Franco-American Collection

Jean and Mercedes Gastonguay

"Being a teacher, earning about $4,000 a year, it wasn’t enough for our family...I got the opportunity to become the editor of Le Messager, which was the French newspaper of Lewiston, for a few years, before they disbanded the whole thing. It wasn’t managed properly; people were getting the newspaper and hadn’t paid for years, and so on. It kind of died in that way, which was unfortunate"

Jean and Mercedes Gastonguay are retired school teachers who live in Lewiston.  In this interview, they discuss their differing childhoods, the importance of the French language to their lives, and various Christmas traditions.  Jean served as the final editor of the French-language newspaper in Lewiston, Le Messager, and Mercedes was an art teacher who organized jurored shows of her pupils for many years.

This interview was conducted with the help of Storybank Maine.

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Listen to the interview

Listen to the Gastonguays singing Christmas songs.

Read the transcript (PDF)