La Reine de Juin

Today, on this first day of summer, is the anniversary of my mother’s birthday. She would have been eighty-two. Ten years ago she died, just before her seventy-second birthday. Too soon, too soon.

But the picture below was taken when she was still young and was just beginning her adult life. (I’ve posted this picture before on her birthday, but I like it so much I decided to post it again.) If my memory is correct, I think this was her graduation picture. Such a fancy dress to wear under the graduation gown. She might have worn this same dress to her prom, but my memory is sketchy about this.

Anyway, here is a little food for thought. Her grandmother—my great-grandmother—never went to school at all. Her mother—my grandmother—only went as far as eighth grade. My mother graduated from high school. In three generations, you can see that progress has indeed been made. (An important thought to hold close during this time when we seem to be taking too many steps back.)

At any rate, happy birthday Rochelle June Dansereau. Surely the first day of summer is one of the loveliest days to have a birthday.

42 thoughts on “La Reine de Juin”

    1. Many thanks! My family is of French Canadian descent on both sides. In fact, French was my mother’s first language. Very common in Maine for her generation.

      1. A little on my mother’s said. We learned that our ancestors came from Normandy to Canada in the 1700s. Cool that you, too, have French ancestry in your family. Do you know what part of France?

  1. Beautiful lady! My husband ‘s first language was French, also! His parents came to Lewiston from Quebec

    1. Thanks, Gayle. Interesting about your husband. A relatively recent arrival.

  2. Adorable photo–she looks very engaging. Good for her for graduating–that is a significant progression indeed over the three generations.

    1. Thanks, Donnalee. With all that is happening, it’s easy to lose sight of the progress that has been made.

  3. Oh, such a lovely tribute and just a wonderful post. I bet that fancy dress was her mother’s and grandmother’s celebration of just that progress you describe. I’m sure they were beyond proud of her and wanted her graduation to be amazing.

    1. Thanks, Judy! Very different today, although my girls wore a pretty dress under their gowns. Just not as fancy as what you and my mother wore.

    2. Some Catholic schools are still doing it–my niece graduated two years ago and they all wore white, long, over-the-top dresses! But no graduation robes at all–I thought that was odd.

    1. I’m sure she was proud of that dress, especially as she and her mother didn’t have much money and had to scrimp for luxuries.

  4. So very beautiful…dress and smile! A wonderful sharing! Like your family history my parents were the first to complete high school and they made the big jump to finish college also.

    1. Thanks, Betsy. So glad your parents made the big jump to college. My mother never did, but my father did get a two-year degree.

  5. Lovely photo of your mother…….I never knew that French (the people and the language) have been such a part of Maine’s history. Family history is very interesting…often wished I’d asked more questions.

    1. The French are a big part of Maine’s history. At one time, as many as 30 percent of the population spoke French. Unfortunately, it is also a story of discrimination and hardship. The way of the world, I’m afraid.

  6. A lot of my students were first generation in their families to go to college–they would tell me stories about the pride their parents and grandparents felt. The progress is real! And your mom was lovely.

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