Franco-American Collection

Irene Labreque Coady

Irene Coady"Christmas Eve – Santa Claus used to come. We knew it was my uncle. You know, every year Santa Claus would have a bottle of wine before he’d leave. He didn’t drink it – that was a gift for Santa Claus...my uncle Roland, who played Santa Claus – I tell you, he had quite a haul, because my father had nine brothers and Uncle Roland used to go to every house, to play Santa Claus. We finally got used to that Santa Claus. When he’d leave the house, he had his bottle of wine, and we’d give him a couple of cookies, and then he was headed for the other relatives."

Irene Coady was born Irene Labreque in Salem, Massachusetts in 1933.  Her parents, who had come to Lewiston from Quebec, moved back to Lewiston during her childhood.  In this interview she talks about the importance of music to her heritage and her family's christmas traditions.  She also talks candidly about her experience at an orphanage run by the Sisters of Charity in Lawrence, Massachusetts. 

This interview was recorded with the assistance of Storybank Maine.

Listen to the interview

Read the transcript (PDF)


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