Joyeux Noël

Joyeux Noël (PIP #12)

By Louise Peloquin

A meeting takes place in the long rectangular room where jacks-of-all-printing trades feed linotypes with a cornucopia of lead letters. They are working on important December issues – important because the holidays bring an abundance of ads, important especially because local events, duly illustrated by photos of happy Lowellians, take center stage.

War still rages across the pond in 1944 with many local “French boys” demonstrating their courage. Nonetheless, Noël remains a time of hope, a celebration of love incarnate.

Imagine the exchanges L’Etoile’s team could have had at 24-26 Prince Street….

Emile questions his boss as he steps out of his cubbyhole office.

“We’ve got quite a variety of advertisements this year Monsieur Biron. Illustrating them could attract the reader’s eye, don’t you think? Take O’Heir’s for instance. Even if times are tough, parents manage to make the little ones happy. Pardon my curiosity Monsieur. Any grandchildren in your household?”

Biron raises his head ever so slightly, opens his eyes wide and glances above the little round spectacles poised on the edge of his aquiline nose. His look is one of mirth.

“My children could be my grandchildren, Emile. Oh oui, you are curious indeed. But what harm is there in specifying that I entered the state of matrimony at 49? I was blessed with three children and was 60 when the youngest was born, ma très chère Marthe.”

Armand, a cousin of Biron’s wife, joins in.

“That name wasn’t popular when she was born. And it’s certainly not very musical. I always wondered why you chose it. No one in the family has it.”

Chère cousin, haven’t you heard the story behind the name?”

Armand, looking a bit sheepish after his blunt comments, responded.

“No, I don’t recall.”

Biron pursued, his eyes glittering with amusement.

“Since my July birthday falls on the feast of Sainte Marthe, Marie chose it to honor le nouveau Papa. At first I questioned the choice but, upon reflection, I thought it had a strong, solid sound to it. And so Marthe it was. But let us get to the tasks at hand. Printing presses have no patience when they are hungry for the latest news. Emile, won’t you show me the advertisements please?”

Emile hands his boss a series of sketches.

“Here’s one for the toys, simple but attractive. Here’s La Caisse Populaire Jeanne D’Arc’s Noël message, and, of course, the one you wrote for us, for L’Etoile.”

Biron skimmed over the advertisements and nodded his approval. He was not a man to flash smiles. Perhaps he did not want others to examine his tobacco-yellowed teeth. Perhaps he wanted to maintain a distant air. None of that was consequential because his colleagues always grasped his non verbal messages. The curl of the lips, the widening of the eyes, the lift of the chin, so many indications of approval or lack thereof.

Biron continued.

“Let me see the local news reports. Big or small, we shall publish them all. Charles has taken quite a few photos. Everyone likes to discover who is in the paper, isn’t that so?  But first, would you bear with me while I read the beginning of my Noël editorial? Your observations are precious. Putting out a newspaper is a collective endeavour and everyone’s voice needs to be heard. The text begins like this:

At Decembers decline

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L’Etoile December 7, 1944

Toys of All Kinds

Fun for the little ones                      Soft stuffed animals

brightly-painted rocking horse.         Teddy bears, small and large, calico       

$1.98                                                 dogs and cats. For little children

                                                          and for big sisters collection.

                                                          $1.69 and more

BOARD, Practical….

amusing and useful for school homework         $1.39

CONSTRUCTION BLOCKS                                      Jeeps……..$1.89

well-sanded, hard maple,                                           Other toys with wheels,

many possible designs….. $1.98 and more.              trucks, trailers, etc.

A.E OHeir Co.

Hurd Street Just around the corner from Central Street

117 Central Street.                                               Opposite the Strand Theatre

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L’Etoile December 8, 1944

High School skating party

     Here is the organization committee of the grand skating party held at the Rex last Tuesday evening, the most successful up to now, under the auspices of Saint Josephs High School. We saw the largest crowd on roller skates in the city under the direction of the following committee. First row from left to right, Miss Laura Bernard, Miss Thérèse Bouvier, Miss Cécile Biron, secretary; Miss Alice Mogé, vice-president. Second row, Miss Doris Albert, Miss Louise Dupont, president, Reverend Father Paul-Emile Marquis, o.m.i. (1), Miss Anne Mercer and Miss Claire Sawyer, treasurer.

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L’Etoile December 8, 1944

Jeanne-Mance Christmas Party (2)

_________

Madame Raymond Barrette, directress of the December 14th party.

     Mrs. Raymond Barrette will be directress of the Cercle Jeanne-Mance annual Christmas party to be held on December 14th at 7:30 p.m. at the Catholic Ladies halls. Mrs. Barrette will be assisted by Mrs. Albina Skalkeas, Mrs. Josephine Pinard and Mrs. Wilfred Achin for the general preparations and by program directress Mrs. Armand Plon.

     Aspiring members, whose induction will take place in January, will be the guests of honor at this event. New members include Mrs. Bertha Girard, Mrs. Rose A. Martin, Miss Lucille Labrie. Mrs. Franck Martin, Mrs. Antoinette Dupuis, Mrs. Wilde Chaput, Mrs. Dora Dubois, Miss Marguerite Lyons, Miss Mary Lyons, Miss Thérèse Thibaudeau, Miss Violette Dubois, Miss Jeanne Stoney, Miss Pauline Laflamme, Miss Gertrude Jussaume.

     In view of the distribution of gifts by the Cercles Father Christmas, each member will have to bring a twenty-five cent gift. A buffet of snacks will close the soirée.

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L’Etoile December 22, 1944

A Christmas Party at Saint Jeanne dArc

     The Saint Jeanne dArc Guard had its Christmas party on Tuesday evening in the parish hall on Fourth Avenue under the direction of Miss Jalibert, of teacher M. Letendre and of Reverend Father Alphonse Houde, o.m.i., chaplain. Numerous parents and friends were present with their children to whom Father Christmas (Miss Irène Tallard) distributed gifts. There was also a show on stage, snacks and a film projection. We can see, from left to right, Jackie Lemaître, Esther Carrigan, Judith Bourgeois, Mrs. Gagnon, Lorraine Béland, Father Christmas (Miss Irène Tallard), Thérèse Tellier, sitting on Father Christmass lap, Pauline Elie, Constance Chandonnet, Rita Sawyer, Rosemary Labrecque and Pauline Leblanc.                                           

Photo    Charles Landry

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L’Etoile December 22, 1944

May happiness be at your Christmas table and bring you peace and prosperity during the year to come!

Jeanne dArc Credit Union

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L’Etoile December 22, 1944

NOËL

     At Decembers decline, as the lengthening days begin to bring us, in slow steps, towards the months of light, the sweet feast of Christmas sings to our souls the rebirth of a God on earth.

     This solemnity is one of the oldest to be celebrated in the entire universe. Nineteen centuries have passed since the Great Night when the God made Man was born and the memory lives in the hearts of all Christians as the greatest event on earth and in heaven. Nineteen centuries have passed and humanity still hears the voice of the angels announcing that its Savior is born.

     Noël! It is the great religious feast, it is the coming of the promised Savior. This historical fact, old and ever new, fills the Christian world with joyful gladness and supreme peace. All believing peoples of the earth gather in crowds at the cradle of the God-Child they adore with the utmost respect. This glad tiding,divine in origin, applies to all times and is addressed to all men and women of good will. Its power on hearts is as sweet, as bountiful and as admirable as it was when it first illuminated the world with its marvellous light of celestial hope.

     Noël creates an atmosphere of goodness which cannot accommodate to the social animosity which divides individuals, families, peoples and nations. Countries, not more than men and women, will not find happiness in wars, struggles and dissension between different classes, in other words, in the upheaval of everything that Christ preached and which is summarized by Love one another.Was not this teaching the confirmation of what the voices repeated on the mysterious night of Christmas while proclaiming the glory of God: Peace on earth to men and women of good will.

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L’Etoile December 22, 1944

To all of its subscribers, readers, announcers, correspondents and friends

LETOILE

wishes another Joyous Christmas of hope.

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  1. Oblate of Mary Immaculate.
  2. The Cercle Jeanne-Mance woman’s club, founded in 1931, held its 2023 Christmas party in December at Chelmsford’s Princeton Station restaurant.

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