|Richard Lewis, the Dredge Boat Captain from|
Lennoxville who was my maternal grandfather.
Immediately after marrying, my grandmother Bertha began having daughters, a total that eventually reached nine, although only seven grew to maturity. My mother, Margarette, was the second of those girls. Grandpa Dick, as he later was known, was successful as a dredge boat captain and provided his large family with a spacious home and a relatively comfortable standard of living; so comfortable in fact, that often, and for extended occasions, Bertha was able to take in orphans or other children that, for whatever reason, could no longer be cared for by their parents. At various time she had in her home as many children who belonged to others as she did of her own. Eventually, one of those would become the son she had always wanted.
Captain Dick’s work responsibilities caused him to be gone for extended durations, usually several months or more, without ever returning home. It often was said, and not entirely in jest, that he came home only often and long enough to father another child. When he did come home, his long absences served to make him very remote from his children. My mother would sometimes lament that she could not recall that he ever kissed or told her that he loved her. She related how on one occasion when her father was expected home later that evening, she and her twin sister, Helen, made a pact that “this time they were going to run up and hug him, and kiss him on his cheek.” But in spite of their pledge, she lamented, when he presented himself to his children, his attitude was so aloof that neither of the twins, or any of their sisters, could muster the courage to ask for his affection ...