Our Family Scrapbook

Pop and his family

You’ve likely already read or heard most of this story. In fact, this is the second article I’m writing about Pop and his family. Oh, well, that’s okay!

From left to right: Marcel-Assistant Superintendant, RCMP; Roger-Professional singer/Bell Telephone; University professor, Mathematics; Edouard (Ed, Eddie)-Electrical Engineering, Atomic Energy; Charles (Charlie)-WWII veteran (lost a leg in the war)/Government Printing Plant; Fernand (Fern)-Assistant Deputy Minister (I don’t know which government department), spent some years working in France where he met his wife, Antoinette (Tony); Lucille-expert with needlework, especially crochet; Grandmama Sauvé-sweet, gentle, amazing baker; Thérèse-won an award as Canada’s fastest typist. Note: I particularly love Charlie. He was sweet and kind, and he and Pop were great buddies.

My dad, Joseph Edouard Raoul Sauvé, known as Ed or Eddie, was born on Saturday, January 7, 1928. His dad was Inspector Ubald Sauvé, Chief of the Morality Squad with the Ottawa Police Force. My dad’s mom, Edelma Normand, was a petite and pretty woman who gave birth to 10 children, two of whom died as infants. The surviving eight were Fernand, Leo, Charles, Lucille, Marcel, Edouard, Roger and Thérèse.

This is my grandfather, Poppy Sauvé. I have some memories of him when I was very young: I recall him and Nanny Sauvé taking me on the train to visit my dad, who was in a hospital in Montreal after suffering a breakdown while in the Air Force. I also remember sitting on my grandfather’s knee while he told me stories of all the funny things my dad did when he was young.

This is the house at 138 Goulburn Street in Sandy Hill, where Pop grew up. He always laughed about all tall and skinny his family house was.

Dad’s family did not suffer throughout the depression, as did most families. My grandmother had a housekeeper, and, with her love of baking, there was never any shortage of sweets. Although the family’s mother tongue was French, they were all perfectly bilingual—except for my grandmother, who struggled with the English language despite her brave attempts.

Dad was a very shy kid, but although he didn’t really try to be funny, he was quite a comedian. I remember the stories he told me about some of the pranks he pulled as a boy. One day, while walking down the street, he saw a girdle that a neighbour lady had put in her garbage can. He pulled it out, put it on, and paraded up and down the street in front of the lady’s house. Apparently, she was mortified.

Another time, my dad hid behind the sofa. When he didn’t turn up at the dinner table, my grandmother became very worried, and my grandfather got the police out looking for him. Yes, they did find him, and, as the story goes, he didn’t pull that stunt a second time.

My dad began his adult work life as a typesetter at the local French newspaper, Le Droit. He despised the job. One day, he told my Grandmother Gricken how much he hated typesetting. She asked him what he really wanted to do, and he said, “I want to drive a truck.” So, she told him to go drive a truck, and he did.

He drove 40-foot-long transport trucks until he was 38 years old when one night, while hauling 1000 bags of flour weighing 100 pounds each, he sort of gave his head a shake and asked himself what the heck he was doing driving all night, every night. That was the moment he decided to begin studying electronics–he was a natural on the subject, so although he studied very hard, he aced the exams. He was then offered a number of jobs; one was at CBC, but he turned that one down because the company was constantly laying off employees. Instead, he chose the job at Atomic Energy.

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