In remembrance of my dad, whose birthday would be today, I am posting a story my daughter wrote at age 11. It was a school assignment. He would be honored to know that his name survives in print, and that his memory lives on in the minds of those that loved him. Here it is.
October 22, ‘97
Likes to travel
Seeing new things,
Meeting new people
He has so much fun.
When we visit
We talk a lot
And learn new things
About his great life.
I am so glad he’s coming!!
Tracing My Grandfather’s Footsteps
Written By: Carolina Marie Bravo
Can you believe my grandfather fought in World War II? He was in Germany. He took a ship, the Queen Mary across the Atlantic Ocean on December 31, 1944. He was excited to take the big trip because he really wanted to see Europe. While he was in Europe he kept a very detailed diary that he set aside time to write in practically every day and some days he wrote more than one time.
Richard Pierre Rivard was born on February 23, 1915. He was the youngest of his siblings that include 3 brothers, Louis, John and Raymond, and his 1 sister, Louise. They grew up in a small village in Wisconsin called Turtle Lake.
Just like me my grandfather had chores. My grandfather’s parents owned a dairy farm where they had several cows. My grandfather milked his parent’s cows. My grandfather and his siblings had to milk the cow every morning before school.
Other than selling milk my great grandparents had jobs. My great grandfather, Louis Honoré Rivard, was a real estate agent and sold land, and also owned and ran a lumber mill. My great grandmother, Alma Rose DuBois, owned and ran a boarding house.
During my grandfather’s childhood he dressed very simply. When he was about 18 months old he wore a white dress, black leather shoes and tights. As he grew into a young child he dressed in bib overalls with a plaid shirt.
My grandpa says that school was very hard for him. He says that he was a slow learner. His 7thand 8thgrade teacher Mrs. Calhoon was his favorite teacher.
My grandfather played some of the same games that I play today like Hide and Seek. He also played a game that I had never heard of before called Run Sheep Run. In the winter he would skate on the mill pond (his father’s lumber mill). During the summer he would go swimming in Horse Shoe lake that was about 5 miles from Grandpa’s house. He also played baseball and basketball on the school teams.
Since there was no TV, my grandfather had to keep himself occupied. In his early years he read and listened to phonographs. Later on, when the radio was invented he also listened to the radio. When he was all grown up with kids he got his first television.
In my grandfather’s childhood things were very cheap. He could buy many things for a nickel such as an ice cream cone, a candy bar, a quart of milk or a pie. For 15 cents he could buy a gallon of gasoline or malt and milk. Popcorn was 88 cents, a loaf of bread was 9 cents, a pound of meat or chicken was a quarter, Bib overalls were about $3 along with a wooden toy train. All he really ate was meat or chicken with potatoes for dinner and pancakes for breakfast.
My grandfather celebrated holidays just like my family does today. In fact he celebrated many of the same holidays I do, but in some cases in very different ways. Christmas is the same except he would go to midnight mass where we go to earlier mass. He has the exchanging of presents with his family just like I do. On the 4thof July there were no parades nor fireworks. Memorial Day was also the same, along with Thanksgiving. When you get to Halloween it’s a bit of a different story. He definitely did not go to gather treats in costume. My grandfather would go out and tip over outhouses. Can you believe it?
My grandfather was about 15 years old during the Great Depression. He was also alive during World War I but since he was only about 4 years old he vaguely remembers it. World War II is a vivid memory for him. He was in Europe from approximately December, 1944 to October, 1945. He fought in many battles including the Battle of the Bulge*. Last year my cousin Paul kindly typed up my grandfather’s wonderful diaries and made copies for all my uncles, aunts and my mother. Today he shares this precious gift along with all the memories and stories he tells.
After the war he went to Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and received his law degree. Then on November 4th, 1946 he married my grandmother, Mary Geraldyne Severance. They moved to Glenwood City, Wisconsin that is about 30 miles away from Turtle Lake.
They now have seven children excluding the youngest, Thomas who died shortly after birth. (From oldest to youngest) the children’s names are Andre, Roland, Michelle, Louis, Francis, Georgianna 9my mother) and Raymond. My grandfather has 16 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild. Since my grandfather retired he spends his summers in Wisconsin and winters in Texas.
My grandfather had favorite things just like me. He said he loved most foods but corn on the cob was one of his all-time favorites and still is. His favorite song was “As Time Goes By.” His favorite sport has always been baseball. A couple of his best friends in his childhood were Harold Kelly and Bill O’Connor.
My grandfather would not change much were he to live his life again. He would have liked to have made more money but otherwise he believes he did all he wanted to do or could do and therefore he is happy. If he were to leave anything from his past it would be his beautiful videos about his family and trips. He would also like to leave the diaries of his travels, the war and his many adventures. He thinks his favorite memories are of his wonderful vacations with his family, particularly the trip to Mexico when my mother was in the third grade.
My grandfather has lived a very interesting life. He is a very special person to everyone. He is special to me because he makes me laugh, tells me lots of stories and he has lots of videos of when I was little. I am going to read his diaries that he has typed to learn about the war and the many trips I have heard about. This is what my grandpa says when he gets back from the war; “I am home, this is the new life, the future is before me and a measure of peace and contentment settles over me as the days of travel and danger end and I can again look to the future.”
*May not be true.