Interview with Mr. Daniel Danis: Gabrielle Desgagné.
SHAC Collection, Cité historia Fonds, Living Memory Project.
On the upper floor of the cider mill house, Cité historia’s Gabrielle Desgagné (GD) is speaking with Mr. Daniel Danis (DD). This interview was conducted on September 8, 2014. Mr. Danis was born in this house in 1928, where he spent the first years of his life with his parents and 10 siblings. He tells us about his family and life around La Visitation Island during the 1930s. His family later moved to a house on Hamelin Street, near the new village school.
GD [still off-screen] You were telling me you lived in this house with your whole family…
DD [centre screen] Yes. I was born here too. This was my birthplace. When we moved away, I must have been 10 or 12.
That’s the whole family. 11 children, my father and mother. I can name them all if you’d like. There’s Gilbert, Aimé, Marcel, Raymond, my father, Joseph, Laurent, Daniel and… Noël. That’s my sister Thérèse, my sister Cécile, my mother, and my sister Colette.
3 sisters and 7 brothers. We were 13 in the house. Lots of mouths to feed.
GD What year was this, what decade? The ’30s? ’40s?
DD Well, I was born in ’28. Um… How long we had been living there? That I couldn’t say. At least 10 years.
When we moved, I didn’t realize it, but I knew I had lost something there. We had gotten used to the neighbourhood.
[Mr. Danis talks about the hew house on Hamelin Street] The house we moved into wasn’t new, but it felt new to us. That’s where I spent the rest of my childhood, on Hamelin Street.
The house we were in, there was a pond just opposite of it. It was maybe a hundred feet by five, and there was a basin. We wouldn’t go swimming in it because the water was pretty murky.
But we would go swimming in the river. And then when Sunday came, we would go, us too…
We were three or four brothers, and we would go together to the river, because the water was only 4 inches deep. And we would find money at the bottom of the river. Sometimes we’d find upward of 50 cents.
50 cents was a lot of money in those days.