Monday, December 07, 2015

52 Ancestors 2015: #49 – Fred and Marianne’s December birthdays

I’m participating in “52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: 2015 Edition” by Amy Johnson Crow of No Story too Small

For the 49th week of this challenge, I used the optional weekly theme (Holidays) to write about my paternal grandfather Fred and my sister Marianne.

Fred Belair and Marianne Belair on their birthday in December 1975

I’ve already written about my Pépère Fred in last year’s edition of 52 Ancestors (52 Ancestors: #2 Fred Belair), but since Amy’s theme this week consists of “what ancestor do the holidays put you in mind of?”, well, that has to be my grandfather and my sister, whose birthdays were celebrated the week before Christmas.

Fred was born on November 26, 1889, but maintained that his date of birth was December 18, 1889. Many years ago, he explained to me that the December date was his real birthday, because his parish church’s sacramental registers burned and when they were restored, an incorrect date of birth was entered into his baptism record.

December 18 was not only important because of my grandfather, but for three other family members: my mother’s eldest sister Mariette was born on that date in 1927, my parents married on that date in 1954, and my sister Marianne was born on that date in 1960.

We didn’t have the opportunity to celebrate my aunt Mariette’s birthday (she lived 960 km (about 597 miles) away in southwestern Ontario), but Mom would send her a birthday card and we would definitely think of her on her day.

On the other hand, we celebrated my grandfather Fred’s birthday every year, because he lived only a couple of houses from us on Commercial Avenue in Timmins. After we moved a few blocks away and then later to another part of town, we still got together for his birthday either at our house or at the house of his daughter Joan, my aunt and godmother.

When Marianne was young, she’d usually have a party at home with her little friends and our cousins, complete with her own cake. If it was a double birthday, Mom or Aunt Joan would host the party, bake a cake for Pépère and Marianne, and invite a few friends and neighbors.

Fred Belair and Marianne Belair on their birthday in December 1975

These two photos were taken on Pépère's 86th birthday and Marianne’s 15th birthday in December 1975. We were at my Aunt Joan’s house that year.

Copyright © 2015, Yvonne Demoskoff.

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