For Cortes Community Radio’s second contribution to Rendez-vous de la Francophonie, we contacted radio/podcast producer Victoria Fenner. This led to “Le Mariage Anglais,” the story of an Anglo-French family which almost forgot its French heritage.
The narrative is also in English. In her description of the program, Victoria wrote:
Essex County, near Windsor is the first area west of Montreal to be colonized by the French.
When Victoria was a child in the 1960s, her family farm was located on Highway 98, the dividing line between French and English Essex County.
Though she knew her Grandmother’s name was Delaurier, the English sides of the family swamped the French sides. She remembers anti-French feeling in the county and the separateness of the two cultures and often wondered why she was never introduced to the kids she say playing in the yards on the other side of the tracks.
“Le Mariage Anglais is a 17th century French song lamenting the marriage of a family’s French daughter to an English king.The title refers to the same phenomena which happened in Victoria’s family — only it was the men who were assimilated by the English culture they married into.
The Delaurier men of the early 20th century married English women and became English themselves except in name.When Victoria delved into her family history to find out about that vague French side, she was surprised to find out that the Delaurier lineage led all the way back to the early days of New France, when two young women who came over on ships as “Les Filles de Roi”, daughters of the king. It was their job to marry the men of New France.Two of those young women were Victoria’s great great great great great grandmeres.
Victoria’s tell us about her journey to discover more about the Francophone part of her family’s history, and explores the cultural attitudes which were partially responsible for the silence around this part of her family’s history.
She also explores her own set of attitudes and beliefs about “those people who lived on the other side of the tracks”.
Joining Victoria in this documentary is life long Ruscomb friend Kimberley Simon; Andre Beneteau, a friend who also grew up in Essex County; and Edward St. Moritz, Victoria’s bilingual husband is also playing the music.
The funding for “Le Mariage Anglais” came from a Rendez-vous de la Francophonie grant to CKTZ.
Listen to Rendez-vous de la Francophonie on CKTZ, 89.5 FM, Wednesdays from 9:30-10:00.