Man is an animal suspended in webs of significance that he himself has spun...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Choosing a Place - Update

Yesterday the elder Frenchling received her first acceptance letters from two universities in….

Canada.  Québec, to be precise.

Her choice is made.  French-speaking North America is her Third Place.

And this seemed the right moment to relate some family history. 

In the late 17th (or early 18th) century, one of our ancestors left Normandy for La Nouvelle France.  His descendants settled in the region around Trois Rivières.

After some years in Québec, part of the family left Canada for Wisconsin in the United States.  My great-grandmother, Celestine, was born in Rice Lake to a French-speaking family. 

When Celestine married, she moved West with her husband to farm near the small village of  Naches in the state of Washington.  She had one child, a daughter named Rachel, who moved with her husband across the Cascade mountains to the city of Seattle where she had a daughter named Mary Lou. 

Then, sometime in the last century, Mary Lou had her own daughter (the author of this blog).   This daughter, when she grew up, married a man from France, moved back across the Atlantic and made her home in Paris.  

And now her Frenchling, this child of the 21st century, will cross the ocean and walk in a place where one of her French ancestors once came looking for a new life in a new world.

2 comments:

Pascal said...

I’m surprised by the detail of your family story. I’m not sure to have so much from mine.
We could think that our decision is made by chance, actually not, the chance does not exist !
Everything we decide have a deep reason, even if we are not aware every time.
Every decision built the path of our life. And the way of our life make sense with our family story…
Hopefully, some tools exist to explore the unconscious path, that may be a good help !

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Americans have a penchant for reinvention. We really do believe that we can start over any time we wish. But what we are, and our point of departure, depends on what came before.

I notice two patterns in the family history. The first is that we are nomads and that goes back to a pre-modern era. We were moving around in the 17th century. The second is that the family is very matriarchal (we tend to trace our line though the women) and we mostly marry "out" - out of our culture of origin or our religion.

I must have absorbed this as a child which may have made it easier for me to envision a life someone other than Seattle, Washington.