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Southbridge Recollections:

Roger Lavallee recalls -"Cousin Emile Goes To Southbridge."

Hello Dick

I just wanted to drop you a line to tell you how much I love your web site. I check it from time to time to get my fix of my old hometown.

I grew up there (born in 1971) and lived there pretty much up to the last 10 years or so. I now live in what I like to call "the Southbridge of the North", Fitchburg. Even as a child, I was very aware of the town, if that makes any sense. Like most little boys, I was fascinated by the Fire Department, and would ask my dad to take me there every year or so, to just marvel at the trucks and talk with Chief Gregoire.

I have many very vivid memories of growing up there, and looking through your site really brings up a lot of great ones!

Another reason that I write is that I wanted to share with you a funny poem that I wrote/adapted about Southbridge. It all started when I read a poem that Joe Capillo printed in the News which I believe was called "Cousin Emile Goes To Southbridge." This was probably in the late 80's. The beauty of this poem was the perfect use of "Canuck-English", which being a Lavallee, I was no stranger to.

Unfortunately, I lost the newspaper clipping many years ago, and I wanted to tell the poem to a friend, but couldn't remember anything beyond the first two lines.  So what else to do but to re-write it, right?  That's what I did some time in the early 90's, mostly to entertain my French-Canadian friends from town, as no one else would really get all of the "jokes".  I still tell it whenever I can, usually to baffled stares.

So for your enjoyment, here goes. Remember that you have to read it with a serious Canuck accent (which would itself, be "CAN-uck uhk-SENT"

My Cousin Emile, he wrote to me
a mont' ago from now, I guess
to invite me attend da weddin'
of his daughter, Lizzie Bess.

He said "we'd like you come an' visit us
we'd sure to have some fun.
We miss you 'cuz you ain't been here
since da last time you didn't come."

Emile, he's right. I miss da town
wit' green-grass, and no smog.
I miss we used to swim some time
in the dear-old "Quinn-E-bog."

I used to ride my bike down streets
as far as I could get
for to help me do my paper route*
for da Telegram Gazette.

The air, it was so clean at night
when the crisp spring breeze would blow.
But still, I had to hold my nose
when I pass da old 'Hey-Ho'

So to Southbridge, off I head today
for it isn't very far.
But when I get down Southbridge way
I'll be sure drive slow my car.

And if you see Emile and Liz,
be sure to go an' tell'em
I meet dem Sat'dee afternoon
corner of Main and H'ellem.

(* rhymes with "pout")

You know, now that I think of it, I recall having a couple of other stanzas utilizing other favorites like "side by h'each" and "next time you go troo my yard, go around."  I'll have to remember those!

Anyway, thanks again.

Roger Lavallee Jr.

P.S.  Here's a nice shot of me and my cohorts in McLellan's probably around 1979/1980


engineering and production: www.rogerlavallee.com

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