November 10, 2016

George Charles White LeBlanc - Veteran's Day 2016 -

This Veterans Day, we remember all of our military past and present especially those who fought two wars to keep us all free from terrorists who harm the innocent and resent the freedoms we enjoy.  These numbers might need to be updated but I recall that 6,717 men and women in the U.S. military have died since the wars began in Iraq and Afghanistan; 50,987 wounded - this does not even account for the military from other countries who have made the ultimate sacrifice so that their loved ones and the citizens of their countries might live free.    Today, we remember them all and we are grateful as individuals, as Americans and as citizens of the world!  My father, George Charles LeBlanc knew something about fighting for our freedoms that we have long enjoyed.  The photo above captures him in his World War I uniform.  He fought with Yankee Division.  It was said at the time that World War I was the war to end all wars.  How wonderful if that had been true.  It was a war that incurred many deaths and a great many wounded.

Members of the Yankee Division were cast into the worse of the battles. 
Activated and Inducted into Federal Service: July 1917 (National Guard Division from Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont).

Overseas:  October 1917.

Major Operations:
Champagne-Marne, Aisne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne
  • Days of combat: 210
  • Casualties: Total-13,664
  • Killed in action:  1,587
  • Wounded in action:  12,077
Inactivated, and returned to National Guard service:  May 1919
The Yankee Division was re-activated in World War II and continues as a viable part of the military today.

As an aside, one day while searching for information regarding the 26th Yankee Division, I came across a photo on E-bay that was for sale by Zazzle.  Zazzle has purchased many photos from the National Archives and have made "reasonable" sizes of the photos available for purchase.  I say "reasonable" because an inquiry I made to the National Archives informed me that 1. the originals photos as huge landscape size photos and 2. very expensive if purchased from the archives.

Zazzle had two sizes of the photo I wanted.  The photo is of the final review at Fort Devens, Massachusetts before the Yankee Division was inactivated after World War I.  It is a great photo and I know that my Dad is "somewhere" among all of the military on the parade grounds for the last time.

I decided to inquire as to whether the company might have a photo of the company my Dad was part of - they did not but they purchased it from the National Archives and a few months later I was able to purchase a copy from Zazzle.  Amazingly, what could have cost me in the hundreds of dollars from the National Archives cost me only $25 and $35 respectively in a much more manageable size that I framed and that hang on the wall in this, my work space or home office as some might call it.  Next to those two photos is the photo of my Dad in his World War I uniform encased in a frame that also holds his Victory Medal with clasps or bars described as follows:   "
battle clasps were awarded for each of the major operations for individuals actually present under competent orders. The clasps, with a star on each side of the name of the campaign or one of the defensive sectors, were worn on the suspension ribbon."

To the right is what the WWI Victory Medal looks like.  I was able to find this on the Internet - my father's medal has four clasps representing the four battles he fought in.  I treasure the fact that my mother kept my father's enlistment and discharge papers, including his medal, safely among her treasured items.

[ I sometimes see these things on E-bay and people just do not realize the history they've given away.  Some of these items can never again be retrieved in any way.  A few years ago I tried to obtain new copies of my father's papers.  There had been a fire some years ago where the military records were housed.  My father's papers were among those lost in that fire.  So had my mother not kept these I would never have known my father's military history.]

World War I sources:  Wikipedia, Free pages military on, Zazzle Company
Patriotic holidays bring back great memories of when I was growing up.  As children, we would be playing out in the yard and suddenly we would hear the drum and bugle corps coming up the street.  Yup, a parade!  It just seems to me that everyone was so patriotic back then.  We didn't need a war to bind us together and to be proud of who we were.  I was so impressed with my family's patriotism that I have always been very patriotic as has been my husband and his family.

Family cookouts were great but if we had not been celebrating something American, we would not have been gathering to remember.  I hope every child grows up knowing what it is to be bound together with the pride of being American.

No matter our country, we should always remember the brave men and women who fought that we might all be free - and... don't forget to thank a Veteran for his or her service!

All Rights Reserved

Lucie's Legacy

Lucie LeBlanc Consentino


September 11, 2016

We Will Never Forget 9/11

September 11th, 2001 will long be remembered as one of the most horrific days in the history of the United States.

I've no doubt that everyone remembers where they were when news hit the air waves that a plane had crashed into one of the towers in New York City.

I was at the American-Canadian Genealogical Society for a meeting with the Fall Conference Committee. One member walked in and said a plane had hit one of the towers. Not believing for one moment there was anything sinister involved, I remember telling her that some ridiculous person must have tried a stunt of some kind. We went about our business, but as other members arrived, it was clear that the United States of America had been attacked and a second plane had crashed into the second tower. Then there was the plane brought down in Pennsylvania.

We quickly ended our meeting and headed home. I still remember how desolate the highway was coming home to Methuen from Manchester, New Hampshire. Though not all that long a drive, this highway is usually teaming with some kind of traffic all day long. It was obvious everyone who could was off the highways and in a "safe" place.

When I arrived home our daughter who is a college professor in Boston was there and told me she had called the college and they were allowing their staff to remain at home. Nobody else knew if more attacks would take place and those two airline jets had flown out of Boston.

All afternoon we watched television and saw the devastation played over and over again - we saw people searching all over NYC in search of loved ones who worked in the towers and financial district. Mid afternoon as the list of names that had been passengers on both airlines were listed on the television screen, we could not believe that some people from our town were among them and even worse, one of our neighbors Doug Gowell

was on the United flight 175 . I think just about everyone somewhere was affected by the loss of a family member, neighbor or acquaintance that day as so many lives were lost.

I still get pretty emotional when I remember how for so many nights Doug's wife Barbara would put a candle out on the front porch as though waiting for Doug to come home from his business trip . It was heart wrenching. Just the night before flew out of Boston, I saw him working in front of their home; I also remember the limo driving in front of our house the morning of that fateful flight - Doug was on his way to Logan Airport in Boston.

Robert George LeBlanc of Lee, New Hamsphire was on the same flight as Doug. Robert is well known to us in the Acadian community. A Geography Professor at New Hampshire College, Robert was the creator of the map Acadian Odyssey.
The memories of that day are imbedded in our minds, hearts and souls forever.

So on today, the anniversary of this attack on our country and the loss of so many Americans and visitors to our country, we will pause to remember all who died that fateful September 11th. Below is a list of those who were on the American and United airlines flights... May they rest in peace. We stand with their families and the efforts they have made these past ten years to keep the memory of their loved ones alive.  
from Boston, Massachusetts on way to Los Angeles, California
crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center with 92 people on board.
Barbara Arestegui, 38, Marstons Mills, Massachusetts
Karen A. Martin, 40, Danvers, Mass.
First Officer Thomas McGuinness, 42, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Kathleen Nicosia, 54, Winthrop, Mass.
John Ogonowski, 52, Dracut, Massachusetts
Betty Ong, 45, Andover, Massachusetts
Jean Roger, 24, Longmeadow, Massachusetts
Dianne Snyder, 42, Westport, Massachusetts
Madeline Sweeney, 35, Acton, Massachusetts


Anna Williams Allison, 48, Stoneham, Massachusetts
Myra Aronson, 52, Charlestown, Massachusetts
Christine Barbuto, 32, Brookline, Massachusetts
Kelly Ann Booms, 24, Brookline, Mass.
Carol Bouchard, 43, Warwick, Rhode Island
Neilie Anne Heffernan Casey, 32, Wellesley, Massachusetts
Jeffrey Coombs, 42, Abington, Massachusetts
Tara Creamer, 30, Worcester, Massachusetts
Thelma Cuccinello, 71, Wilmot, New Hampshire
Patrick Currivan, 52, Winchester, Mass.
David DiMeglio, 22, Wakefield, Mass.
Donald Americo DiTullio, 49, Peabody, Mass.
Paige Farley-Hackel, 46, Newton, Mass.
Alex Filipov, 70, Concord, Massachusetts
Carol Flyzik, 40, Plaistow, N.H.
Paul Friedman, 45, Belmont, Massachusetts
Karleton D.B. Fyfe, 31, Brookline, Massachusetts
Peter Gay, 54, Tewksbury, Massachusetts
Linda George, 27, Westboro, Massachusetts
Lisa Fenn Gordenstein, 41, Needham, Massachusetts
Peter Hashem, 40, Tewksbury, Massachusetts
Robert Hayes, 37, from Amesbury, Massachusetts
Edward (Ted) R. Hennessy, 35, Belmont, Mass.
Cora Hidalgo Holland, 52, of Sudbury, Massachusetts
Nicholas Humber, 60, of Newton, Massachusetts
John Charles Jenkins, 45, Cambridge, Mass.
Charles Edward Jones, 48, Bedford, Mass.
Robin Kaplan, 33, Westboro, Massachusetts
David P. Kovalcin, 42, Hudson, New Hampshire
Judy Larocque, 50, Framingham, Mass.
Natalie Janis Lasden, 46, Peabody, Mass.
Daniel C. Lewin, 31, Charlestown, Mass.
Susan A. MacKay, 44, Westford, Massachusetts
Christopher D. Mello, 25, Boston, Mass.
Antonio Jesus Montoya Valdes, 46, East Boston, Mass.
Carlos Alberto Montoya, 36, Bellmont, Mass.
Laura Lee Morabito, 34, Framingham, Massachusetts
Mildred Rose Naiman, 81, Andover, Mass.
Renee Newell, 37, of Cranston, Rhode Island
Jacqueline J. Norton, 61, Lubec, Maine
Robert Grant Norton, 85, Lubec, Maine
Jane M. Orth, 49, Haverhill, Mass.
Sonia Morales Puopolo, 58, of Dover, Massachusetts
David E. Retik, 33, Needham, Mass.
Philip M. Rosenzweig, 47, Acton, Mass.
Richard Ross, 58, Newton, Massachusetts
Jessica Sachs, 22, Billerica, Massachusetts
Rahma Salie, 28, Boston, Mass.
Heather Lee Smith, 30, Boston, Mass.
Douglas J. Stone, 54, Dover, N.H
Michael Theodoridis, 32, Boston, Mass.
James Trentini, 65, Everett, Massachusetts
Mary Trentini, 67, Everett, Massachusetts
Kenneth Waldie, 46, Methuen, Massachusetts
Candace Lee Williams, 20, Danbury, Conn.
Christopher Zarba, 47, Hopkinton, Massachusetts
from Boston, Massachusetts on way to Los Angeles, California 
second plane crashed into the South Tower of the World Trade Center.
Two pilots, seven flight attendants and 56 passengers were on board.

Amy N. Jarret, 28, North Smithfield, R.I.
Amy R. King, 29, Stafford Springs, Conn.
Kathryn L. LaBorie, 44, Providence, R.I.
Michael C. Tarrou, 38, Stafford Springs, Conn.

Garnet Edward (Ace) Bailey, 54, Lynnfield, Mass.
Mark Bavis, 31, West Newton, Mass.
Graham Andrew Berkeley, 37, Boston, Mass.
John Brett Cahill, 56, Wellesley, Mass.
Christoffer Carstanjen, 33, Turner Falls, Mass.
John (Jay) J. Corcoran, 43, Norwell, Mass
Lynn Catherine Goodchild, 25, Attleboro, Mass.
Peter Morgan Goodrich, 33, Sudbury, Mass.
Douglas A. Gowell, 52, Methuen, Mass.
The Rev. Francis E. Grogan, 76, of Easton, Mass.
Carl Max Hammond, 37, Derry, N.H.
Peter Hanson, 32, Groton, Mass.
Sue Kim Hanson, 35, Groton, Mass.
Christine Lee Hanson, 2, Groton, Mass.
Eric Samadikan Hartono, 20, Boston, Mass.
James E. Hayden, 47, Westford, Mass.
Herbert W. Homer, 48, Milford, Mass.
Robert Adrien Jalbert, 61, Swampscott, Mass.
Ralph Francis Kershaw, 52, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass.
Brian Kinney, 29, Lowell, Mass.
Robert George LeBlanc, 70, Lee, N.H.
Maclovio Lopez, Jr., 41, Norwalk, Calif.
Marianne MacFarlane, 34, Revere, Mass.
Louis Neil Mariani, 59, Derry, N.H.
Juliana Valentine McCourt, 4, New London, Conn.
Ruth Magdaline McCourt, 45, New London, Conn.
Shawn M. Nassaney, 25, Pawtucket, R.I.
Patrick Quigley, 40, of Wellesley, Mass.
Frederick Charles Rimmele, 32, Marblehead, Mass.
James M. Roux, 43, Portland, Maine
Jesus Sanchez, 45, Hudson, Mass.
Mary Kathleen Shearer, 61, Dover, N.H.
Robert Michael Shearer, 63, Dover, N.H.
Jane Louise Simpkin, 36, Wayland, Mass.
Brian D. Sweeney, 38, Barnstable, Mass.
William M. Weems, 46, Marblehead, Mass.

from Newark, New Jersey, to San Francisco, California,
crashed in rural southwest Pennsylvania,
with 45 people on board.
All victims of a senseless attack, they and all who died that day were American martyrs! We shall never forget!

 Peace and love to all of their families. 

God bless them and GOD BLESS AMERICA!
All Rights Reserved 
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino
Lucie's Legacy

May 7, 2016

Mama and Me

Mama and Me

When I was a little girl, I thought there was nobody more wonderful and special than my mother who we fondly called "Mama".  Of course, I suppose children feel that way about their mothers and why wouldn't they?  Parents are their whole world.  As infants, toddlers and young children, we ultimately rely on our parents to fulfill our every need.  My parents were no different.. especially Mama

Growing up in a French-Canadian ethnic neighborhood was the best.  Why?  Because we grew up with all of our aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents.  Families today do not often have that same kind of connection.

Our parish church was in our neighborhood as were all businesses owned by French-Candians and that allowed our immigrant grandparents to take care of business in their customary language which was French.  So whether they went grocery shopping, were in need of pharmacy or other services, attending church (which was  most important to them), they could conduct business comfortably in their mother tongue with which they had spoken since they had been born in French speaking province of Quebec.  Dubrule Pharmacy was where they had prescriptions filled. As children we loved going to Dubrules because there was a soda fountain.  We enjoyed many ice cream cones in the summer and ice cream sundaes on Sunday afternoons.  Each ethnic neigborhood had its own grocery stores, fish markets, fruit stores etc.  These neighborhoods were great microcosms of the larger world but best of all we felt safe.  Our doors were never locked and nobody was a stranger to us.

When searching for teachers to staff Ste-Anne parish school, the leaders of the parish wanted bilingual teachers to teach the children in both English and French languages.  I believe we were pretty fortunate to grow up in that kind of situation with our heritage always at the forefront of their minds.  Since our great-grandparents and grandparents were the founders and leaders of the parish, had they not insisted on this, a part of who we were as Franco-Americans would have been lost. Admittedly, as children we didn't realize just how fortunate we were.

From "baby room" (called kindergarten today) through 8th grade we were taught in two languages.  No, we did not have a French "period" or "class" in those days.  Rather we had a half day of English and a half day of French.  During French classes we were taught the catechism, church history, French grammar, spelling and literature.  During English classes, we were taught the usual classes of reading, grammar, spelling, writing, and arithmetic.  Of course, classes did not begin at 8:00 a.m. and end at 2:00 p.m. as they often do today.  We were in school from 7:45 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. until the schedule was changed to 3:00 p.m. half way through elementary school.

To their credit, les Soeurs du Bon-Pasteur de Québec/Sisters of the Good Shepherd of Quebec who had a provincial house in Maine did a great job.  Some of the nuns/teachers were from Quebec while others were Americans. We had the best of both. How fortunate we were to be fluent in both French and English.  As a child I spoke French before I spoke English and I do suppose that was because my Mémère and Pépère (grandmother and grandfather) lived next door for a while and Mémère Lévesque used to baby sit me quite a bit.  Wherever we went in our neighborhood we could converse in French at anytime.  Of course, like all young American children, we had a tendency to speak in English more than French.  My parents were both both in Massachusetts so speaking in either language was a lark.  My parents wanted us to be well versed in English so we would be true Americans.

Thanks to them, we have grown up as true Americans but today we long for those days when there was someone with whom we could speak in the tongue of our grandparents and forebears.

I digress.. growing up with Maman was both interesting and fun for us as children.  Just about every summer Sunday the extended family would go to Canobie Lake for a family picnic.  Most of us had no automobiles so we would all take the bus that we could board at the corner of our street and head out for the day.  Most often we would go to 6:00 a.m. Mass and be on the 7:15 a.m. bus so we could get the picnic tables closest to the lake while at other times we would arrive just early enough to reserve a kiosk so we would be in the shade if it was going to be a very hot day.  Everything depended on how fast the bus could get us there.  Usually the bus would have a hard time making the hill as we approached the road to Canobie.  Buses were not what they are today!

At the end of the day, our extended family would take the last bus home at 10:00 p.m. and sing all the way home.  It was great fun for us kids and everyone on the bus seemed to enjoy our renditions.

In those days going to Canobie Lake was free admission and it was still a pretty rustic forest full of big pine trees.  We would tie our bottles of drinks together and lower them into the lake to keep them cool.  There were no coolers then.

There were a few amusement rides and a few food booths and life was simple.  Today it is quite expensive at Canobie because there are mega rides available.  I'd take the good old days anytime.

Of course, as great as Mama was in getting us ready for the day and sending us off on the bus with my brother and sister so we would arrive with the rest of the family, she always came later.  I don't remember her ever being ready to leave when it was time to go.  But that was part of who she was.  Her main purpose was to get us ready so we could have a fun day from beginning to end.  She would usually arrive at the Lake a couple of hours later with my Mémère who would usually go to 8:00 a.m. Mass.

Once in a while we would spend a Sunday at Salisbury Beach.  That was more unusual though.  Canobie was only a half hour from home in those days whereas Salisbury was an hour by bus.  Today you can get to Canobie in 10-15 minutes by car and Salisbury in 35-40 minutes depending on traffic.

Wherever we went Mama made sure we had a good time.  She loved to laugh, tease and have fun.  She always put me on the "dobbie horses" aka carousel. At certain times of the day or evening you could try to "catch" a "gold" ring as the dobbies passed a certain area.  If you could grab onto one you got a free ride.  I didn't get one often because I loved the dobbie horses that went up and down - the ones closest to the edge of the carousel did not move.  Often parents would stand there to grab a ring for their child to get a free ride.  I just loved the dobbie horses so much that I used to fantasize owning my own horse some day.

Now at Canobie Lake there was a "fortune teller".  My mother and aunts would go have their fortunes told.  You know it was taboo in those days but they did it for fun and didn't believe a word the fortune teller would say.  One day when they were done having their fortunes told, my father told us that his mother used to be a fortune teller.  Everybody laughed and thought he was joking.  I never knew my grandmother Odille because she died at age 42 when my father was just a young boy.  Let me tell you though that as I plodded through our family history, one day I went to the public library to look through City Directories and lo and behold my grandmother was listed as a "clairvoyant" aka fortune teller.  So my father was right.  I sure wish I'd known her!  Not because she claimed to be a clairvoyant but rather because she did what she must to help support a large family.  I see her as having been a very strong woman doing what needed doing to help her family survive.  They were very poor and when she died there was no money for a grave.  She is buried with in a grave belonging to friends of the family.

So that is also how I always perceived my Mama to be:  a very strong woman from who I learned much about surviving the ups and downs of every day life and hanging in there when things were difficult.

As Mama grew older and more frail I realized that my perception of how strong a person she was might not be entirely true or correct - I wondered whether or not I was mistaken.  As she shared some of her fears and concerns in her aging years, I realized more and more that she imparted to me the strengths she would have wanted for herself in the up and down years of her life:  however, no matter what she thought of and for herself, she had a greater and deeper strength than she ever imagined.

I am the last of six children.  Three children died at young ages.  My two oldest siblings, Rita and Emile died one month apart at ages 3 and 4.  A year later my sister Claudia was born, three years later my brother Albert, two years later my brother Alphee who died the age of 9 months.  Five years later I was born.

One time I remember my father telling me that when their children passed away, Mama would just sit in a rocker with their toys rocking back and forth.  They had died of whooping cough which was untreatable back then.  When I was under a two years old I contracted scarlet fever.  Quarantined to the hospital during that illness when I returned home my Mama patiently taught me once again to walk as I had been so decimated from the illness that I could not walk and was not "talking" much for an 18 month old.

There was never a day that passed when she did not tell us how much she loved us no matter how old we were and no matter how ill she was at the end of her life.  Today I do the same with our daughters and now our grandsons.

So in spite of the lack of strength she thought lacking, Mama was a much stronger woman than she believed herself to be and I attribute so much of who I am because of who she was in my life.

Mama I love you and think of you every day.  Here is a photo of what I look like today with your four great grandchildren, Theo, Alexander, Xavier (Rebecca's children) and Mil (Sarah's son).  Watch over us all!  With all our love...

All Rights Reserved
Lucie's Legacy
Lucie LeBlanc Consentino