Jacques Trudel, my 10th-Great Grandfather, built a homestead in 1602 so that he and his wife, Francoise, could start a family. This home was tucked away in the township of Parfondeval, which sat in Perche, a previously known province of northwestern France. Their home was small. Cozy. Set in the serenity of the pastoral countryside. And it was all they would need to bring up their two sons,
Jean and Charles.
Papa Jacques was a weaver, always spinning his wheel, and would pass this skill on to his sons – tisserands (the French word for “weavers”), all! Soon enough, the boys became men and married their own wives, who gave birth to their own children. Charles moved on, but Jean remained in this home even after marrying his beloved Marguerite in 1628. In the following year, the house would set a lovely stage for the birth of their son, Jean Jr. – the third generation of Trudel to call those walls home.
Just a few short years later, after gaining the experience of grandparents, seeing their grandson’s first steps and hearing the chattering of his early speech, Jacques and Francoise passed away. In their absence, the only tribute they left to the world was that house.
Jean Sr. and Marguerite would also live out their lives under its roof and in between its walls, but by 1652 their end came, as well. When they died, Jean Jr. was 23 years of age and all alone. That house remained his only consolation.
However, as people sometimes do, he decided it was too hard to remain in a place where there were constant reminders of the past. So, in 1655, he left to start a new life in the new world. New France lured him ever so fervently, with its change of scenery and promise of something more. So, he signed a 36-month contract which bound him to work for an estate along the St. Lawrence River near Quebec. After that term ended, he had the option to return home. To this home. But he chose to stay in Canada, where he would finally build a home of his own.
Even though he never returned to France, I doubt very strongly that he was ever able to forget the old stone home that would outlive them all, the one that still stands – the house that Jacques built!
“This is the papa who spins his wheel
As mama is busy cooking her meal
In between tears the baby does cry
As he sees a gray mouse scurrying by
In the lovely green vines as dry as a wick
That scales the walls so large and so thick
So strong and so even, without any tilt,
That steady old house that Jacques built.”