Franco-American Collection

Alice Bisson-Barnes

Ted Bison, c.1920"I was told, in the diner, there was a little open window with a shelf where the waitresses would come and pick up their meals. Nowadays they have that hot light on ‘em. My brother said if someone came in and hit him up – hit my father up – for a free meal, there was never any questions asked. The only stipulation was the guy had to stand at that window."

Image: Ted Bisson, Court Square Restaurant, Auburn, 1919

Alice Bisson was born in Lewison in 1945 to Joseph Felix Theodore "Ted" Bisson and Gertrude Thiel Bisson, the last of sixteen children.  She recorded two interviews with the Franco-American Collection.

In the first interview, Alice talks about her father, Ted Bisson (b.1900), who immigrated to the United States from Chartierville, QC in 1918, with his family, after the death of his father.  While the rest of his family were employed in Lewiston's textile industry, Ted worked as a pastry chef at the Court Square Restaurant, in Auburn.  He catered the opening of St Mary's Church in 1928.

In 1933, he operated a boarding house which had initially been purchased by his brother Louis, on Middle Street, in Lewiston.  In 1938 he opened the Middle Street Diner next door, and operated that until 1946, when he sold the diner and opened the Maple Inn on Main Street, Lewiston.

Subjects: Religion, family life, food, immigration, race, historiography

Listen to the interview

Read the transcript (PDF)

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