by Katie Ouilette
WALLS, have you had a ‘Ma’ in your life? No, I’m not talking about your mother, I’m wondering if you have had a ‘Ma’ sometime during your life. Yes, WALLS, we’ve had a ‘Ma’ in our family and when I sat and talked with Elaine Cannell, while we were waiting for her other guests to arrive, I learned that Ma had been at her house, but not for as long as we had her in our family.
Now, WALLS, I’m not going to write her real name, because she was always ‘Ma’ to me. It all started when housework became too much for my mémère, so my mom got us ‘Ma’.
Yes, Ma even got some things done as I was preparing for Colby Junior College, in New London, New Hampshire. (Yes, it is Colby-Sawyer College now, and I’ll write about ‘why’ in another issue.) Back to ‘Ma’ and, yes, she was proud of her own family. Her husband, Carrol, worked faithfully for the Skowhegan Road Department.
Oh, you have asked why she was ‘Ma’ to all our family. Well, she not only cleaned our house at 29 Chestnut Street once a week, but she was definitely one of our family. In fact, after college, I married and she was ‘Ma’ when my husband and I moved back to Maine with the business which we had started in Mountain Lakes, New Jersey, so she cleaned our house in East Madison, as I worked at Z.D.Wire.
Then, when my marriage to Joe Denis became history and I later married Lew, ‘Ma’ came to our rescue when she agreed to care for my grandson who was born in Alaska and his mother said she wanted him to grow up in Maine. Oh, she was a truly wonderful mother but followed the wishes of her mother and father who called every day to remind her of her obligation. (Yes, Eskimo custom was that the youngest would care for the elder parents.) So our grandson was cared for by ‘Ma’ while Nana went to work every day. Yes, she was always ‘Ma’ to Danny, too.
‘Ma’s life has passed, but she is still ‘Ma’ to all of us. Yes, WALLS, ‘Ma’ will forever be a part of the Valliere, Denis, Ouilette memories.
Oh, WALLS, there are so many reasons for memories having popped up in our minds. We had a gathering of friends and, yes, schoolmates at Elaine’s house, Evalyn Bowman brought her two classmates from Vermont who were visiting her. Betsy Hall and I had been in the same class at Lincoln School on Leavitt Street and Elizabeth (was Rodden) lives in East Madison. And, know what, WALLS? Surely our faithful readers who attended school with Betsy and Elizabeth will say: “I remember them!” Yes, faithful readers, there is so much in our ‘memories’ of our younger years. Enjoy! That is what age is for!
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