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Oldna Elizabeth Bernier Daykin (1898 – 1925)


Oldna Elizabeth Bernier Daykin (1898 – 1925)

Oldna was the younger sister of Napoleon Mark Bernier.  Her parents were Francois Napoleon Bernier and Margaret DeCoste Bernier.

Oldna was born 22 March 1898 in Somerville, MA, and died of tuberculosis on 25 August 1925, also in Massachusetts.  (Some records place the Bernier home in Somerville, others put it just over the line into Cambridge.  My mother sometimes talked about the home being in Somerville, but mostly described it as Cambridge.)

Oldna Bernier DaykinAccording to my mother, Oldna was sweet, kind, quiet, and very musical.  In her teens, Oldna had been a little wild.  My grandmother said that Oldna fell in with “a wild crowd in Fall River.”  (I later found out the “wild crowd” were her Crispo cousins, and they weren’t especially wild… just normal teens.)

Oldna’s mother brought her back to the Boston area, and Oldna went to work at a store in downtown Boston, playing the piano.  I got the idea it was the Kresge department store, but it may have been a Woolworth’s.  Either way, Oldna played piano to entertain shoppers.

Unfortunately, Oldna fell in love with her cousin Louis… her first cousin, as I recall.  Her mother put a stop to that romance, and married Oldna to Harold Daykin.  Harold was, by all accounts, handsome and charming, but my mother said Oldna wasn’t really attracted to him.

The marriage was okay but not great.  Oldna soon contracted TB — supposedly because a fan was at her back when she played the piano at work — and died.

Harold moved in with his widowed mother-in-law and they created their own family legends… but that’s another story for another day.

In the 1960s, we met Harold’s widow when we were staying at the Farragut Hotel in Rye, NH.  I remember her as a gracious woman who was very much in love with Harold. She spoke kindly of Harold’s earlier associations with our family.  I’m glad he had a happy life.