Brideau, Alma

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                                        ALMA BRIDEAU (SAVOIE)
                                        By Denise Berthelotte

TABUSINTAC – In the last century she was just another pretty face in Legaceville. Now, 105 years later, the pretty face has matured and boasts marks of wisdom.

Alma (Savoie) Brideau celebrates her 105 birthday today at the Tabusintac nursing home.

Her daughter LauretteDesRoches is at her side, thankful to still have her around. “It isn’t everyone who still has a parent at this age,” she said in a French interview.

DesRoches, 77, and Brideau’s only child grew up to add many branches to the family tree. She and her husband, Cyrille raised 13 children. Mr. DesRoches passed away last year in March.

Brideau now has 34 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.

Over 50 family members gathered at the nursing home Sunday to celebrate Mother’s Day and Mrs. Brideau’s birthday. “Not everyone was there,” DesRoches said. But those who were aren’t likely to forget that day.

Music filled the air and entwined with a fresh scent of potted plants and freshly picked flowers offered as gifts.

One song hit home with DesRoches. She said it took everything in her power to hold back the tears welded in her eyes. “I couldn’t help it. If I would have been alone these tears would have flowed.” The song was Le Coeur ne veillit pas – a heart will never age.

DesRoches said knowing her mother can’t see or hear and can barely talk is hard. “She was never sick. Even now she isn’t taking any medication.” Doctors have only seen Brideau twice in her 105 years. Once was about 40 years ago for minor medical reasons and once, at 98 years old, when she broke a hip in a fall.

Brideau never let age get in the way of religion either. “She went to church every Sunday until she was 97. I had to tell her to stop. The ceremonies were too long for her,” DesRoches said.

Only good childhood memories come to DesRoches’ mind. She said she believed her parents even spoiled her. There were no spankings or strict discipline in the Brideau home. “I’m still spoiled, but by my own kids now,” she said laughing.

DesRoches said her mother loved music. “She played a bit of accordion and piano. She was such a smart woman.”

So what is Brideau’s secret?

“Even I don’t know that,” DesRoches said with a chuckle. DesRoches thought maybe it had something to do with the cookies she loved so much. Brideau indulged a sweet tooth all her life. Or maybe it was her favourite drink – hot chocolate. “No coffee or tea for my mother.”

Whatever it is, living a long life appears to be a family tradition. Brideau’s sister and DesRoches’ aunt, Marguerite LeBouthilier, died a few years ago at 103. She was also at the Tabusintac nursing home. “They all lived a long life on my grandfather’s side,” said DesRoches.

As for herself, she said she doesn’t think she will live that long. But maybe if she started eating those cookies and washing them with a cup of hot cocoa, who knows?

Source: Miramichi Leader – May 16, 1995

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