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The Legacy of Strength Began Generations Ago

April 16, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 183

Between 1880 and 1930, more than 27 million people made the journey from around the world to Ellis Island. Some were looking for work in the United States; others were trying to escape the unrest in their own country. Jeanne Maurice boarded the LaTouraine steamship at the Havre with less than $100 and the clothes on her back. She was determined to leave Paris and her past behind her; knowing she would never see her family again, she put a determined foot forward and walked away from everything she knew. One of nearly 2,000 passengers following their dreams, she wasn't even 18 years old yet, and wasn't sure what she was getting herself into. She knew that the economy in France wasn't improving and this was her chance at a brighter future. She arrived at Ellis Island on January 6th.

Jeanne worked her way from Ellis Island to the French friendly towns we now call the quad cities in Minnesota. She was comfortable there, and found others who spoke French or French-Canadian which made things much easier as she hadn't mastered much English. She worked hard taking odd jobs sewing, harvesting, and laboring in whatever factory would give her work. The working conditions were not ideal, especially for a young woman. She looked forward to going to work at the factory where the handsome dark-haired man kept watch at the gate. She was excited when she learned that he was also an immigrant who spoke very little English but whose French was fluent and as lovely as the breeze on a warm summer day. His name was even music to her ears - Felix Casavant...almost as lovely as those dark eyes with so many stories left untold. Felix and Jeanne quickly fell in love, married, and started a family of their own.

Felix had a desire to provide a better life for his family, but immigrants received far less in wages than US Citizens. He moved his two young children and his lovely wife to Wisconsin and claimed Minnesota as his home-town. He wasn't sure how long people would believe his story, but he kept as quiet as possible so no one would notice his broken English and French accent. Felix continued to work in security positions and Jeanne worked when she could between children; by the beginning of 1930 their love had produced four beautiful children - two boys and two girls. The couple purchased a modest home on the East Twin River in Two Rivers, Wisconsin where they lived amongst other immigrants on a cobblestone street within walking distance of Lake Michigan.

Want to find out more about taking life's lemons and turning them into lemonade? Follow Crystal's lemon blog by clicking here:

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