A wave of memories

Une vague de souvenirs

English version below the pictures

Dernièrement, je regardais de vieux documents. La photo de Janine et moi ci-dessous m’a fait une sorte de choc. C’est la première photo de nous deux prise en 1958 , alors que nous n’étions que des fiancés . Mon cousin René, qui avait 11 ans était à nos côtés. Je me demande pourquoi j’ai ressenti une telle émotion. En effet ce n’était certainement pas la première fois que je regardais cette photo. Janine était aussi émue.

Puis j’ai trouvé que j’avais un regard pas trop joyeux. mais plutôt sérieux. Peut-être me suis-je rendu compte que j’étais juste fiancée à vie et, même si à cette époque (j’avais 25 ans) j’avais déjà un métier d’instituteur mais je devais partir à l’armée pendant 27 mois puis commencer un autre métier de professeur, obtenir une maison avant de se marier…

1958 Janine and I with my cousin René

Lately I was watching old documents. The photo of Janine and I above gave to me a kind of shock. This is the first photo of both us taken in 1958 , while we were only fiances . My cousin René, who was 11 years old was at our side. I am wondering why I felt such an emotion . Indeed it was certainly not the first time I watched that photo . Janine was moved too .

Then I found I had a look not too much joyful . but rather serious. Perhaps I realized I was just engaged for life and , even if at this time ( I was 25 years old ) I had already a job of teacher but I had to go to the army during 27 months then to start an other job of professor , getting a house before to be married …

  Je dois dire que la rencontre de Janine l’ année précédente en Août 1957 a été le départ d’une vie nouvelle , une lumière dans un fond de tristesse. En effet j’ avais perdu mes deux parents le même jour en Mars 1956 ( AVC pour mon père et crise cardiaque pour ma mère). J’ étais loin de là pour mes études et ils ont été trouvés morts le jour suivant. Pas de sœur ni de frère. J’étais seul pour pleurer et pour me débrouiller dans cette maison neuve que mon père venait de construire par lui-même. Peut-être quand cette photo a été prise tous ces souvenirs m’ étaient présents à l’ esprit mais je souhaitais avancer, construire ma vie avec Janine, fonder une famille sans oublier mes parents. C’ est peut-être pourquoi je parais assez sérieux et c’ est peut-être aussi une clé pour expliquer cette famille de six enfants dont nous nous sommes enrichis

photo 2 1952
Mon père Emile(à droite ) au début des années 50 était ajusteur-mécanicien dans une usine métallurgique dans une petite ville ( Marquise) dans le département du Pas de Calais ) qui employait plus de 1000 ouvriers ( fermée depuis )
My father Emile ( on the right ) at the beginning of the 50’s was a fitter mechanician in a metallurgic factory with more than a thousant workers ( closed since then ). It was located in a small town named Marquise in the department of Pas-de-Calais , Northern France
photo 3 1953
Ma mère ,Marthe , travaillait à la maison . Elle était aussi couturière pour qui voulait.
Elle est dans la cuisine de la maison où je suis né et élevé . Elle y faisait la lessive ( à la main ) . C ‘ était là que nous nous lavions, mangions et où j’ étudiais le soir .Seulement un robinet à eau froide au dessus de l’ évier pour toute la maison .
Voyez les boîtes à thé et à sel accrochées au mur et la cuisinière à charbon.qui chauffait aussi ..toutela maison !
My mother, Marthe, was housewife. She was aso a sewer and worked for everyone .
See the kitchen in the house where I am born and raised . She made the landry there ( at hands, with brush ). It was there where we washed ourselves,we ate and where I was studying at night!! Only a tap on the sink for all the house with cold water See also the boxes hung at the wall for tea and salt and the cooker working with coal which heated ..;all the house … my parents lived there until 1955

I have to say meeting Janine the year in August 1957 has been the start of a new life , a light in a background of sadness . Indeed I had lost my two parents the same day in March 1956 ( stroke for my father and heart attack for my mother ) . I was away for my studies and they have been found the day after their death. No sister and no brother I was alone to cry , alone to manage this , in that new house my father had built on his own . Perhaps when this photo has been taken I was thinking of all those memories but I wanted to go on and make my life with Janine , found a family , without forget my parents. Probably it is why I looked rather serious and perhaps also a key to explain this family of 6 children we go

photo 4 1953
Mon père ( à gauche )faisant les parpaings pour construire la nouvelle maison
Il est aidé par deux des ses beaux-frères : René , le père mon cousin(même nom) et Aimé . 1953
My father ( on the left, in a cap) ) making the blocks of concrete to build the new house.
He is helped by two of his brothers in law , René ( my cousin ‘s father , same name )and Aimé.1953
Construction du toit au dessus du premier étage (qui n’existait pas auparavant)
Construction of the roof above the first floor (this last did not exist before). This was made by an enterprise

La maison a été complètement terminée en 1955. En effet tout était encore à faire et mon père faisait presque tout par lui -même . Ils y vécurent environ 6 mois.( 1955-1956)

The house was achieved totally in 1955. Indeed all was still to do and my father made almost all of things and works by himself . They lived in it about 6 months ( 1955-1956)

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113 Responses to A wave of memories

  1. Mémoire touchante, Michel ! J’aime la deuxième photo. C’est comme si j’en sentais l’odeur.
    Une douce et souriante fin de journée à toi et à Janine.

  2. suester7 says:

    I didn’t know both your parents died on the same day. It must have been very difficult for you.

    Do you have any brothers or sisters?

  3. What amazing history and memories!!!!!!

  4. whyzat says:

    What pleasant photos. Parts of the past glow in our memories while others burn. Still, I think, being young was better!

  5. What a personal story. Thanks for sharing. The thought of losing both parents the way you did must have been difficult. Here’s another possibility. Few people smiled in pictures during those days.

  6. I’m deeply moved by these photographs from the last past. They tell the story of lives. I especially love the picture of you and Janine as fiancé’s. I’m a believer in dying of heart break which could explain the death of your parents at the same time. Sending hugs ❤️

  7. Lavinia Ross says:

    That is a beautiful photo of you and Janine with your cousin. I was also moved by your photographs and the story of losing both your parents on the same day. Their lives ended, but your life with Janine began.

    Much love to you and the family, ❤️

  8. judyrutrider says:

    This may be your best post yet, even without horses in it. In those times, building a home was less complicated, though more labor intensive (making his own blocks) and many people did a lot of their own building. I remember my mother’s family of nine boys and three girls all worked together to build their own homes. Amazingly, all are still standing (the houses, not the siblings).

  9. BTW, your old photo of you reminds me a little of Tom Hanks! 😆

  10. Caro says:

    Ton post est émouvant Papa …voir nos grands parents que l on a pas eu la chance de connaître….je vous aime très fort et vous embrasse carole

  11. This is a very emotional post. So many memories. The picture of your mother tells a thousand stories. The picture of you three is so interesting—the contrast between you and Janine’s expressions says a lot. I’m glad René has been in your life all these years.

    I can’t imagine how shocking it must have been for you to lose both your parents on the same day, and from natural events. I wonder if his death caused hers…what a sad story. They both were such hardworking and admirable people. How hard she worked in that kitchen! We take our space for granted. Michel, what became of their new home? I am in awe of your father making the bricks himself. They must have been so happy to move into their new home.

    You said you met Janine on the same day your parents passed? That’s quite amazing—I would love to hear how you met.

    Well, this post has made me pensive. Thank you for sharing. So much to think about here. Thinking about you and your beautiful bride, too. She was a gift.

    Much love,

    • Thank you Caroline for this long and endearing comment. Yes I cannot forget that time.
      Regarding my meeting with Janine, it was in 1957, a year after the death of my parents (March 1956) and the photo of us with my cousin is from 1958 . ❤

  12. calmkate says:

    such sad memories but so kind to share your history Michel … I am sure your mother died of a broken heart! Impressive that your father built the home entirely himself … as did my father twice 🙂

    Janine is beautiful and you’ve had a happy marriage with more children, so you went on to do what your parents didn’t have time for 🙂

  13. mrswrangler says:

    Wonderful old pictures. I hope you have a wonderful and happy holiday season.

  14. This brought the tears flowing. I’m so sorry for your great loss…having both your parents die on the same day. 😦 What a very difficult time for you. 😦
    What wonderful treasured history and photos you have shared with us. Thank you.
    Your mother had a beautiful smile! 🙂 Her personality shines through in that photo! 🙂
    I wish your parents could have lived to see your precious wife Janine and your children. But, I know they are always with you in spirit and in heart and they are smiling and proud. 🙂
    (((HUGS))) ❤

  15. maidyk says:

    bonsoir Michel,
    vous étiez et êtes un beau couple , Janine est souriante et toi pas vraiment triste, mais comme tu l’écris sérieux , posé, comme souvent les profs le sont.
    Pour la cuisine de tes parents, nous avons un peu tous les mêmes souvenirs, elle servait à tout la cuisine. Dommage oui, ils n’ont pas eu le temps d’en profiter longtemps de cette maison, tes parents.
    bises !

  16. A very heartfelt and deeply beautiful post. I’m sorry for the sadness in your younger years. The traveling back in time is moving for us as readers.

  17. atagrandma says:

    Looking at old photos does bring back the memories, some sad and some happy. Even the happy ones make us a little sad because those happy times are over. We are both blessed with children and grandchildren who love us.

  18. wissh says:

    Losing both parents so young and being without siblings was very sad indeed. Yes, it’s easy to see why you have your own lovely family of six children. I love these photos, Michel. Your mom looks like a happy woman and Janine is of course stunningly beautiful then and has remained so all her life. You were lucky to have found each other back in 1957, the year I was born. Hope you’re feeling well.
    Christine ❤️

  19. Barbara Lenhard says:

    Is this the house you and Janine live in now? What wonderful pictures to have and such memories love, Barbara

  20. Marion says:

    Thanks for sharing these wonderful family photos with us, Michel! I studied them closely, and loved reading your comments on each of them. You did lose your parents at such a young age – very hard to deal with. ❤

  21. Marilyn Thysell says:

    A blessing of memories, both sad and happy. You came from humble beginnings and have made a wonderful line with Janine and your 6 children. Thank you Michel for sharing such wondeful memories. Love ❤ Marilyn

  22. murisopsis says:

    You were orphaned so very young. I am sure it is a deep sadness that you lost both parents on the same day. They say that to die of a “broken heart” is a real medical condition… Looking at the photo of you and Janine I had to smile (even if you weren’t) because you certainly found a wife that was a beauty (then and now!) and for that reason alone you should have been grinning like the cat that swallowed the canary!

  23. Doug Thomas says:

    I had a friend – the one who lived in Paris – who was the only child of parents who both were only children! I never could comprehend what it must be like to have no aunts or uncles, no cousins, perhaps because my father came from a family of 13 children, which made for lively family reunions. (My mother was an only child, but I had great aunts on that side of the family.) That said, the tragedy of you being an only child whose parents both died on the same day was particularly poignant. I can’t imagine the weight of that loss at the time, probably even to this day.

    On a happier note, the photos of your father building your parent’s new home reminded me of my family. There was a US Army Air Corps training base in my town during WWII. Men trained there were among those who paratrooped into France the day before D-Day or arrived in the gliders.

    After the war, the US Government sold the airfield and building s to the city, and my parents bought one of the warehouses with another couple, and the four tore down the warehouse to reclaim the wood and things of use (doors) to build their new homes.

    My father, chief of police of the town at the time, and my mother, with four young children to manage, would go over to the building site every day after my father got off work or on his days off and work on the house. They would live in that home for 51 years.

    Seeing the photo of your father building their home, I was reminded of old family photos of my parents (and a wee Dougy, me!) building their new home. I’ve attached a link to my blog post about family photos, including the ones just mentioned. Sorry for the clutter, but I don’t know how to post the building photos without using the post this way.

    Post 487: Once upon a time…

    • You had elegant and courageous parents. I really liked your old blog showing the construction by your parents of their house.
      You appear there as a sweet, smiling and spontaneous little boy. , a bit mishievous !! 🙂
      Where do your brothers and sisters become ?

      • Doug Thomas says:

        Marijean and Dick have died, and Kathy is in Seattle. Your photo of you father and his in-laws building the home your parents got to enjoy for such a short time brought my blog about home building in my family to mind. Both were building post WWII in the 1950s, a time of rebuilding there and the expansion of the middle class here, where having a single family home of one’s own was a reality, especially when people invested their own time and effort in building those homes! I was a bit less helpful (according to my mother) than just there to be supervised. I painted a closet door when no one was paying attention, and that was a mess to clean up since it hadn’t been varnished yet. Fortunately, I didn’t do a great job of it since I couldn’t reach very high! Apparently, I was mischievous. I also was very curious about how things worked and was notorious for taking things apart. When I grew up, that same curiosity helped me in my work. I also made visiting factories to see how things are made one of my hobbies!

      • Yes, Doug, an awake mind is the hallmark of intelligence. In primary school, children were trained to ask questions during a walk or visit

      • Doug Thomas says:

        I responded to that on your post, but for those who don’t follow you but follow me, my brother and older sister died, and my sister Kathy lives in Seattle. Both my parents died as well.

      • Thank you Doug to tell me (us) your youth and about what your family became

  24. I don’t think I had seen these pictures of your parents – lovely to see them ❤
    Is that the house you live in now?
    I also looked at some old photos recently – maybe it's that time of year.
    Hugs to you and Janine!!

  25. I feel as though I got into your life. Thank you so much for sharing this with us. Loved seeing the pictures and the stories it carries! ❤️

  26. puffpop says:

    My dear friend, You have lived a very full life and survived much sadness. Losing both parents and being alone , all alone and then finding Janine. You now have such a beautiful and full family. You are an inspiration to so many. It helps that you have a strong faith and know that God has been with you as you have journeyed through life and will continue to be with you. Thank you for sharing this.

    Much love to you and your family,

    votre amie,

  27. Gayle says:

    Memories….sometimes happy…sometimes sad. That’s life I guess.
    Sorry you lost both your parents together…thank goodness you had Janine soon after!
    Love the pictures Michel! God bless you both ❤

  28. blb1 says:

    As I looked at your picture I thought Janine has not changed much. Of course you have mostly loss of hair. 🙂
    I am so sorry you lost both parents at once. That would of been so hard to handle all things.

  29. nannyfountain says:

    wonderful memories Michel and Janine ! Much love to you both!

  30. Susan Joos says:

    Oh, Michel, how sad a time that must have been for you, especially with no siblings to share your grief. I think your serious look is well warranted; you would understand how much a family means, and starting out with Janine would be the core of it.

    Love the pictures of your parents! My great aunt lived in a house with a kitchen very much like the one pictured. The water was obtained by a pump at the sink, and we children were all fascinated by that! Of course, the drawback was that the bathroom facilities were confined to an outhouse in the back yard, so rain or shine or heat or snow, that was a less delightful aspect of visiting.

    I checked to see pictures of your father hatted; of course, men did wear hats often back in those days.

    What an amazing thing, to make a house down to making the very blocks for it! What an accomplishment! I am sorry they got to enjoy it for so short a time.

    We never get over missing our parents. I was devastated to lose my only (younger) brother several years ago, but at least I was fortunate to have him still with us when our mother passed away. (Our father died when we were children.)

    Sometimes I look at our family picture of mother, father, brother & sister, and feel sad that I am the only one left out of the group.

    Thank goodness I have family of my own. I am sure your own happy brood is a comfort to you!

    • One of my grandmothers had no running water in the house, no tap. She had a well in her yard. His neighbors came to help themselves with their buckets
      You have become the head of a new family, Susan, and Piper looks like you but we cannot forget our parents and brother .
      Love ❤

  31. Stephanie says:

    J’ai beaucoup apprécié lire un peu l’histoire de tes parents, comment ils vivaient et travaillaient. Quel catastrophe être décédé si jeune, et incroyable le même jour. Le poids de responsabilités sur tes épaules a dû peser lourd, je comprends comment la rencontre avec Janine a dû soulager la tristesse de cette époque.
    Je me demande comment vous êtes rencontrés tous les deux ?

    Les photos sont superbes, surtout avec les parpaings. Qu’est que Castors signifie dans cette situation ? Le petit ‘ombpour la bande de frères qui construisent la maison peut être ? La photo était prise l’après midi, j’imagine? 😉 Tu comprendras comment je suis en admiration de l’effort de construction soi-même, ayant participé fortement dans la rénovation / construction de notre maison dans la Drôme.

  32. Stephanie Wall says:

    Je viens de montrer l’histoire à David mon mari qui m’a dit que Castors est Casters car les trois hommes sont en train de fabriquer les parpaings. J’aurais du me rendre compte ! J’étais fixé sur les animaux de Montagne !

    • Au temps où mes parents construisaient leur maisons , il existait des associations de gens qui construisaient leur maison en s’entraidant comme le font les castors , rongeurs bâtisseurs le long des cours d’eau ou des lacs. Sur la photos , l’oncle qui tenait le panneau ” castor ‘ plaisantait mais cela rappelait qu’ils s’entraidaient?
      Le bonsoir à vous deux ❤

  33. Kathy Colvin said:
    Old pictures bring back so many memories. It makes me sad to think of you alone after losing both parents on the same day. I’m glad you found Janine to make new memories and a sweet life. Thanks for sharing the photos. Blessings and Love, Kathy ♥

  34. Peggy Flora said:
    Memories, memories! Love the photo of you and Janine!

  35. Sartenada says:

    Hello Michel. How wonderful post! Memory lanes are what we human being need. Old photos maintain our memories. Many times, I watch often our old photos in a bookshelf. Thank you presenting this lovey post. Have a wonderful day. Amitiés,

  36. Cathy Harris-Henderson said:
    ‎Merci d’avoir partagé votre histoire très personnelle, ‎Michel.
    ‎Et, bien que triste à bien des égards… savoir que vous et Janine avez fait, ensemble, une si belle famille et une vie merveilleuse est la preuve, que la vie peut et devrait continuer.‎
    ‎De plus, je crois fermement que vos parents ont toujours été avec vous et vos enfants.‎
    ‎Merci ‎😊‎ encore une fois, Michel. ‎

  37. I love these photos. They bring out a lot of emotion especially with the background info. How heartbreaking and awful to have both parents die the same day. You and Janine have built a wonderful family and legacy. Hugs, ❤

  38. bernard25 says:

    Bonjour MICHEL Ou est-elle notre jeunesse

    En ce petit matin, je te souhaite une merveilleuse journée
    Que chacune des 24 heures à venir ne soit que plaisir
    Que ce jour soit doux et qu’il t’emporte réussite et prospérité.
    Bise amicale Bernard

  39. Julie Essex says:

    These are wonderful memories , its lovely to see photographs of your parents. Looking at the men who were working with your Father and his cousins it reminded me what those men most have gone through during WW2

  40. L. Marie says:

    Wonderful photos, Michel! How sad about your parents.
    What lovely memories of meeting Janine and being with your cousin. Love your photos!
    My parents married in 1957.

  41. vickyvix2 says:

    Michel, there is so much we can learn from you. What advice do you have for surviving tough times like the kind you lived through? Thank you for sharing your life with us.

  42. Michel, I had you on my mind the past few days and prayed extra for you.
    Hope all is well.
    Busy here. And enjoying some Christmasy weather. 🙂

  43. Resa says:

    This is sad, interesting and happy.
    It is sad about your parents. However, it is happy about your studies, Janine & family you built.
    The history is interesting. Life is a mystery.
    I now wonder what happened to the house your father built?
    History, whether worldly, or personal is fascinating.
    Thank you, Michel, for this post!
    Resa xoxo

  44. Oh, Michel. I’m so glad to read that you met Janine soon after events that would have been terrible for anyone to handle. How sad that both parents died on the same day.

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