures

Three family treasures have already been mentioned in earlier posts: the Wilfrid Genealogy Book from 1948, the Brookfield Clothing Award (a gold statue) won by Pepere around 1960, and the 1990 audio recording of Memere and Aunt Jo.  By family members responding to this post, we can create an inventory of other valued family possessions. Two books in my own library were signed by Wilfrid Albert and passed on to me by Sister Rebecca:
The Poems of Longfellow, signed by Wilfrid on July 16. 1959, and
The Reader's Digest of Books by Helen Rex Keller, signed by Wilfrid in 1941.

Here are some additional family heirlooms:

1. A vase given to Memere as a gift from Wilfrid in the 1940's.

2. Painting by Sister Rebecca

3. A boudoir bench to hold dolls from Pauline's youth.

4. These hand carved statues were owned by Wilfrid Albert. Paul Albert provides some information about them:

One was sculpted in Switzerland from a famous school of sculpture and depicts a farmer representing one of his grandfathers. The other was carved in a famous carving school in Quebec and depicts a fisherman representing his other grandfather.
For family history purposes, the two items of most value by far are the Genealogy book of Wilfrid Albert and the audio recording done by Becky in 1990.  Thank goodness we have a librarian in the family who took an early interest to preserve something like the voices of our elders.  What else do we have out there to enrich our family's legacy!?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Reunions and Holidays

Besides the traditional Christian holidays, it seems the most special days for the Alberts were the Valle reunions. We would all meet at Valle's Steak House near the turnpike in Westbrook but I don't remember how often we used to gather. These get-togethers were always fun. Besides good food, we got to see all the cousins together in one place, and everyone seemed to be in good moods!
Today it seems we only get together when someone marries or dies with the exception of the Bernie Girls. Sue explains how the Bernie's Girls got formed (sounds almost like a singing group~!):

When Memere was dying--and in that nursing home at the very end, I told her I would make her a premise that I would keep the Albert cousins together---THEN, I backed up a bit after thinking that might be a bit much, so I said, "Well, at least the girl cousins.  We'll meet every now and then and remember how we all grew up together. We'll call ourselves Bernie's Girls."
     She laughed and said, "That'll be fun. I wish I could be there with you."
    I said, "You will be!"
Albert reunions of the far past included summer trips to Limerick to visit Memere's sister, Marie. I retell the story from talking to Pauline: "We used to go have family reunions at the farm with all my mother’s family and all my cousins. They had a big field where all the food was laid out. Some of the guys played ball, and one time somebody threw an egg at Pepere as a joke but it wasn't received as such."
Christmas was a big holiday growing up. It was certainly more materialistic than it was religious for me. This holiday was the busiest time of year for visitors both family and friends. What about Christmas Eve - always fun huh?  Here's an early Albert Christmas Eve story:  Memere and Pepere went to midnight mass. Pauline spoke to Lorraine, “Has Santa Claus come yet?”  She said, “Well, I don't know, let’s go down and peek.”  So they all went downstairs and found all the presents were there. When Memere and Pepere came home, they found the kids playing with all the unwrapped gifts! Pauline remembers getting a doll carriage that year.