We have just returned to Ontario from our annual pilgrimage to Lewiston. Our usual visits to Old Orchard Beach being rained out, my mother-in-law, Rita Castonguay/Miliard (Caux) recommended Museum L/A. She had worked at the Bates Mill where the museum is located.

Using photographs and articles, the museum depicts the people’s history of Lewiston – their origins, sacrifices, working conditions and their leisure activities are all documented. While learning the official history of Lewiston, I also picked up some of the unwritten history having my mother-in-law as a guide. She shared a story of when she and her friends stayed out too late and instead of going home, would sleep on the stairs of the mill.

As we made our way around the displays, we came upon a photograph of a group called “Les Hirondelles.” Knowing that Rita’s mother belonged to this club, she and my wife examined the photograph and there, staring back, bundled up in her club outfit, was Marie-Anne Caux (Breton), Rita’s mother, who as a young girl was put on a train in Quebec to work in the mills of Lewiston.

Our visit was wonderful for all of us, and the staff and others were helpful and as excited as we were when we discovered the photograph of Marie-Anne.

I strongly encourage a visit Museum L/A, and to be sure to bring along someone who can share the inside stories.

Bruce Robb and Rachel Anne Miliard Robb, Bowmanville, Ontario

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