June 2nd we caught yet another VIA Rail train from Ottawa to Montreal followed by a metro ride to Longueuil, on the south shore, where cousin Claudine, her husband Sebastien were living with their daughter Ericka. We spent several lovely days with this accommodating, fun loving bunch of cool relatives. Laura and I had stayed with them on our mother/daughter trip to Montreal and Quebec the month before she married Adam in August, 2010. I was so pleased to return with Bill this time because, since this visit, the Cicchillitti's have sold their suburban home in favour of a duplex in the old village of Longueuil.
|A warm welcome at the Cicchillitti's, yours truly, cousins Claudine and Marc Leblanc, aunt Loretta, Bill and Sebastien|
|My beautiful, 82 year old, aunt Loretta|
On my mother's side of the family the scales are tipped the opposite way to how it is with my agnate side. In this case I'm the elder cousin. Aunt Loretta is six years younger than my mother and was fourteen years old when I was born. I was fourteen when Loretta had her first child, Claudine. When Bill and I married, Claudine was seven. In essence, I had no cousins of playable age when I was growing up, but now, well now it's different.
When Sebastien married Claudine he adopted her sons, Adam and Nick. They are a tightly knit unit who care deeply for one another. Being with this family makes me feel as though I've come home. They are intelligent, engaging, artistic and enjoy life to the fullest.
|Ericka is not only a painter, she has an exceptional voice, as do her mother and grandmother|
|Do they like it?|
|The Roses 12" x 16" oil on board|
I first visited Montreal during Expo 1967, when I was almost nineteen, but I spent most of my time at the wondrous spectacle that it was without really exploring the city. In the two trips, of this past decade, I feel that we have only scratched its surface.
|The lovely, urban Saint-Louis Square Park in Montreal's Plateau area|
|Claudine and the colourful Victorian homes at Saint Louis Square|
|Claudine, Ericka and Bill in Old Montreal|
|We got a bit thirsty touring around The Port and Old Montreal so we stopped here for a beverage and a snack|
|An exceptionally cold and rainy day in The Village on St. Catherine's Street|
|At St-Viateur Bagel Shop they make the best bagels in the land|
|We had a feast at aunt Loretta's where we got to see two of cousin Marc's three sons. Bill with William|
|Daniel and Sebastien|
|Mount Royal, is a park on top of the hill over-looking the entire city of Montreal. From here you can see the Olympic Stadium|
|The fake goodbye photo, me, aunt Loretta, Claudine, Bill, Sebastien and Ericka|
On June 7th we bid the LeBlanc/Cicchillitti family goodbye pretending that was the last we would see of them this trip. We may have fooled Sebastien (the kids knew otherwise) but no one can fool Claudine who was not at all surprised to find us at their wedding anniversary celebration, June 11th!
|Bill with Sebastien who was either really surprised or faked surprise well to find us among their guests|
|Sebastien and Claudine in 2016 ...|
|... and on their wedding day, in 1991|
|Adam played amazing classical pieces for his parents and guests ...|
|... and Nick played and sang a wonderful rendition of It's a Wonderful World|
|Here they were engaged, but now they are married, Virginie and Adam|
|That night I shared a very special time with aunt Loretta|
|Ericka, Virginie, Nick, Sebastien, Claudine, Adam and aunt Loretta|
We departed Montreal for home the day following the celebration but there is still one last instalment of the trip left to be told. It's not officially part of The Friendship Tour as it didn't involve seaking out anyone. Our solo run away to Quebec City is up next.