BANDET FAMILY - - - PIONEERS
Composed par Sœur Henriette Bandet, Fille de la Providence.
Joseph Auguste Bandet, son of Jacques Bandet and Marie Mollard, left France in 1905 to come to Canada. He left in his home land three sisters: Rosalie, housekeeper of Father Ray; Caroline-Marie wife of Sylvain Mazura, had a son: Émile; Victoire-Marie (Julien Grivaux) had two childdren: Adolphe and Eugénie; and two brothers: Henri, Mariste brother in New Calédonia and Félix-Marie (Augustine Réverdy) had several children.
Joseph Auguste Bandet born Nov. 21, 1851 had married a cousin, Célestine Bandet (born Nov. 19, 1861) in 1882.
They were living at La Ruchère, Entre-deux-Guiers, Department of Isère,
in Dauphiné, France near Grenoble in the Alps.
They had eight children, four boys and four girls:
Joseph Auguste`s wife died two weeks after the birth of Simplice. So he put the baby in the care of a nurse for 1 or 2 years. After Simplice was back at home, he would often run back to his nurse`s place, as he missed her so much for she was a real mother to him.
Auguste was a farmer and also a cooper. He had cows which would help cultivate his small piece of land and furnish the family with milk.
Things went bad in France. The government had driven out teaching brothers and sisters, and forbidden the teaching of religion in schools. In protest, Auguste Bandet kept his children at home; but the government made school obligatory. It was at that time that the paper "La Croix" announced that they could immigrate to Canada, where there was freedom of teaching; and Canada was so big, while in the hamlet where he lived there were sixty families and there was place only for twelve. He also considered going to Argentina or Brazil but finally chose Canada. He wanted his yougest children as well as his children's children to have religious education at school! Later, in seeing all the hardships they were encountering, J. Auguste never expressed any regret regarding this important decision he had made.
Therefore, on May 1st, 1905, the Bandet family: J. Auguste, his sons: Henri and Simplice, his daughters: Victorine, Caroline and Clémentine took the boat at the Havre. Germaine had married Joseph Marius Mollard, so she stayed in France. It must have been heart-breaking to leave the eldest behind! What courage! What faith! (Later in the year they got the news that Germaine had died of T.B.) A few months before leaving France, Henri and Clémentine were confirmed at Saint-Laurent-du-Pont, France.
The Bandet family crossed over to England and there embarked on the `"Kensington". It was full of immigrants of all nationalities. They were in the Third Class and soon met another French family "Beaudet". This family had two young children, Clémentine and Henri about the age of Clémentine and Simplice Bandet, so they played together on the boat. Delayed for three days at a certain time because of an epidemic in the Second Class, at the end of the journey they lacked food. There was no more bread for the third class. But while exploring the children could see the servants with pails of remnants from First and Second Class dining rooms, and there was bread being thrown away as garbage! On the ocean the trip lasted 16 days in all. The ship landed at Quebec and immigrants going westward took the train. At Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Bandet family stopped for three days, then they were directed to go to "Howell" Saskatchewan. The Beaudet family were going to Kinistino, Sask.
On the morning of May 28, 1905, the Bandet family finally arrived at Howell and stepping down the train all they could see was the prairie with one store being built near by. Father J.B.C. Bourdel, who had arrived the previous year, came running down the hill to meet the newcomers, thinking Miss Hélène Dejoie was arriving, for she was to arrive very soon. So M.A.Bandet was welcomed by the missionary with his whole family as new parishioners. Father Bourdel took them to the only building which could give shelter for a few days. It was the first convent under construction on the top of the hill. They were to live there for a whole week. The Daughters of Providence (Les Filles de la Providence) were to arrive later that summer. Because there was no furniture at all, they made fire outside to cook their meals and slept rolled in the blankets brought from France. Clémentine still living in St. Front, Sask., remembers so well how they enjoyed the good warm soup and food after being so long on the train eating whatever they could buy when the train stopped. They had been a whole week on the train!
The day following their arrival, Auguste Bandet asked Mr. Xavier de Lagassé to take him in his buggy to Saskatoon in order to file a homested for himself and his son Henri Joseph. The two homestead he got were 5 miles southwest of Howell. His was SW 1/4 Section 28, Township 38, Range 28 W 2nd Meridian granted Oct. 11, 1909. Henri Joseph got SW 1/4 Section 36, Township 38, Range 1 W 3rd Meridian, granted Feb. 1, 1910.
In those days, one had to pay $10.00 for each homestead, break 5 acres each year for 3 years, build a shack and live there six months each year and the homestead was his at the end of the third year.
J. Auguste had brought his tools as a cooper, and the whole family had brought most of their belongings. In France, men wore dark colored aprons made of linen to work as now-a-days butchers and bakers wear white ones to protect their clothes. This amused the neighbors.
Their first neighbors were the family of Mr. & Mrs. Adélard Marcotte. Their son Ernest was the same age as Simplice bandet.)
On arriving, settlers could have a tent for $10.00 until their house was built and then they could return it and be refunded; but there was not a single tent left when J. Auguste Bandet i nquired. They therefore made tents with the strong linen sheets they had brought with them and these served as a shelter while their first house was being built. Thank God it was summer.
They got a plough and a team of oxen and hurried to break 5 acres of land that summer to be able to seed the next spring. Later when they had purchased a horse, they tried to put an ox and a horse to pull the plough but these did not go very well together. The training of these animals was hard! Once, Henri was kicked by a horse and thrown unconscious. When he woke up, he was wondering what he had in his mouth and spitting it out, saw they were his front top teeth!
Many years later he had trouble with his gums because the roots of those teeth were still not removed. Then, at the first World War, he was rejected by the Canadian Army because of the poor condition of his gums. When France called him, he did not answer because discussing this with his father, Henri was told: "A country that persecutes and throws away its priests, brothers and sisters does not deserve one to fight or die for it!"
When school opened in January 1906, Clémentine and Simplice attended. They were the first boarders in the newly built convent with Maria, Albert and Jérome Tombu. After six months they travelled to school with horse and buggy. Their school teacher was Sister Saint-Victor. The school first opened in the convent but the government had a little school quickly built about half way between the convent and the railway tracks, west of the present big building which was the second convent built in 1920. Clémentine remembers that when she was a boarder she went to the little school early in the morning to make the fire and bring some drinking water for the day. She was a great helper to the Sisters!
Victorine, Caroline and even Clémentine, as soon as she was old enough, went out working to help with family expenses. Caroine worked in the hotel at Osler, thereafter marrying Moïse Marcotte in 1907. Victorine worked for Father Bourdel and it was there that she met François Hounjet who was also Father`s hired man for his farm. She married François in 1909. Clémentine, after a few years of schooling did the laundry for Miss H. Dejoie, Mrs Joseph Lévesque and Mrs. Charles Masson. She then married Florian Montès in 1914.
The Bandet family never missed Mass on Sundays. They would walk five miles across the fields, winter or summer in order to fulfill their Sunday obligations until they could purchase a horse and buggy or a sleigh for the winter.
At the home of J. Auguste Bandet, the evening prayer lasted half an hour, even if the children were allowed to retire half-way through. Mr. Bandet would stand his arms outstretched in the form of a cross while the others were all kneeling. Visitors, relatives, everyone present would join the family. The rosary would follow the night prayer. Mr. Bandet always wore his rosary around his neck. During lent something was added to these devotions. It was the Way of the Cross which meant that an hour was spent in prayer, always kneeling. J. Auguste would pray so much for the poor france! "La Pauvre France!" He knew that the First KWorld War was coming! He had made the sacrifice of leaving his dear country and he even had signed the papers to become a Canadian Citizen, as well as his children, when he had taken his homestead.
J. Auguste often wept because he did not have many trees on his land. He had certainly hoped to continue his trade as cooper, making barrels and buckets. He liked doing the work he knew so well. It reminded him of his home land. The future proved, however, that he had the best piece of land of the area.
The first house in which they lived was more like a granary: two storey not insulated with only one row of boards! They were very cold during the first winter: hoar frost appeared on the walls and ceiling. In the worst colds, everything cracked and hoar frost fell on the faces of those sleeping, waking them up (remembers Clémentine). The next year, a second row of boards was added and the space between filled with sod.
One day in the spring of 1915, while Henri and Simplice were seeding, with their brother-in-law, Florian Montès, they saw smoke coming from the roof of the house. Quickly unhitching one horse, Simplice jumped on it, (That horse was "Birdie" and no one had ever sat on it! How did Simplice ever get on its back and reach the house? this is God's secret!) and hurried home, fearing their father may be in the fire. J. Auguste was preparing the meal and had overheated the stove. Henri and Florian followed as quickly as they could with the other horses and the three men saved just about everything. Everything, that is, except some of Clémentine`s books and her winter cap stored in a cupboard were forgotten in the rush. They had been throwing things from the top storey window. Simplice, now 19 years old even carried 100 poud bags of flour on each arm, and Henri saved his Sunday Missal which was on the window sill. When all was finished, they were so tired they shook all over and were unable to eat for a while. It was indeed a tragedy, but their father was safe!
This is how the shop "La Forge", made of rock and clay walls two feet thick, was converted into their dwelling. It had a top storey, which became Auguste Bandet's bedroom. Close by was the barn also made partly of rock and clay, but also logs, with a sod roofing. This barn was low, long and narrow.
By and by Mr. A. Bandethad purchased cattle, sheep, and chicken. In 1917-18 he had 35 heads of cattle and 3 or 4 sheep. There were no fences so the cattle had to be watched and kept away from the wheat fields or the neighbours' crops. J.Auguste had a bay mare named "Ida" which he used to go after the cows. He actually watched them from the window and got on his mare to bring them back to the right pasture if they strayed. At times he even had to leave his company - Father Bourdel or others - to go after the cows!
One hot, very hot summer day in July, some neighbors passing by Mr. A. bandet's land stopped in the shade of some trees to rest as well as their horses. They saw at a distance A. Bandet in that heat, working at removing rocks on his land before plowing. He was really a hard working man! With a flask of wine and a piece of bread and cheese he would go in the field and work all morning or all afternoon without a break.
For some years he cut his crop with a scythe and did his threshing by hand with a flail as he used to do in france. Later he got a mower. When Simplice was 12 years old he worked as straw boy on a steam engine crew during harvesting. Henri mortgaged his homestead on the purchase of a threshing machine. The crop failed and he lost his land. He could not pay! The small house of rock and clay built on it was still there when in the 40's, M. Philippe Rivard purchased the land from Mr. Caillé and bulldozed the shack.
During the winter 1915 Simplice was invited to the first Mechanic`s course given by the International Harvester Company in Saskatoon. Simplice did very well and received lots of compliments for his ability with farm machinery. Then in 1916 Auguste Bandet bought his first threshing machine "22-30 Case" with a steam engine. Both had to be pulled by four horses. Later Simplice got a tractor "Titan".
After the fire, Auguste Bandet and his sons hurried to complete the house they had started building on top of the hill. Of rock and clay, walls two feet thick, spaces were kept within the walls for cupboards. When Simplice met Emma Lévesque and talked of marrying her, Auguste decided to build an addition with a top storey, but in wood. They married in April (2nd) 1918. The first part of the house, made of rock and clay, always remained as the kitchen until its demolition in 1972.
1918 was the year of a bumper crop. The Bandet threshing crew threshed thirty five days minus a quarter of a day! They worked on eight different farms: Adélard Marcotte, George Lévesque, Ernest Marcotte, M. Liogier, Mr. Payne, Mr. Semchyshen, Mr. Toth and at home. They had five teams of horses to bring the sheaves to the threshing machine.
According to Albert Lévesque, Henri Joseph Bandet was a no. 1 mechanic. He had purchased a miner's lantern, wore it on his forehead and would repair the machinery after the day's work, unto even most of the night sometimes, tightening bolts, oiling, etc... being sure it was ready to work the next morning! The crew got up at 4 a.m. and fed the horses. Then they had their breakfast and the threshing machine would start at 6 o'clock sharp. At noon everybody would go to the house for dinner, then back to work. At 4 p.m. someone would bring a hearty lunch to the crew in the field. The men that were there ate first, and sometimes the last went hungry. Again an eye witness said that Henri and Simplice would always wait till everyone had eaten and often they fasted. Back to work until 9 p.m. and often it was midnight when everyone retired: all enjoyed so many stories and jokes around the table.
They sometimes needed half a day just to move the whole outfit, depending on the distance between the farms.
Father Bourdel had given the threshing crew the permission to go to Sunday Mass in overalls. Sunday was a resting day. The men were so tired they would sleep most of the afternoon!
Where did the threshing crew sleep during harvesting? Most of the time, they slept all dressed up in the hay, in the barns or granaries, depending where they were.
1919 was a bad year: no crop! in spite of this Simplice bought his first car, a second-hand one. It was a Model T Ford. On muddy roads he drove backwards up the hill.
Henri Joseph Bandet purchased a new piece of land: SW 1/4 section 32, Township 38, range 28 w 2nd Meridian and built himself a small one room house. On April 22nd, 1919 he married Marie-Hortense-Irène Gilliard (surnamed Jeanne) born Jan. 9, 1903. Their first child, Henriette was born April 11th, 1920.
Around June 1920, Mr. J. Auguste Bandet was sick but did not care to go
to the doctor in Vonda. However, upon hearing that his grand daughter,
Henriette was sick, he suddenly changed his mind and went with her to see
the doctor. His heart was worn out, and nothing much could be done for
him. In July of that same year, one evening J. Auguste was sitting outside
after supper. Simplice and his wife were with him, and together they were
admiring the beauty of the surroundings when suddenly he passed away, at
68 years and 10 months old. The funeral Mass was celebrated by Father
J.B.Bourdel. Henri Marcotte carried the cross, riding Mr.Bandet's mare
"Ida" at the head of the funeral procession to the graveyard north of
From 1923 on Henri J. Bandet was a laborer, but a special kind because he could fix up just about anything. He was at the service of the church, repairing, and making the collection at Sunday Mass. He heated the church in winter time for Sunday worship or for funerals and weddings and he also heated the parish hall whenever necessary. In those days houses were heated with wood and coal. It meant shovelling coal. Soon the Sisters asked him to take the responsibility of their heating system. This meant breaking big pieces of coal and plenty of shovelling. Around 1930 there was an improvement when the one furnace was transformed into a "Stoker" which took small pieces of coal fed slowly from a funnel. Henri soon enlarged the funnel with boards which he could take down for filling and put up again. Of course he had a ramp up which he could drive the wheelbarrow full of the powdered coal. Still on very cold winter nights it meant getting up at 2 o'clock in the morning to refill and keep the fires burning. So after filling the funnel, Henri took the habit of sleeping on a wooden bench close to the furnace. One morning at 5 o'clock, Henriette was sent by her mother to get her father and not finding him, was returning home, when good Sister Anna noticing the child showed her where her father was sleeping. In the worst part of winter he would shovel three tons of coal a day at the convent alone. Coal was piled outside, at a safe distance from the convent. Once at least, internal combustion did break out about 1940, and these piles had to be spread out to stop the fire. This also meant shovelling the coal twice.
Soon some of Henri's children went to the convent to meet him around 5.30 p.m. and come back home with him for supper. While waiting, they played and ran in the big hallways of the basement. Weren't the sisters kind and patient to accept this? No wonder these children have kept such fond memories of those days, and two have joined the Order! (The Sisters even treated these children with cookies or candies at the proper seasons1)
Henri J. Bandet was also hired by his brother Simplice to repair the machinery and also to help in building all kinds of needed buildings on his farm. Nothing needing fixing was beyond his capacity: he always figured something, whether it was a door, a window, a tap, plumbing, radiaters, cupboards, motors, pumps, furnaces, stoves, electric appliances, clocks, watches, etc... he welded, glued, sandpapered, replaced parts... he even repaired spectacles and shoes! Where did he get all his knowledge? "Just by reading" he once told his daughter who inquired. he read lots, on all subjects. And he was not what you would call a fast worker: he studied carefully what the problem was before attacking it. He was thorough, and did minute adjutments. He never got tired of learning through reading. Yet who remembers seeing him read on weekdays, except in evenings after work? He read something once and knew it. Never anyone did see him consult a book while working. When he could not get a book in French, he used his French-English dictionary... and showed his children how to use it. Being fifteen years old when he came to Canada, he never went back to school here; but was hungry for knowledge. He understood the written English, but had difficuty with the spoken English.
Henri and his brother did not only speak French but they also spoke " patois ", a kind of dialect they had learned when very young. They used it whenever they did not want their children to understand their conversation, and also when phoning each other and felt some neighbor was listening on party lines.
Mrs Henri J. Bandet was also a very talented woman. As the eldest of the Émile Gilliard family, living on a farm, she learned very young how to cook and do all kinds of things. At nine years she started baking bread. She went to Buffer's Lake school for three years so she could read, write, and do some arithmetic. She helped all her children (except the last who was 20 months old, when she died Nov. 28th, 1949) to learn their catechism, and study their lessons each day and do their homework. Henri also helped his oldest children do their homework when his wife had trouble or had too much to do. It did not take long that the oldest helped the younger when necessary. Even if they were poor, the children always had what they needed for their studies. It was understood that no one would leave school without completing their grade twelve.
The clothing was all home made. Mrs. H. bandet was a good seamstress and she knitted all the sweaters, mitts and stockings. Henri had purchased a knitting machine and all cotton and woollen stockings were made with that machine. It was a real blessing because to buy everything all made would have been too hard on the family's low income.
Father Bourdel always encouraged family prayer. He also told young parents to pray that the Lord would develop the intelligence of their children. Morning and night everyone would kneel, but at Henri's home the prayer was not as long as at his father's, but he would never miss it. When the children were old enough the mother asked them if they would like her to wake them up for daily mass. One after another accepted joyfully and made it a habit. However the mass did not take the place of the family morning prayer. On arriving home after mass, all would kneel for the prayer before breakfast. It was not hard to get up in the morning because all went to bed at 9 pm at the latest.
Sunday was the Lord's day and a family day. Mass in the morning, Vespers followed by the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament in the afternoon or in the evening. Parents and children all went, even the baby who in doing so learned very early the road to church and also learned to respect the prayers of others by staying very quiet. The rest of the day was spent in playing games, and reading books especially in winter. In summer, when the children were small, Henri would give each one in turn bicycle rides, then when they were bigger they would play ball, hopscotch, tag or hide and seek, with their neighbors. Here again what beautiful souvenirs recall the names of Edna, Laura, Rose and Rita Painchaud. There are also the Cadorettes, the St. Pierres, the "Three" Lepages, the Henriets and Poilièvres...
With the land he had bought in the village, Henri had a well and in the thirties, the well would sometimes give only six pails of drinking water a day and some people in the villaage would come and get some because they had none. Besides, when he became the caretaker of the school Mr. H. J. Bandet had to bring drinking water to the school for the pupils.
In 1929 the family purchased a cow which provided milk and butter for the family. During holidays, each in turn, the oldest children had the responsibility to watch the cow grazing along the road sides going north towards the graveyard especially. While watching, they would read story books borrowed from the library at the rectory. One school day in summer, Henriette saw by the classroom window that the cow ahd gone away by the gate and her mother could not run after it. She asked her teacher: Sr. Marie Claire to run after the cow and she got the permission. The cow had gone half a mile north, so Henriette ran and got the cow to turn around and drove it back home. Wasn't that a beautiful, charitable thing on the part of the teacher to grant her permission to leave the school for a cow?
There was no fridge at the time. How did they keep the milk? They would keep it in the well which was cool. The covered pail of milk was lowered and kept int the well by means of a rope.
Mrs. H. Bandet was also very good at gardening. The garden provided potatoes and vegetables. In the thirties when the children were old enough, they would weed the garden and pick up vegetables needed for each meal. On Saturdays they would pick up the potatoes necessary for the Sunday, These were all washed and peeled ahead of time and kept in water for the next day.
Especially in the thirties, money was rare, because labor was rare and poorly payed. Henri Bandet worked often for .15 or .25 cents an hour, and was grateful to have work. The family needed flour, sugar, salt, etc. and had to go to the store and Mr. Bandet did his very best to pay his bills at the end of each month when he would receive his salary. But came a time when he was unable to meet both ends. His debt grew bigger and bigger at the store of Mr. Aimé Masson. Henri J. Bandet's family owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr. A. Masson because when he sold his store and left Prud'homme, Henri was unable to pay what he owed, so Mr. Masson remitted everything. One day the Lord will say to Aimé? "I was hungry and you fed me!"
During the DEPRESSION the tramps would often ask for a meal. Mrs H. Bandet would never refuse.
It was not rare during the dry years to see the wheat 6 or 7 inches high and absolutely dry and empty, not even something for seeding the next spring. A dozen eggs and a pound of butter had to last a whole week for a family of eight even if it only cost .10 cents each.
In autumn when he had no work, Henri Bandet would go on bicycle with his ax and a lunch for a few miles on some farmer's land, with that farmer's permission, and cut the dry trees all day and pile the wood ready to be picked up later by some good friend who had a wagon and horses, and brought home to heat the house during the winter months.
As was said earlier Henri was caretaker of the school for quite a few years. His oldest girls would sweep the floors and dust the furniture and he would do the hard work. Sometimes the cleaning was not very well done by children 10, 11 or 12 years old. The Sisters again were so patient and kind and comprehensive of the situation.
On Halloween nights some young boys had taken the habit of tipping over the outside toilets. There was no running water in those days. Every yeaar those toilets in the school yard were tipped over on the side and Henri Bandet had to work at getting them up in place again. So, one year, tired of this, he got the news going that he would hide in one of those toilets with his revolver, on Halloween night. Next morning, no one had touched the toilets, and Mr. H. Bandet had been very quiet at home, in bed.
In 1930, under the Provincial Conservative Government, came an order from Regina, commanding the Sisters to remove their Religious Habit, and all the Crucifixes from the schools. On the first day of school in September that year, Henriette went and in entering the class she was stunned. She then blurted "Good Morning" to the strange teacher, not knowing who she was, and took a seat. It was only after a while, after hearing the teacher's voice that she realised it was Sr. Marie Claire with a different garb. Such impressions cannot be forgotten. And the Crucifixes? One Sunday, after Mass all the parishioners attending, went in procession to the school, siging hymns of reparation to Our Lord, to remove the Crucifixes from each classroom and carry them to the church. It was a very sad event and many persons had tears and did not hide them. These crucifixes were placed on the side walls in the church and each time one made the Way of the Cross, they could be seen and venerated. As a reation to this unjust action of the government the pupils started wearing crucifixes around their neck. So instead of having one crucifix on the wall, there were 25, 30 or more in the classroom depending on the number of pupils wearing them. The result was that the Faith of parents and children grew stronger. Needless to say that the government was well defeated in the following elections.
During the depression the teenagers of the village would gather in the church yard to play ball. In order to encourage them the new parish priest, now the retired Archbishop of St. Boniface, His Execllency Bishop Maurice Baudoux had the trees cut and the ground levelled east and south of the church in order to have a bigger and more convenient place for games especially baseball. He also organized clubs for youths JECF, JAC, Scouts... He also had Gospel study groups and other activities which gave an unbelievable formation to all who took part.
Henri Joseph Bandet used to say that the two things he suffered the most on arriving in Canada were: 1 - the cold - they never thought it could be so cold. He really never did get used to it - that is why he would adjust windows and doors so well to prevent the cold from entering. 2- the lack of bread: nobody told them they needed flour for the winter months to bake their own bread. They had the money to buy bread, but nobody had bread for sale. They could have meat easily by hunting, but they were not used to eat meat daily. But Bread! They really missed it.
Simplice Bandet, aged 22, married Emma Lévesque aged 23, April 2nd, 1918. Their children were all born on the farm:
Mr. and mrs Simplice Bandet after their wedding made their home in the house of rock and clay built on the hill. It was a one room house. The kitchen and dining table were at one end and the bed, surrounded by a curtain, at the other end of the room. Mr. Auguste Bandet did not want to live with the newly wed couple at first, he had his bedroom upstairs in the shop. He did accept though to have his meals with them.
Later in 1918, came the influenza called the "Spanish flue", "La grippe espagnole". Mrs Simplice Bandet got it very bad and on account of it lost her first child: Adrien who was born prematurely, in December. Both spouses, in faith, accepted the Will of God courageously.
As was said earlier, an addition to the house was built (of wood) as soon as they could, with a top storey by Simplice and his brother.
Mr. Simplice Bandet, like his father and brother Henri was a very good laborer, carpenter, mechanic, etc... He succeeded in everything. But since he had inherited his father's land and was very busy with all the work it gave, he always asked his brother Henri to help him in the reparation or construction of buildings and in the reparation of machineries. Simplice continued having cattle, sheep, pigs, and chicken. He also by and by got more horses to cultivate his land and for threshing.
As his children grew old enough, Simplice would initiate and inerest them to the animals and the work on the farm. Irène, the oldest was 3 years old and Louis was 1 1/2 when they learned how to ride the Grand Father's old mare "Ida".
Near the machineries or near the animals, one could expect some anecdotes more or less interesting. Who did not have any on the farm? During threshing 1922 or 23, Simplice found his daughter Irène sleeping under the exhaust pipe of the Titan. Was she dead? poisoned? He put her quickly in a rack and rushed to the house, all the while trying to revive her. The nice fresh air certainly helped. Irène remembers her mother and father trying to make her eat chocolate (which she liked so much) and finding it had such an awful taste.
Simplice was very keen with his horses. These even seemed to understand their master. Irène followed her father just about everywhere and learned so well by observing, that at 5 years she could hitch a horse quite well to the stoneboat. At that time Irène and Louis, both went to get the cows riding on the old "Ida".
At 6 years, Irène started school and she would make 3 1/2 miles on horse back. Her first school teacher was Mr. A. DeMargerie, at the little country school called Knapton. When came the time to prepare for her first communion, Irène was taken to the convent by her parents. The child was so lonesome. She had never been away from home and from the farm she loved so much. So she would look towards the south, knowing that her home was in that direction.
When Louis was old enough to go to school, him and Irène had a two wheel cart driven by the old mare "Ida". They would drive across the land of Mr. Jean Baptiste Blain to get to school and neightbors and cousins would hitch a ride especially in winter when it was so very cold.
As was said earlier Mr. and Mrs. Adélard Marcotte were the closest neighbors to the Bandet family. It did not take long for Irène to know the way and to go to visit these good neighbors. Mrs. Marcotte always treated children with candies, raisins, cookies, etc. It did happen once in a while that she went, (Irène) without permission and so her father would give her a little punishment to get the child to understand and remember what she had to do.
At the home of Mr. and Mrs S. Bandet the family prayer was said every night before bed time, but would last about 10 to 15 minutes.
Sunday was the Lord's Day. good or bad weather the family never missed the Sunday Mass. And if because of sickness the mother stayed home with a sick child, Simplice once said that he had never, not even once, missed his Sunday Mass since his arrival in Canada. At another occasion he also said: "I never worked on Sunday and I always had something to eat." He was great reader during his spare moments, in the evernings, on Sundays and especially during the winter months. He also encouraged his children to read as a source of information and knowledge.
Mrs Simplice Bandet was an extraordinary woman. Such a good housekeeper she was. She would cook, wash, iron, mend, and besides there was the garden, the chickens, and there were also the cows to milk. She was always smiling. Always peaceful and calm. Her souce of strength was in her prayer life, she was always asking God to come to her help. As they grew up her children would help as much as they could. They would go and get the vegetables in the garden, pick up the eggs in the chicken coop, and very soon they started miling the cows and feed the animals.
There was also the wood to bring in for the kitchen stove and for the furnace in winter, but very soon the boys helped in cutting the wood and piling it near the house.
Mr. Simplice Bandet was a great singer. He had such a beautiful voice. So Father Bourdel asked him to join the church choir. Simplice often thought of leaving the choir, beause he had so much work with a young family and a farm. When there was a choir practise his wife and children had to wait patiently for him in order to go home. There were sacrifices on all sides, but Simplice remained faithful to the singing of God's praises especially in his heart but also with his beautiful voice. He never smoked, so that must be one of the reasons why his voice remained so beautiful up to the end.
Both, Mr. and Mrs S. Bandet were charitable to all. They always co-operated with the parish priest and all religious organizations. Simplice never accepted anyone present to criticise the clergy and the the religious. he really was an example to all who met him.
For the Faith and courage of our Pioneers: Mr. J. Auguste Bandet and his children, thank you Lord. For their numerous descendants, that they may follow the examples of Faith and Generosity of their Ancestors, we pray to you Lord.
Hourrah for our Great Pioneers.Back to top
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