Margaret Bernier and Muriel – 1919


Margaret Tormey Bernier and her daughter, Muriel, in 1919

This photo shows my grandmother, Margaret Ann Tormey Bernier (1898 – 1972) and her baby daughter, Muriel (1919 – 2010).  The photo was probably taken on the front porch of their home in Cambridge… or Somerville, MA. (I need to research that and find out just where their street was actually located.  Most records say Somerville, but my mother said it was actually Cambridge, and — for part of her high school years — she went to school in Cambridge.)

My mother was born at home, and — completely unprepared — my grandfather (Napoleon Mark Bernier) was present during labor and delivery.  He was so shocked by the process, he swore there would be no more children in his household.   And so, my mother was an only child.  (From my grandmother’s description, it wasn’t an easy delivery.)

However, my grandmother’s pregnancy was stressful.  She was one of the only members of her extended family who didn’t come down with the flu, so — despite being “in the family way” — she was the one who took care of those confined to their beds.  And, her father-in-law (Francois Napoleon Bernier) died while my grandmother was pregnant.

As an only child, my mother said she was pampered and given the best of everything.  Since her parents were so young when she was born, it was more as if they were friends than parents.  So, my mother described her childhood as a happy one.

Her mother swore that my mother never did anything wrong, ever.  She never misbehaved, and never had to be punished for anything.

I’m not so sure about that.  Mum talked about running around the neighborhood with a bow & arrows, and… well, not quite terrorizing the kids, but I got the idea that Mum was more of a loner than a joiner.

I’m intrigued by the lace-up boots my grandmother wore in this photo.   I had a pair custom-made when I was in my 20s, not realizing they were similar to my grandmother’s.

And, if I recall the stories correctly, this photo shows my grandmother with her real nose.  The surgery was later, since my mother recalled seeing her mom in bandages, afterward.

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