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These few pages are dedicated to the memory of a very special lady, our grandmother. Well ahead of her time, strong minded and sometimes opinionated, she ran things her way, with an iron hand in a velvet glove... Sometimes difficult to live with, she nevertheless loved her family unconditionally. In her great wisdom, she left us, her grandchildren, with unforgettable memories ! We invite you for a walk down memory lane for a quick visit of Rachel's family.


Rachel Hénault
1874 - 1961


Born December 8, 1874 in Montreal, she was the third child of  Théophile Henry Hénault and Rachel Bélanger

Married June 18, 1907 to Eugène Ismaël François Leclaire, in the parish of St-Jean-Baptiste of Montréal, Qc

Died Decembre 12, 1961, Notre-Dame Hospital of Montreal, Qc  Buried in St-Damien de Bedford, Qc
  Lionel Joseph Armand Leclerc   1908 ~ 1984
  Armand Joseph Amable Leclair 1910 ~ 1978

 1874 ~ 1907 Montréal

 1908 ~ 1961 Stanbridge Station

There is sometimes very little to say about the life of women of that era: women, wives and mothers; they were born, they lived and they died, period...! But what seems very little and is not necessarily evident, is how full those lives were, as a woman, a wife and a mother. These women remained in the background, always present and efficient, but above all, a mere shadow of themselves! 

That particular role was not a good fit for my grandmother... Although quite attractive, there's a good chance that her inability to conform to what was expected of her, influenced her decision to marry rather late in life, at the age of thirty three. Unfortunately, her biological clock took charge of her life, and she had to settle for a much smaller family than she would have liked. She had hoped for a few daughters after the birth of her two sons, but it was not to be.

Her husband, at age fourty one, was also single at the time of their marriage. That particular tradition seems to have extended itself to their two sons, as Lionel married in 1940 at the age of thirty-two and Armand in 1950 at the age of forty! The single life style must have attracted the two of them, as they were not lacking in looks!

Unfortunately, our grandfather died in 1943, so none of us got much of a chance to get to know him at all, except thru the photographs found in the family albums collected by our grandmother, and the family stories heard over the years.

Life has a way of taking charge, and she had plenty of time to enjoy the pleasures of the large family she had dreamed of, as Armand and his wife brought home  nine little ones in the space of ten years. And we  had to learn, none too soon, to share those cherished moments we had enjoyed for so many years already... A total of thirteen grandchildren filled the solitute of the lonely widow. It's safe to assume that there were times when she wished she could get back some of those solitary moments every widow learns to cope with.... And we have been lucky enough to store a great amount of memories thru those growing up years, whether good or bad, they were part of the every day life.

Nevertheless, there are those little mysteries that all of us wish we could resolve today, and that genealogy cannot explain. We all have unanswered questions. For us, those famous lullabies my grandmother used to sing to each of us, in some Indian dialect, all those culinary recipes of Native origins, as well as her vast knowledge of herbs, plants and roots which she transmitted to some of us, where did all that come from ? Genealogy research has brought forward some Native ancestry, mostly of Algonquian origins, but none traceable to the Innu Tribe, which, according to my father, were the roots of my grandmother. So where and how did she learn her Native traditions as well as the language ?  We took every thing for granted, never asking any questions, although it was a rather unusual fact in the region where the family had settled. Today, we would like to know more about it, but unfortunately, there is no one alive to give us some kind of satisfactory explanation.  She certainly had the answer to that riddle, but we never even asked her...

We should take the time to listen and pay attention to what our elders have to say. Sure, we might find it boring at times, some people have a tendency to repeat themselves over and over again. But so what, there might come a time when we will do the very same thing. Don't forget  that they have a lot of knowledge to share with us, if we would only take the time to listen... Let's not wait untill it is too late to do so.


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