"Well, Toronto, I was about the only French girl there that could speak French and not very good English."
I was born in New Richmond, Bonaventure County, Quebec the 10th of September, 1923. First, I lost my mom when I was a little kid. Second, I lost my dad and brother, they drowned. Then I went to Campbellton, New Brunswick and took English, when I was finished my French in Quebec. And there, went back home the summer, I went to live with one of my sisters for a little while. And while I was there in Donnacona, I worked in the restaurant during the summer and an airman came and he said, Aimee, why don’t you join the Air Force? No, I’d never even seen an airman or knew anything about the services. I’m kind of not that smart, okay. So anyway, I thought, it’s better than working in the restaurant for the summer.
One fellow that worked in there took me to Quebec City, to Château Frontenac and I enlisted. And the date was my birthday; it was then my birthday, 19th. As I went to the Château, I met I had a sister who was a nurse in Quebec City - and as I’m coming out of the Château after I joined up, I met her boyfriend, big shot. And he told her, he says, you know what, I saw Aimee, I don’t know what she was doing at the Château Frontenac. Well, she tried to stop it, my sister. But they said, no, she’s 19; you can’t do nothing about it.
They sent me to Toronto. Well, Toronto, I was about the only French girl there that could speak French and not very good English. But my grandmother was English, okay, and then I had a stepmom that was Irish. So I should [have] known a little bit of English. And they gave us exams and I just about didn’t do nothing good because it was English. There was one girl that did less than me. And I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me, because I couldn’t understand it. But then I made out okay after that.
And they sent me to Halifax. From there, all the girls that didn’t have any training, put them in, went to work in the kitchen or whatever, until they posted you. While I was there, they wanted to make me a corporal, be in charge of all the girls and I didn’t want that. I re-mustered to postal clerk. That was better than being corporal.
I made friends with all people. Like the first one was a Chinese lady, a little girl, from Vancouver. That was when I first joined up, first went to Moncton. And for some reason, this Jean Lee, we start taking piano lessons in a convent in Halifax. The same nuns that taught me when I was a little kid were there. So Jean Lee and I learned to play the piano. Well, she’s a lot brighter than I am because she could do it.
And then I had another best friend from Newfoundland, Ruth Roberts. She was Pentecostal but for some reason, wherever we were, there was a Catholic place and a hall and then Protestant. And I’d go at noon and say my prayers, whatever, just to spend some time because you get lonely. But then I’d stop to see her and she’d be singing the songs. And I kind of - because I can listen real good, I learned those songs. Then I’d go home and I got a sister - well, I’ve got more than one sister, there’s quite a few now, there’s six girls and five boys, five boys and six girls, excuse me -well, one of my sisters taught English so that’s one of my oldest, I’m the youngest. Anyway, I go see my sister and I sing that song, she started to say to me, Aimee, where did you learn that song? From my friend, Pentecostal!