Thursday, September 02, 2010

Treasure Chest Thursday: A L'Occasion des Noces d'or de M. et Mme J. A. Maille - 1881 - 1931

On the Occasion of the Golden Wedding of Mr. and Mrs J.A. Maille 
1881 - 1931

Earlier, during the summer, I had attempted to feature the 50th Anniversary of my maternal g-g-grandparent's, Joseph Adam Maille & Marie Amamda Prud'homme. Married at the Immaculate Conception rectory in Lowell, Massachusetts on 30 Jan., 1881, I had planned on featuring, in installments on Treasure Chest Thursday, a four page card that they received from their children in honor of that celebration. The card, as you can see below, is written in French and I had originally planned to feature 1 page a week for four weeks. Unfortunately, along the way I realized that my translation skills just were not up to par. Even with help from Google translate, all of the words just did not seem to make sense all the time.

Click images to enlarge
   Fortunately, while I was in the process of translating the card, I was contacted by my cousin Ron Maille via e-mail. Ron is actually my mother's 1st cousin, he is my 1st 1x removed. Anyway, while Ron and I were corresponding I mentioned the card and asked him if he could translate. Ron told me that he had been told that he spoke French before English when he was baby and that his French vocabulary skills were quite good at one time. But not worry, because he had a friend from his years in the Navy that was fluent in French and he would contact this friend for me.

Well, I thought that was just wonderful, and a few weeks later Ron wrote back and told me that his friend, Herman 'Frenchy' Ouellette in Florida, would help me out and that I should contact him. If you follow me on facebook you already know all about this, but for those who don't, I'll tell you. So, I contacted Herman and he was so nice. Willing to translate the card, I sent him 3 pages of the text. He told me to give him a few days and that he would be back in touch.. We corresponded a bit during the process and 5 days later I had the full translation and it's wonderful. It reads like fine poetry and I have to admit, with my poor translation skills, I never would have been able to do it any justice. In his final e-mail to me, Frenchy wrote, "..I enjoyed doing the translating and took great pleasure in reading this fine prose. No one writes like this nor in the Old French anymore."

I  am so grateful to Ron and Frenchy for the help they offered on this lil project of mine. I wouldn't have been able to do it and have it make sense with out their help. Thank-you both.

So with out further ado, I bring you Frenchy's translation:

January 1930

Dear Parents,

January 1931 brings to your children the incomparable happiness of celebrating the Golden Anniversary of your marriage.

The holidays are evocative:  Let us carry our thoughts back to 30 January 1881; the priest blesses a cutting of the ancestral oak, transplanted in the fertile soil of Lowell.

The young stem took root, grew strong, grew tall, and produced ten branches, of which, one, whose sap was so religious only found her corresponding ideal in the hothouse of the monastery.  Four detached themselves in turn from the Mother tree to multiply, for example, the field of the Master; four children, too weak to brave the storms, succumbed to the first Northwind; and to protect the trunk, weakened by so many losses, by the years of hard labor, consecrates to the training of these beloved limbs, by the shock of the years, there remains only one branch, but so strong, so solid, that is resists all the winds of storms, and stands upright, that stem, old woman of fifty years; she preserves the foundation and has affection for her cherished, tender foliage.

So this faithful branch keeps for us this Golden Relic, until the Diamond Wedding.

This is the wish to Heaven for you – Beloved parents.  From your Grateful children.

Beautiful, isn't it?

To read more about the 50th anniversary of Joseph and Marie Maille please see this previous blog post that features an article from the Lowell Sun which was published on 2 Jan., 1931.

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