Tag Archives: quebec

Speed Workout—My First Attempt at “Yasso 800s”

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I am now into the one month countdown to the Calgary Full Marathon. I knew for a while I wanted to do this race, but it wasn’t until after my marathon during the Dopey Challenge that I realized I could maybe have a legitimate shot at getting a Boston Qualifying time. That has now become my focus, and things have been going well…for the most part. The races I have done this spring have gone phenomenal-new half marathon PR (1:38:40) and placed 2nd overall for women in the 10 Mile Road Race (1:14:49). But I have been having some bothersome knee pain. Yes, I am taking care of it and trying to figure out the issue (other than the obvious overuse) but I also know I can’t stop running altogether in order for it to heal completely. I have Calgary. And I have a goal!

After taking six days off of running while in Quebec City during Spring Break, I knew I needed to start tackling some tough workouts. Not just distance, but speed. Oh, the dreaded speed workout. I think back to when I was in Track & Field in High School and how much I loathed speed workouts. I use to run the 800 meter and 1600 meter back then, which is a tiny fraction of what I run now! But see, in high school, I think I got in a rut because I was never “that great” and was always a middle of the pack varsity runner. I helped the team in small ways, but my 2:38-800 meter time was never good enough to place high or advance far in our tough Southeast Conference, and even tougher WIAA Division 1.

Back to track workouts…I avoid them. I make excuses. I don’t have access to our outdoor community track, as it is used for the university or high school sports. You can’t just go jump that fence and use the track as you please. High schools in the area don’t have their own asphalt tracks like they do back in Wisconsin, so there goes that. My only option in town is the red shale track next to the curling club in downtown Lethbridge.
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So that is where I went last Wednesday.

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I decided I needed to switch my interval workout a bit. Usually, when I have a “speed” day, I just mess around with doing Fartleks. That way, I can just be going through neighborhoods minding my own business and surge for short distances whenever I feel like it. Over the past few months, I have been reading about Yasso 800s. It is a speed workout designed by Bart Yasso of Runners World Magazine. You can read about it here in this article:
Yasso 800s

The general premise is that you take what your goal full marathon time is (I need to be under 3:35:00 to make the qualifying time for Boston) and translate that time from hours and minutes, into minutes and seconds. So if I want to aim for a 3:30:00 full marathon, I am going to be running 800 meter repeats in 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

For my first attempt at Yasso 800s, I decided to do an 800 meter warmup, 6×800 meter runs at a 3:30 pace, and then an 800 meter cool down. Wednesday was our first HOT day of the year, as my car thermometer read 79 degrees at 3:30 pm. I was a little nervous how this warm weather would affect me during this workout, but I came armed with a bottle of water and was ready to go.

The reason I wanted to do an 800 meter warmup was so I could figure out where I needed to place myself in order to have a true 800 meter distance around the track. There are not any lanes drawn in on this old school track, so I did my first two laps hugging the curve in my made up Lane 1. It was under the 800 meters (0.5 mile) so I adjusted myself from there on out to be positioned in the middle imaginary lane.

I was nervous for my first 800. I really didn’t know how the pace would feel. I finished my first one in 3:32; just a tad off. Instead of jogging in between each 800, (I had wanted my total distance that afternoon to total 4 miles) I took a 2:30-3:30 minute break where I jogged over to get some water, did some stretches, and got set for the next one. I ran my second 800 pretty much spot on in 3:29! A highlight at the end of my second 800 was witnessing a homeless man peeing by a shed next to the track; oh downtown Lethbridge, you never cease to amaze me.

The third and fourth 800s were 3:30 and 3:22, respectively. Damn, I was feeling good! I was worried when I clocked in that 3:22; had I pushed too hard with two more repeats to go? I was downing water like no bodies business and by this point I was sweating more than normal. This is what I needed though—something new to get my body going.

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The last two 800s were completed in 3:28 and 3:22. I was so happy with those last two times, and was wanting to almost pat my own back with that final lap! I had done my first Yasso 800 workout and it felt fantastic! After my 800 meter cool down, I got artsy in the shale (see below). Later that week, i revamped my training calendar a bit, and have set three more days of intervals. I will be doing the Yasso 800 workout during each, with my next one having 8x800s and the second having 10x800s. I’ll taper down to only 4x800s the week and a half before my big race. All in all, while I was nervously dreading speed workouts, I am now feeling really positive as I head towards the Calgary Full Marathon on June 1st!

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Quest in Quebec City, Part II

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The post below is a continuation from two days ago. It is my recap/reflection on the experiences I had while in Quebec City!

On Thursday, April 24th, we arrived at Musee Bon Pasteur. I was looking forward to this visit—the second floor was advertised to have an exhibit featuring the orphanage my dad was born at! When my husband and I walked through the doors, the receptionist did not know any English. Dan spoke with her to let her know I did not speak French; she then asked if we wanted an English-speaking guide. I am very appreciative that they had an English speaking guide in the facility, because visiting the museum would not have been the same without Sister Claudette’s guidance!

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Sister Claudette met us and gave us an overview of who the Sisters of Good Shepard are, and how they were formed. The story is quite incredible, and I encourage you to go to Musee Bon Pasteur and read about how this group of women found each other. She knew we were most interested in the items on the second floor, so after her 15 minute overview on the history on the first floor, we headed upstairs.

This is where everything came out. She first asked to see what information I had with me. After pulling out the envelope with the ominous “680 Chemin Ste Foy” address on it, she quickly told us why we were confused when we went their yesterday—-because it’s actually at 1210! The addresses had shifted over the years! She gave us a postcard with an old photo of La Crèche St Vincent de Paul so we could use it when we went back to find 1210 Chemin Ste Foy.

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We then looked at the handwritten letter together, and Sister Claudette then had a surprise for us. The sister who had signed the letter was a very prominent Sister at La Crèche, and there was a photo of her on that floor of the museum! Sister James Philip had signed that letter in 1954! Below is a picture of the letter next to her photo—these items are displayed on the original baptismal font that was used at the original St. Patricks! This font was used on my dad’s baptism on June 10th, 1952, three days after he was born (we know this because of the statement on his baptismal abstract which was produced in 1957; we can only assume, and Sister Claudette agreed, that this abstract was needed by my grandparents for when he went through his American Citizenship)

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Lots of other artifacts were on site for viewing in the museum. There are pictures, which reminded me of yearbook photos, of the doctors and sisters who were at La Crèche during certain time frames. There are also pictures of the children being looked after. Sister Claudette said these photos were taken in the 1950s

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Sister Claudette then explained to us more about the timeline of my dad’s adoption. He was born on June 7, 1952, and we knew from original paperwork that he was adopted and brought across into the US on July 4, 1954…this approximate two-year window is important. She explained to us that when a woman gave birth at La Crèche, the choice was to sign the child over for adoption right away, or wait a maximum of two years. In those two years if she felt fit to take care of the child on her own, or in some cases if she had then wed the father and came back, the child would be reunited.

My grandparents worked with the help of Catholic Charities in Illinois to set up an adoption. The Catholic Charities sent a letter in May 1954 that a boy had been selected for them. They drove up to La Crèche to meet my dad. I would love to know if photos of this occasion had existed somewhere in my grandparents hands, but they moved so much all over the world they may have been lost. One thing I should have assumed but was never certain was my dad’s birth name. We knew it was Luke, as written on the old envelope. But that was the English spelling. Sister Claudette confirmed that the name on the “Alien Registration” form that was used when moving to the US was his given name—Luc Parent. This was not chosen by the birth mother, though. We learned that the doctors and Sisters had a list of generic first names and last names they went through and gave to the children. So my dad was given Luc Parent!

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It was an amazing visit. Absolutely memorable. I will never forget it! We learned so much in that short time at the museum. Plus, there is still a chance to learn more. Later that day, Dan phoned a number given to us by Sister Claudette. It was for Centre Jeunesse-Centre for Adopted Youth. There’s an outside chance they will let me provide my dad’s information for the archives, in case anyone from his birth family has tried looking for him. This is something traditionally the adopted child must do, but we may as well try. Problem was, we called twice, and the person on the other line had horrific English, and Dan’s French was just as bad. An English speaking worker was supposed to call us back by yesterday but hasn’t. I will tackle this feat over the next few weeks.

And 1210 Chemin Ste Foy? Well, we went the following day. On April 25, 2014, we walked the two miles to La Crèche St Vincent de Paul. My dad had passed away exactly 10 years before on April 25, 2004. How did I feel?—rejuvenated.

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Quest in Quebec City, Part I

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Oh wow. Where do I start? I am still trying to take everything in from our amazing trip out East to Quebec. I am going to share the family history highlights we uncovered on this trip, but also try to keep this post short. The post will be broken up into two parts, and I hope the pictures will speak for themselves.

If you have read my blog before, you now know my dad was an orphan from Quebec City. He was born on June 7, 1952, at the La Crèche St Vincent de Paul, a home for children born to unwed mothers. I have always wanted to go to Quebec City so I could be immersed in the surroundings, and hopefully get some answers in the process.
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The first we did upon arriving in Quebec City was trek from the Via Rail station to our hotel. During the trek we passed St. Patricks Church—I knew this name from all my years of looking at the papers we had of my dad’sthis was where my dad’s baptismal abstract was from! We went in and spoke with an incredibly friendly receptionist. She informed us that the original church burned down and all that remained was the front. An active St. Patricks church in Quebec City does exist, but it is not the one from the 1950s. The old building inside was rebuilt and now houses a cancer research centre. She was trying her best to help us with finding any thoughtful information. She told us to come back tomorrow, as she wanted to get us a name of a fellow who knew a lot of history of the church.

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The next day we stopped back at the former church, where the receptionist had a piece of paper for us with contact information for C. Robert McGoldrick. We thanked her greatly, and on we went to 680 Chemin Ste Foy, the address I had stared at so long on an old 1950s envelope. This address was that of the orphanage!

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The walk to the “site” of the orphanage was about 2 miles. When we got closer to where 680 was, I started getting excited. But then, there was nothing. No 680. Just a green space between a giant apartment building and some townhouses. This was not big enough to house a whole orphanage…I was so confused. Had it gotten torn down and part of the land was built on? Nonetheless, we took a picture and moved on to phone Robert McGoldrick.

Robert answered and Dan spoke with him briefly. He told us to look up Saint Sacrament Parish, on the corner of Holland and Saint Croix. Even though the original St. Patrick’s burned down, he said any documents that may have been saved would be here. This was a lot to take in! What could they have there?

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We now headed back 2 miles to Old Quebec where something very exciting was waiting—a museum with an exhibit featuring La Crèche St. Vincent de Paul. This is Musee Bon Pasteur (Good Shepard Museum). I had found this museum while searching things online some years ago. This was where I had to go. This was where I would find answers!….

Part II to be posted tomorrow….

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Watch Out Quebec—-Here I Come!

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Being a student and now a teacher, I always have been fortunate enough to have the luxurious week off called “Spring Break.” Lots of people go on crazy Mexico vacations, cruises, or down to Panama City Beach. I either went no where, or to Disney World. I realized this a few days ago when thinking of this blog post—three of my trips to Disney World were taken during Spring Break. One in high school, one in college and one while being a full-fledge teacher. It’s about time I go somewhere different during Spring Break!

I have always wanted to go to Quebec City; my dad was born there and I wanted to look up some family history, be a part of where he was born. In the last years, I tried looking at flights and possibilities during our February break, but the cost was something Dan and I could not take on. I bought a little Quebec City Guide book from Chapters and dreamt of going in the future. I kept looking through the old papers I have of my dad’s adoption, the handwritten letter from the nun, and the envelope with the address of where La Crèche St. Vincent de Paul once stood….680 Chemin Ste Foy, Quebec City. And finally, this fall, I was able to put our trip into official action, using my Air Miles to book us a round trip flight out of Lethbridge to Montreal.

Dan and I are flying into Montreal on Monday, staying for two nights, taking Via Rail out to Quebec City for three nights, then back to Montreal for our final night. I asked Dan this morning what he is most excited about, and he answered “the fact we don’t have every night planned out.”

Usually I am very type-A and over planned. That is best exhibited on Disney trips when I have dining booked 180 days in advance, rides booked on FastPass+, and I am on blogs multiple times a day. For this trip, after making the flight reservations, nothing else was booked until January. That is when I found the wicked deal on Via Rail for two reserved coach seats—-$133.38 round trip!

On April 5th I decided to give Priceline a try. I tried holding out as long as I could, wanting to wait as close to our departure as possible so I could get the best deal. I bid on three hotels successfully—in Montreal, we will be staying downtown at Le Centre Sheraton Montreal and Intercontinental Montreal. In Quebec City, we will be right in the heart of Old Quebec, as the Hilton Quebec. I was able to get hotels at $100, $95 and $94 a night, respectively. I am very pleased with the rates!

We have two dining reservations set while in Quebec City, both at restaurants within walking distance. On the Wednesday night, we will be at Cafe St. Molo, which is rated #30 out of 1130 restaurants in Quebec City. It serves traditional French cuisine in a casual atmosphere. The other restaurant I chose is Le Saint-Amour, which is more of a fine dining location. It looks absolutely gorgeous, the menu looks to-die-for and it is ranked #5 in the city! Along with these restaurants, we plan on eating as much random pub food as possible, and will also be trying any and all microbrews we can get our hands on. We have already been instructed to go to Dieu de Ceil in Montreal for their beer, and we will also talk to locals for their recommendations. We love good food; we really do. So I can’t wait to take part in these dining experiences!

Another planned activity was set last week, after the NHL playoff schedule came out. The Montreal Canadiens have game 4 of the playoffs in Montreal on Tuesday night, so we were able to get tickets! I have been to MLB, NBA and NFL games, but never an NHL game. Dan hasn’t been to an NHL game in a solid 10 years, and the fact we will get to see one of the original six teams during playoffs is very exciting! Timing just worked out in our favor!

I have many other things saved on Trip Advisor, as far as local attractions worth seeing, pubs to go to, etc. None of these events are booked or set in stone…just in the back of my mind! We are planning on spending an afternoon walking to those addresses in Quebec City that I have, and also going to the Musee Bon Pasteur, a museum that has an exhibit featuring the orphanage. I have no idea what to expect in regards to my emotions…will I be a bucket of water upon landing in Quebec, since this is a trip I have wanted for so long? Will the waterworks not begin until officially arriving off the train in Quebec City? How am I going to hold it together on April 25th, which marks the tenth anniversary of my dad’s passing? I have waited so long for this trip, and I have no doubt in my mind it will deliver….a memorable week is about to take place! Je Me Souviens!

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Ten Years of Ink—How it began, and what it has become.

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Everything below I wrote first, and now I am just writing this intro. The paragraphs below flow chronologically, as I am trying to talk about my tattoo story, but it does get kind of long-winded. There isn’t really a nicer or “neater way” to put this story into written form. So, I am just giving a heads up that this is a bit all over the place, but in the end, I hope you get what I am trying to convey.

My dad had a tattoo. On his left bicep. What was it? Well, it was supposed to be a snake and an eagle. But it ended up looking like an eel and a weird polygon. He got this tattoo while he was enlisted in the Marines. My mom thinks he had to be 19 or 20 when he got it, as he was born in 1952, graduated in 1971, and then was off to boot camp. He was stationed on a boat in the Philippines for some time, and it was at a sketchy island tattoo shop that he got this done. In theory, I think he was going to go back and have it finished. But, even though my dad looked like someone who could handle any level of pain, he really had a pain tolerance of zero!
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My dad obviously had this tattoo on his arm for all to see my whole life. He never hid it or said he regretted it. I grew up seeing it was acceptable to have a tattoo, albeit an unfinished one. I honestly don’t remember when I first started thinking about getting a tattoo, but I knew I wanted one. I got my first tattoo about a month after my 18th birthday. I was dead set on getting a Snoopy on my lower back—but, my mom had an opinion about that. Her worry was not that I would be old and wrinkly and not want a tattoo there, but that I would someday be old and wrinkly and regret having a Snoopy. Her wise suggestion?—a butterfly. OK MOM, HOW CLICHE DO YOU WANT THIS TO BE?!? Anyway, my dad was fine with me getting a Snoopy, because it was my body and that was something I have always loved, so I made an appointment and all was said and done.

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Yes, there’s the warning people with tattoos give out that you “won’t end up with just 1. They are addicting!” In my first year at college, I got two more pieces inked for life—-Another Snoopy, on my right lower hip, and a set of flowers on top of my foot. I will touch back on those flowers later, as that is the one tattoo I had gotten that really didn’t have a meaning:

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When my dad passed away in April 2004, shortly after the flower tattoo, I began to think about a way to ink his memory. This was done in the fall of 2004, during my sophomore year at University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. I found a document at my mom’s house with his signature, so it could be replicated on the lower right side of my back. Angel wings were added, along with a Canadian maple leaf, since he was from Canada (Ironic how now I live in Canada, eh?)

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My final Peanuts tattoo (for now) was added a short time later. I had a tiny Woodstock flying around under my left ankle bone added.

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I started to step it up a notch in Spring 2007. This was my senior year at UWL, and I wanted to do something more with honoring my dad. Even though it had been three years since his passing, I was still not really dealing with his death that well. I was angry, confused, mad…it was unfair. I still didn’t deal with it properly and talk about it, but I booked an appointment and had three stars inked on my right rib cage—-1 for me, 1 for my mom, and 1 for my dad.

This held as my sixth tattoo for five years. I had said I was done. But a lot changes in five years. For instance, I had moved to Alberta. It is funny how things work that I meet a guy, my husband, on vacation while in the Bahamas, and he lives in Canada. So then I move to Canada, and the move was easier than it should have been, since I could get Canadian Citizenship, since my dad was born in Quebec. So thank you Dad for being born in Canada! Also, I finally started to confront the fact my dad was gone, and while it wasn’t fair, I had to deal with it appropriately. I started talking—not yelling or crying, but talking with people who are well-versed in this area.

In August 2012, I got the largest piece put onto my body—a fleur de lis with the inscription “je me souviens.” I have clung to this quote once finding out it is the motto for the province of Quebec. It translates to “I Remember.” The motto has helped inspire me to do this site, among other things. This piece was so large that we linked it with the stars already in place and the signature. In a way, it mad three individual pieces work together as one.

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In December 2012, I had the simple words “Blackbird Fly” placed on my left wrist, as a reminder to shed away all the negativity and unhappiness. I had had my friend Melissa sing the song “Blackbird” at our wedding as I walked down the aisle in December 2010. I was flying away from the wings of my mom and dad, to my new life as a “mrs.” The song can take on all sorts of personal meanings, depending on your interpretation, but I saw it as a symbol of living the next chapter of my life proudly, full of love, full of appreciation for the past, and full of happiness.

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Now lets go back to that flower tattoo on my foot. All my other tattoos have deep meaning—-sure, Snoopy images may not seem deep, but it is of personal value and importance. I had images on my body either related to Snoopy and the gang, or for the memory and love of my dad and my family. But I had nothing to do with running, a passion I took to the next level of road racing back in Spring 2004, shortly after my dad passed away and ironically shortly after this flower tattoo.

I decided I wanted this tattoo to be “enhanced.” It had faded over 9 years and need to be brought back to life. I also wanted more vines to be added and some shading to make it look more embedded onto my foot, rather than a stamp. But most importantly, I wanted a simple 13.1 and 26.2 hidden somehow within the vines, to signify the race distances in miles of a half and full marathon.

I planned this tattoo around a Septoplasty surgery I was going to have done. On June 17th, I went in for a day surgery to have a deviated septum taken care of, and I will now hopefully breathe easier out of my right nostril when I run and do day to day activities. (I have had a scab on that side for 7 damn years….it bleeds and forms again and makes breathing a pain. This was a possible solution that will hopefully work!). This surgery was set after my last half marathon of Spring, and since I can’t run for about 5 weeks from the surgery, I thought having my foot touched up during the time would be smart, as flip flops are a must as it heals. So, in celebration of my running (and the two month break I will be having from running!) I went to Peppermint Hippo Tattoo in Lethbridge, Alberta, on June 21st.

Carla was my tattoo artist, and she drew right on my foot her ideas. She decided to hide the numerals in the vines! She would re outline the whole old tattoo, along with the new additions, and then starting shading and coloring. The finished product is more than I could have hoped for! You can see from a onlookers view how my foot looks now—-the 13.1 is hidden near the bottom by my toes, while the 26.2 is a little trickier to see near my ankle (tilt your head sideways and turn it a bit and you’ll see it weaving.)

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So that is my tattoo story. Yes, it doesn’t really flow linearly, and it kind of goes all over the place. And I know there are people out there who do not understand why people get tattoos. But they are all important to me, and I am proud of every single one. And I realize I will become old and wrinkly at some point, yes, but at least I will have some beautiful art to look at on my body! If you are considering getting a tattoo for the first time, make sure it is something you have always loved or has a special meaning to you. and don’t worry about what others think—you aren’t forcing them to get it on their own body!

A Cultured Childhood—-My Dad’s Life in Zurich in the 1960s

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Since I did not have a race this weekend and would have no race recap to do, I decided to continue a post I started previously. Back on January 27th, 2013, I posted about my dad’s early years and spoke about his leaving the orphanage in Quebec, becoming a US citizen, and growing up in Beloit, Wisconsin. That entry can be found by following this link:
You Have to Take a Look Back in order to Take a Look Forward…

Today, I am going to talk about my dad’s middle childhood years, when his family moved overseas to Zurich, Switzerland. The experiences he had there were always fascinating to me, but when I was growing up and would ask my dad about life over there, he didn’t really have much he remembered. There were limited photos and some of my dad’s stories I assumed to be exaggerated. Since my dad passed away, my husband and I have spent two vacations visiting my dad’s brother and his wife, Uncle Ed and Aunt Dorothy, at their summer home in Longville, Minnesota (the ‘Turtle Race Capitol of the World’. No joke!). Uncle Ed has been an excellent source for accurate stories and memories, as he seems to have a memory vault as a brain! So this entry would not have been fully possible if it wasn’t for those late nights up in Longville talking with Uncle Ed, or the email he sent me a few weeks back giving me more details about their time overseas that I didn’t even know about!

My dad and his family lived in Beloit, Wisconsin, up until my dad was 8 and a half. My grandpa worked for Beloit Corporation (Later called Beloit Iron Works) and they established their headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1961. My grandpa was transferred out there as Chief Financial Officer. My grandma, dad, and Uncle Ed went out to meet my grandpa in Zurich in May 1961. They travelled by boat, leaving from the port in New York, with their final destination being LeHarve, France. My dad is fine on the boat, but apparently my Uncle Ed was very sick the whole time! They arrived in Zurich 10 days layer, where they stayed downtown at the Carlton Elite until they could move into Klus Strasse 46, and later moving to 173 Witikonerstrasse.

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The schooling my dad and his brother received over there is what I find most intriguing. My dad and his brother were three grades apart, which for some time meant they were at different school. My dad started in 3rd grade at an American school in Zurich in August 1961, as my uncle went to a British day school for 6th grade. It was the following year that things started to really change. My Uncle Ed began boarding school in Zugerberg at the Institut Montana, which at that time was an all-boys boarding school. The school is on a mountain and my uncle tells me they had fabulous skiing, and at that time, they had a 2 1/2 kilometer road that they closed in the winter for a sled run! My dad loved skiing and anything to do with winter sports! The school is still in existence to this date, but now accepts both sexes. I hope to someday travel overseas and actually visit Institut Montana! (There is a link at the bottom of this entry to the school’s website)

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Uncle Ed says the reason he was switched to boarding school was because of the better education. During the time while Ed was at boarding school, my dad continued school in Zurich and stayed at home with their parents. Ed only saw my dad on holidays during those years. My dad began school in Zugerberg in 1965, when he was in 6th grade. He was in the Juventus building. My dad apparently had no adjustment issues and had actually gone to the Zurich school with 2 of his new classmates. While my dad and uncle were now at the same school, they did not see each other much. They had different classrooms, different living quarters. They wold briefly see one another while waiting to enter the dining room, but did not sit together. They were seated by class with their teachers while in the dining room.

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My dad did not go home too many weekends, as there was much more to do at school than at home. Also, they went to school on Saturdays, so there wasn’t much time to even get back to Zurich! My uncle tells me that while he was an obnoxious, challenging teenager, my dad was nice and well-liked, but a loud kid. He was always watched out for by his brother, but rarely needed intervention! I personally enjoy the yearbook entries and comments they included about the students. Below are a snapshot of some of the real gems!

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The culture and worldly experiences my dad and his brother got to experience by being at boarding school in Zugerberg is amazing, and I’m immensely jealous! When my dad was in 6th grade (1965), they both went on a 3 week Easter trip to Greece and the Greek Islands. They went along with about 30 other students from Zugerberg. For Easter 1966, they both went on another 3 week school trip, but this time to Syria, Lebanon, Eqypt, Jordan, and Israel. My uncle tells me this one was simply an incredible experience, but that the political tensions were high-the Six Day War occurred the following year.

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I really value the stories and information Uncle Ed has shared with me recently, as my dad just would talk about general things from his experiences. Oh, and trust me, Uncle Ed has some wicked stories from their youth overseas, including but not limited to seeing The Beatles at some outdoor concert in Germany with a little-known-band called The Rolling Stones opening for them! I am sure if my dad was still alive and I asked more about these trips, he would divulge more stories, but he never just openly shared. I really enjoy finding out more about my dad’s past, because as I have eluded to before—-you need to know about where you came from, in order to enjoy where you are going.

links of interest in relation to entry
Beloit Historical Soceity
Institut Montana

I did not get this tattoo to promote my website…

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…but it does tie nicely into what I made my web address!

http://www.jemesouviens2004.com

A lot easier than the http://www.jemesouviens2004.wordpress.com. I registered the updated address through WordPress today. I figured since this is a year-long journey of running and reflecting, I might as well have a shorter web address.

The old address will still work, but send you automatically to the new and improved address!

I still plan on always updating a new post every Sunday. Periodically, I will write updated posts throughout the week.

What’s new? Check out the Race List link, as new races have been added! Spartan Race Red Deer on September 7th! Also, the dates for Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend 2014 have been confirmed.

Check the Charities tab and follow the links the to American Heart Association and Heart & Stroke Foundation personal fundraiser pages. We are just short of $1000 total between both foundations! The US fundraising page is in the lead with $500, but the Canadian counterpart is close behind! Thank you to everyone who has donated-you have made a positive impact on heart disease research in North America!

You have to take a look back in order to take a look forward…

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My dad was born on June 7th, 1952. That is according to his Quebec birth certificate. But according to Sister Janis Philip, my dad was born on June 8th, 1952. And his name was Luke.

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Handwritten letter for my grandparents from one of the Sisters at the orphanage

We can make a safe assumption that my dad was most likely born from an unwed Catholic girl. She was probably sent away from home after finding out she was with child, had my dad, and went back home like nothing happened. That seems to be the trend in this era and location. My dad spent his early years at La Creche St-Vincent de Paul. 680, Chemin Ste Foy, Quebec City, Quebec. It no longer exists, though I have found information regarding the orphanage online, through a museum located in Quebec City. http://museebonpasteur.com/Anglais/5_1_exhibitionandactivities.html

On May 24, 1954, my grandparents received a letter from the Catholic Home Bureau. “Dear Mr. And Mrs. Lammers: La Sauvegarde De L’Enfance has informed us by mail that they have selected a child for adoptive placement in your home. The child is a boy, born June 7, 1952….” My grandparents picked up my dad somewhere around the beginning of July 1954, as the next telling document I have in my possession is the “Application to File Petition for Naturalization in Behalf of Child.” This document was filed when my grandparents were able to legally have my dad become a naturalized US citizen.

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The “…seal of the court is hereunto affixed this 25th day of April in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and fifty-eight…”
My dad died 46 years to the date, on April 25th, 2004.

My grandpa says in the “Statement of Facts for Petition for Naturalization” (11) Said chid was lawfully admitted to the United States at Port Huron Michigan on July 4, 1954, on the automobile. (12) Said child is now and has been in my (our) legal custody for at least 2 years, since July 2, 1954 and has resided in the United States continuously immediately preceding the date of this application since July 4, 1954. It is very cool to see that my dad was not only taken from the orphanage shortly after turning 2 years old, but that he officially moved to the United States on the 4th of July!

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Images and articles from my dad’s naturalization ceremony in Beloit, Wisconsin.

I find all this history of my dad’s first 5 years hard to fully grasp. He never really remembered much of his early years, so he wasn’t ever one to have things to share with me. The newspapers, letters and photos we have were found at my Grandpa’s house after he passed away in 1995. My Uncle Ed, my dad’s brother, also had some important documents that have since been passed down to me. He is the only one who has the stories to tell, as he was there with my dad from the start. All of these priceless documents link together the young life of an orphan, whose life may have been very different if my grandparents had not adopted him.

I have dabbled with trying to find out information regarding my dad’s birth parents…it seems next to impossible. I have spoken to some people in Quebecpeople involved with the Church, government, workers at the Good Shepherd Museum...It seems that the adoption records in Quebec are under lock and key. I am a bit selfish, as I wish to find this information so badly now. My dad never wanted or cared to know about his birth family. With his heart disease being explained by doctors as simply ‘genetics’ I wish I could know about his family history. Maybe someday something will come to surface. Until then, I have these documents to cherish as they are an important piece of my dad’s past.

To Infinity & Beyond

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My dad in Disney World, April 2003…

This picture is the influence for this blog, in which I will be keeping a record of my preparation for the event of a lifetime. The training I am about to tackle is not new to me, however, the reflection and importance that will take place during the time leading up to the summit is what I have been dreaming of…what is that event, you may ask? Well, stay tuned….