Wednesday, April 16, 2014
By Juliana L'Heureux
Congratulations to the University of Maine's Franco-American journal "Le Forum" for 40 years of publication.
The recently published fall edition is packed with 51 pages of Franco-American culture, history, genealogy, book reviews, poetry and photographs.
Even dahlia growers have a nice feature to read in "Obsessed with Dahlias" by Ron Sirois, of Holden. This enjoyable article reminded me of my late sister-in-law Paulette L'Heureux LaPointe, of Kennebunk, who was also obsessed with the beauty of dahlias.
"Le Forum" is easily read from cover to cover, because both the English and the French texts focus on stories about ordinary people who support their culture's survival. Many writers are local Maine people who have a fascinating personal story to share.
Featured on the cover of the fall edition are three recently deceased notable Franco-Americans who contributed to their culture. Robert L. Couturier, of Lewiston ME, Jean Moisson of France, and Joel Morneault, of Madawaska, ME all died in 2011.
An article about the 5 branches of the Martin family in the Upper St. John Valley, by George L. Findlen, a Ph.D and certified genealogist, caught my attention. In fact, Martin is a name shared by my mother-in-law, through her mother. In the article, Findlen brings together several French families through the Martin genealogy, including the names Michaud, Ouellette and Levasseur.
World War II history buffs will appreciate the detailed memoir about Lionel Breau of Greenville and his experience with the Blackhawk Infantry Division in the European and Pacific Theaters. The article is written by Betty Doyon Ryder. Breau was formally recognized for his World War II service by the Maine Legislature during the March 2011 Franco-American Day at the State House in Augusta.
Lisa Michaud, managing editor of "Le Forum," says the 51-page online publication is free for those who want to read it as an electronic attachment or on the Internet. A hard copy newspaper version is sold for $6 a copy, or by annual subscription, to those who may not own computers. "We circulate 'Le Forum' to many elderly who do not own computers," she says.
Treffle Jacques Lessard of Waterville writes a moving story, "De Peur Que Nous N'Oublions," a poignant tribute to the Franco-American fallen soldiers of World Wars I and II, especially those who grew up in small Maine towns where people spoke French. Lessard even writes a French version of the classic war poem in tribute to the dead, titled "In Flanders Field" by Canadian Major John McCrae. En francais, elle ecrit, "Dans les Champs de la Flandre."
A French essay about the popular classic novel of Quebec, "Maria Chapedlaine," and its author Louis Hemon, (Part II), is written by Monsieur Harry Rush Jr. of East Millinocket.
Book reviews include a brief commentary about "Evangeline" by Richard F. Mullins. He describes the debacle of the deportations and the Acadian Tragedy of 1755, when the English engaged in the expulsion of over 7,000 French colonial settlers from Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick. Franco-Americans call this tragic episode "le grand derangement" (the expulstion).
An article about Norman Beaupre's newly published "Simplicity in the Life of the Gospels: Spiritual Reflections," describes the book as "soul-stirring."
"Le Forum" has a circulation of 4,500. It's published quarterly by the Centre Franco-American at the University of Maine in Orono. Articles published in "Le Forum" are submitted from many Maine and New England writers.
"Le Forum" also shares a website called Oral History and Franco-American Library at www.francolib.francoamerican.org.