Growing up in Quebec
I was born and lived in Lachute, Quebec until graduating high school, spending school holidays with my cousin John Walker. I watched as many schoolmates who graduated with me followed those from previous years, heading West to work. I still remember how alarming the news was of the bombs going off in the mail boxes near my grandmother’s Westmount home, and of the daughter of James Cross being escorted from our High School by police, where she worked, when he was abducted.
I graduated from nursing at Dawson College, having lived and worked in Montreal the four years after high school. Although I thought I’d always live in Montreal, I left Quebec in 1975 and haven’t lived in the province since. In my case, it was following the men I would marry and their jobs that first took me to Ottawa, then to British Columbia and Alberta, then finally back to Ontario. To be near aging parents upon moving back East for my husband’s job in Brownsburg, we chose to live across the bridge from Quebec, in Hawkesbury, Ontario because we were not fluent in French. Many former friends and neighbours from Lachute had moved to that area.
With the passing of my parents, I sold our farm in Lachute in 1999, finally severing my ties to Quebec. Although Lachute will be always be my hometown and Quebec where I came from, it is no longer “home” for me, yet it is still home to aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. Now, sadly, Quebec has become a place we visit and attend funerals.
– Linda Hanly Reid
1963 Truthfully Recalled
My neighbours get full credit for my being at Hoc Docs Theatre and seeing this film. I watched John Walker’s movie with both joy and sadness, and virtually cried at Denys Arcand’s blunt assertions about revolutions and the absence of Québécois sorrow at losing a few hundred thousand citizens.
Now a 30-year resident of Toronto, I suffered culture shock in the early years and attempted to downplay my displacement. I even drove to Ville d’Anjou to get my hair cut 2-3 times a year as part of a ritual to embrace my fading past.
As a graduate of MRHS (1963), I shared quite a bit of John Walker’s early life experience, him and I being almost the same age. Fortunately, we shared a few words in the lobby after the screening, but wished our brief chat could have been longer.
I will track down the movie and see it again because it encapsulated so much of the world that I left behind. I still feel a deep den of loss at what I left in 1986. Thanks, John. You made a movie that spoke with healing truth directly to a sad part of my soul. I am deeply appreciative.
– Doug C.
Moving to Quebec
I saw the first screening yesterday and was tremendously moved and stimulated by it. The film is visually beautiful and thought provoking. The room was full of Montreal expats, but I am a Torontonian who tried to migrate in the other direction. Attracted by the Quiet Revolution, I did my internship in medicine in 1967 at the Hôtel-Dieu Hospital, living and working in French, with the intention of settling in the province. As poignantly illustrated by the film, speaking the language and loving the life in the province is not enough to be accepted into the main stream. I was offered a job to continue my training in Montréal at the end of the year, but I told the guy that I had no roots in the province and was going home to Toronto. With that said, I still love to visit Montreal. Bravo to John Walker on a wonderful film.
– Michael Schwartz
Email Subject: Montreal Girl Sees Movie, Finds Peace
Your film brings to the light of day, that which so many of us have not spoken about, that we never completely left.
It returns a sense of belonging… now I feel I can let something go and in so doing, look at mon pays in a new light. This is so healthy for the members of the almost silent diaspora. You have done a great service for all of us Mr. Walker: the last scene of you walking through the streets — it was hard to keep back the tears — no words needed.
– Susan Morrison