136 years of (Paquin) piloting on the St.Lawrence river
The Moulin de la Chevrotière (Mill) at Deschambault has held for the last few years, in this attractive village, a very interesting public exhibition on maritime history.
This historical retrospective is given a very flashy name: "Magiciens d'eau" (Water magicians). One can see a scale reproduction of the St.Lawrence River facing Deschambault. Moreover, we can make contact with these water magicians, navigators by trade, captains and pilots all of them being sons of Deschambault streaking the St.Lawrence river for the last 300 years.
I have always been impressed by this exhibition. Something deep and sacred attracts me. No doubt this exhibition, reviving the naval past of Deschambault coupled with the fact that my father was a pilot on the St.Lawrence river, makes my family maritime roots vibrating again.
While going around the exhibition, by pure coincidence, I found the answer to a question I had in mind since my childhood. It goes back to 1941, I was eleven years old. As children of Deschambault, my brothers and I often went to my grand father Fortunat Paquin's farm. Farming life has always been fascinating to us.
During vacation, my grand father decided to reorganize things around his shed. When digging under an old pile of lumber, we suddenly found a ship anchor. Where does this anchor come from, I asked my grand father? He was surprised to realize that the oldest of his grandchildren ignored the origin of the anchor, eventhough it was considered a family treasure. "But my son replied the grand father, it's uncle Joseph's anchor!"
Throughout the years, my father had given Sophia's anchor to my brother Jean-Guy. I want to offer my sincere thanks to Jean-Guy who accepted to return this anchor to Deschambault, where it originated from, to be part of the master piece of the memorial dedicated to our ancestors.
On the following September of the same year I, I was starting my classical studies at the Trois-Rivières seminary. On January 6, 1942, my grand father was starting his eternal life.
During all those years I said to myself: "One day I will find out where does this anchor come from and who was this uncle Joseph."
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