Alberta Beauregard nee Dalphe
, or an alternate spelling, Dalpe
, was born in 1900. Her village church was in Ruxton
Falls, Quebec, Canada. Her father was the postmaster, had a country store, ran a farm, and at one time was the mayor of Ruxton
Falls. Her mother was an American from Boston and spoke English as well as French.
Alberta was one of fourteen children, ten boys and four girls. She was the second youngest, the youngest was her sister Irene. I can remember only two of these uncles: Arthur and Euclid, both of whom, in my recollection
, laughed a lot. Most of the uncles died young though I do not know what they died of or what sicknesses may have affected their lives. Only four of her siblings were alive in the year 1939. She had a much older sister and one only slightly older than she. The later died early in life of consumption and the older, Emma, had gotten married and moved away to Maine. I do not know when her mother died but it fell to Alberta to cook for the family and oversee most of the household chores. It was she who took care of the store when her father was away.
My father first met her when he stopped at the store and she waited on him. He liked her right away but she was not enamored of him. She had a boyfriend and ignored my father. (Throughout his life my father was jealous
of this person.) At one point she she had a falling out with the boyfriend and sent a letter to my father and asked if he wanted to take her out. The relationship blossomed
into marriage in 1924, she was twenty-four years old and he was twenty-three.
Right after marriage they moved to Detroit. She did not want to remain in the local area having seen how the marriage of my uncle Eldage
was controlled by my grandmother, Louisa. She was used to running her own household and was not going to have a domineering
and controlling mother-in-law. This shows an unusual strength of will to be able to leave the country she was born in, to a country with a different language, and move to a city neither
had ever seen.
Once in Detroit, she ran a boarding house for other Canadian expatriates, many of them bachelors
from the same part of Quebec. She had been used to cooking for a large group and taking care of a large house and it just came natural. She went five years with no children and feared she would not have any. Then at the end of 1929 she had me. After that, children came quickly, she had six more in a short period of time. One died, Teresa, shortly after childbirth. One of my uncles told me I had the distinction of uncorking the bottle.
It was during the depression that the family moved to a house on the west side of Detroit, 8364 Navy Street. The house had a piano and many Saturdays there was a soiree
until the early hours of the morning. Many French relatives came over for the food and stayed for entertainment. Bernie and I would be put to bed and then bawdy
French songs would be sung to the amusement of all.
Mama was a closet eater, having to hide from the kids what she truly
desired. She liked candy and potato chips and ate them when she thought nobody was around. (Bernie was the family sleuth
and would partake whenever he found a cache.) She was a finicky eater and never
ate cheese, fish, hot dogs or bologna
. When she put on weight my father was delighted, he liked weight on a woman. (He felt skinny females were not healthy.) She was a good cook and all relatives raved about her cooking. We children did not truly appreciate it until we had grown up and tasted other cooking. (Like in the Navy.) She liked to eat and when she was told by a doctor to refrain from some foods she liked, she ignored the advice. Her credo was: If I am not able to eat what I want, life is not worth living. She raised three girls that were also finicky eaters, all stubborn enough to sit at the table long after the meal was through, not being able to leave until they had eaten what had been put onto their plates. Eventually, they won and left the table without eating what they did not like. My mother had pity on them since she knew what they were going through.
She went to night school to improve her English skills and got an eigth grade certificate. My father also went but had to drop out because of work and not catching on as fast as she did. The literature she most enjoyed was joke books. She liked to tell jokes to the relatives and laughed as hard as anybody at them. She was an encore teller, repeating the punch line over again to get another laugh.