The second day in Neguac, we knocked on the door of the house with the ALLAIN and FORBES signs in the yard. When a lady answered the door, my husband explained that we were probably related. He told her who his grandfather and great-grandfather were. She drew us into the house and we met her husband who was a first cousin to my husband’s father. We finally figured out later that made him his second cousin. They were in their eighties and we embarked on a mixed conversation of French and English.
Jacqueline called her children and sister-in-law to come over to meet the long-lost relatives from the States. One daughter brought over her grandmother’s diaries and another brought family photos. The visit continued as we all trooped over to Chez Raymond for a seafood lunch. Another cousin (second or third?) had been called to meet us there. Bebert was his nickname and he was the keeper of family memories. Over lunch, he recited family stories and connections running back for generations to the first arrival from France in the 1600s.
We drove to several houses after lunch just to photograph the exteriors. Bebert had identified these as Allain homes, including where my husband’s grandfather had lived before emigrating to the States. One house was gone and a pharmacy stood on its location across from the graveyard.
Returning to Levis and Jaqueline’s we met more relatives. Conversation was lively as we all got acquainted and they shared family history with us. By six o’clock, one cousin asked us over to her home to see photos she had and to have pizza. Finally as dusk fell, we tore ourselves away to go set up our camper at the campground. The mosquitoes in Neguac are truly ferocious.
It took us awhile to unwind after such an exhilerating day of meeting so many new relatives. The warm welcome will stay in our memories for a long time.