This is where I was born, Lr. L’Ardoise, Cape Breton.  Actually, my actual “birth” took place in the hospital in Sydney because that’s where my mother’s family lived, but we were living in our home in Lr. L’Ardoise at the time of this most auspicious event!

To get to Lr. L’Ardoise you enter St. Peter’s after crossing the Causeway and then you hang a right instead of continuing on north towards Sydney.

My father’s family lived in a place called Lr. L’Ardoise; yes very French and my baptismal certificate reflected that French because there is no “p” in the family name.  It reads “Samson”.

My father’s family arrived in Lr. L’Ardoise from Boston, where my father had been born.  My grandmother had arrived in Boston from Ireland and I guess my grandfather, who had taken off from Cape Breton to fish in Boston, became infatuated with her…and they married.  The birth records for my father are actually in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

My grandfather (father’s side) was a fisherman and my childhood memories of him are that he was indeed a “rough and rugged and weather beaten” fisherman.  He worked hard during the months when fishing was in season and the other times, well he and his friends sat around drinking port or stout telling “tall fishing stories,” and occasionally chasing his grandchildren around the property, if we happened to be visiting.

My mother’s family, who lived in Sydney (my recollection is a couple of hours drive from Lr. L’Ardoise), are of Scottish and French descent.  A genealogy search has resulted in the fact that both my mother’s father’s family and my father’s father’s family are related!  Yup, that’s the truth!  Thank goodness my grandmothers were from different countries…or we’d be in a real pickle!

Now that’s a fine mix, don’t you think:  Irish and Scottish and French on both sides!  You can bet it made for some wild times growing up; two parents with very strong personalities.

My mother’s family were considered “well to do” and they owned a “general store” that was operational during the summer season, not far from where my father’s family lived.  If I recall correctly, it was in Rockdale and that’s how they met…on a hot summer afternoon when my mother was “minding the store” for her parents and my dad walked in to buy a coke or something (maybe it was cigarettes…God forbid!).  Guess their eyes met, sparks flew….and well here I am, one of 8 children.

Both of my parents have passed on (mom in 1996 and dad in 2007) and I wish I could have returned home with them to visit Cape Breton while they were still alive. I just never took the time, even though they never returned to live there, they took many trips to visit family and friends.  My father was in the Canadian military and after retiring he and my mother lived in Ottawa to be closer to their children – even though we are spread out across Canada from Whitehorse to New Brunswick.

I’ve finally moved eastward (it is now 2012) but am still not in Cape Breton.  Time will tell, but at least it is more feasible for me to take day or two day trips to visit and do some photography.  I can also search out records in St. Peters and that kind of stuff.

GrandPa’s Paint Shed

Our family was once again returning to Cape Breton Island for the summer.  We were living in Prince Edward Island where my father, who was in the Canadian Air Force, had been stationed since I was about 4 years old. At the time of this trip, I think I was 7 or 8 years old;… Read More

Let’s Help Mom with the Dishes

A little more history about my family, before sharing another story from my childhood in Cape Breton. Born into an Irish Catholic family, my mother gave birth to me in a hospital in Sydney.  She named me “Velma”.  It is not an Irish nor a Scottish name. It is the name of the nurse who… Read More

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