The cheese stealer. Pépère’s tools.

licking lips
Gizmo licking his lips for the taste of the Gruyere cheese he stole from me

Is nothing sacred? I had a chunk of Gruyere cheese for supper tonight but did not finish eating it. I set it aside on the table beside my recliner, along with part of a slice of toast, to munch on this evening. I got up and did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen, then got my laptop from the office and returned to my recliner to write this story. And lo and behold, my chunk of cheese is gone! The piece of toast was still there; I had set the cheese on the toast for later.

We usually eat our supper sitting in our recliners and watching TV, and Gizmo sits on the seat beside Elaine and Kerby sits on the floor by her feet while she eats. Each hoping for a handout or for something to “slip off her plate”. Once she is done they turn to me, on chair and floor as before. Nothing “slips off my plate”, though when I am done I will often share a couple of small bites of toast or of cheese with each of them. And if there is no food left on my plate I will often set it on the floor and Kerby will lick the plate clean, and I mean CLEAN. But mind you, they have each been fed their own supper some time before that; they have to eat their own first.

I did some more work on the newsletter today, visiting the office to get the info for the two full page ads Royal Palm will run advertising homes for sale here in the Park. They get good exposure from our newsletter, though it only goes to residents in the park. A few “outsiders” get the newsletter via email or by visiting the Social Club’s web site The newsletter goes to press on Wednesday.

Elaine had fun going through the contents of the box she opened up yesterday. It contained the Schanno family history book (that’s her maiden name) as well as some historical Schanno family photos. She found a bundle of Valentine cards she had made for me over a period of years. There were also some mementos from some of our RV travels.

She also found a bag containing some of the jeweler’s tools we found in the workbench my grandfather Cyr R. Violette had built and used. He had jewelry and watch shops in Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada (~1913-1923) and Van Buren ME (~1923-1944), and he worked in a similar shop in the Hartford CT area after that. Not only did he build his own workbench, he also fabricated many of the tools he used in his work. There are examples of the latter in that collection. Dad had moved Pépère’s things after he died and had saved them as executor of Mémère’s (Adeline Soucy Violette) estate. We found them in the basement of Dad and Mom’s house when we were there after their deaths clearing their house. I saved some of the tools but am not sure what happened to the workbench and other stuff. I think I may build a shadowbox displaying those tools.

Cyr R Violette, ca 1940s
Adeline Soucie Violette, ca 1940s

Pépère and Mémère were two different types of people. (In case you hadn’t guessed, Mémère and Pépère are common terms in French for Grandmother and Grandfather. Grandmére and Grandpére are more formal terms. Mére is French for Mother, Pére is French for Father.) Neither were tall and both were about the same height. Neither was thin. Both of course spoke French and English with equal facility. But while Mémère was very talkative, Pépère was very quiet. We only saw them once a year or so starting around 1946, after Dad was discharged from the Army. We lived in Warner NH and they lived in East Hartford CT, and in those days that was not a trip one took easily. We did not have a car until around 1951, so had to borrow one to make any trip, so we did not travel often. Mémère did come to our house when sister Susan was born, as I remember, to help out when Mom came home, but I do not remember any other visits in that direction. Not only was Pépère a quiet person, as I remember he had very sensitive hearing and was bothered by loud noises; this made it tough for him when there were lots of grandkids visiting! His sensitive hearing probably came from working with watches and clocks, and having to listen close to hear irregularities in their operation in order to fix them. Pépère was born in 1885 (November 9th) and died on November 8, 1956. Later on I lived with Mémère for a couple of years at her boarding house in East Hartford when I worked for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft (~1960), and I remember seeing Pépère’s workbench in the basement. She was born in 1891 (June 4th) died on November 11, 1964.

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