My family tree just got a little larger

Okay, so my family tree on the maternal side of my family just got a little more detailed.

I was contacted last week by the stepdaughter of Jean-Yves Dagenais.

Jean-Yves Dagenais is my uncle. He’s the younger brother of my mother.

Albert Lawrence Dagenais was my other uncle. I knew Uncle Al. When Richard’s violence and drinking flared up while we were living on Canadian Forces Base Summerside in PEI it was Uncle Al that my mother wanted to take my brother and I to stay with while she figured out what to do with Richard. Al died in 2017.

One thing that I didn’t know about Al is that he was only in the Canadian Forces for about 7 years before he left the military and went into private industry. I guess Al wasn’t trapped by the Canadian Forces. My father, outside of the Canadian Forces, had absolutely no prospects on civy street.

Richard and Al both joined the Royal Canadian Navy in 1963. That’s how they met.

1963 + 7 = 1970

October 23rd, 1969 was the date of the HMCS Kootenay gear box explosion which was the “worst peacetime incident” in the history of the Royal Canadian Navy.

When I met Chris Legere in Halifax in 2014 he said that a lot of men fled the navy in the aftermath of the Kootenay. I wonder if Al decided that enough was enough.

On the maternal side of my family we have:

Albert Joseph Dagenais – maternal grandfather (???? – 1974)
*Marie would have been about 27 when her father died.

Alma Zong Dagenais (possibly Alma Mary Viola Zong) – maternal grandmother (1920 to 1961)
*Marie would have been about 14 when her mother died.

Albert Laurent Dagenais – older uncle

Marie Annette Jacqueline Dagenais – mother

Jean-Yves Dagenais – younger Uncle.

One interesting thing that Jean-Yves’ stepdaughter indicated to me is that my mother’s name “Marie Annette Jacqueline Dagenais” does not appear in Uncle Al’s obituary.

I don’t know what the story was, but I picked up that something wasn’t right when I tracked Marie down in late 2013 and talked to her about some of the answers that Richard had given to me when I examined him for Federal Court.

She talked about Uncle Al, but she didn’t have much to say about Jean-Yves.

She talked about her mother, but she wouldn’t say anything about her father other than he had been in the Royal Canadian Navy and that’s why Uncle Al joined the navy.

Jean-Yves’ stepdaughter said that there were issues in the Dagenais household with the patriarch Albert Joseph, but she wouldn’t say what.

What is odd though is that my medical records state that I was admitted to the IWK Children’s Hospital as a “border” due to the recent death of Marie’s father and that she was having a difficult time.

When I found out in 2019 that my father had died in 2017 I didn’t care. In fact, I felt relieved. I’m not sure if Marie is still alive or not. And I’m honestly not sure if I would be upset to find out that she has died. When you think about it, she’s had my phone number and address for 8 years now and she hasn’t called or written once.

In knew about Lawrence Dagenais from when I talked to Marie in December of 2013. She said that we often played together on CFB Shearwater, but I can’t remember him. I can remember playing with Jennifer and Kimberly, and a boy named Trevor, but I can’t for the life of me remember Lawrence. I didn’t realize that Uncle Al had other children as well. There’s Vincent, Cynthia, Suzanne, and Ellen. According to Marie, Lawrence Dagenais is 2 days older than I am. We were both born in the Salvation Army’s Grace Maternity Hospital.

One thing that I’ve learnt in the last ten years of dealing with the ghosts from CFB Namao is that my family was defective long before Richard married Marie. One other thing that I’ve also come to realize is that there’s nothing odd about this. Dysfunctional families are a dime a dozen. That’s why every city in this country has a children’s aid society or a social services system.

In Canada in 2011, there were over 47,000 children in the foster care system.

I was supposed to have been placed into foster care in 1983 except that my father was able to evade Alberta Social Services by obtaining a posting from the Canadian Armed Forces which allowed him to move out of the jurisdiction of Alberta. So I have no doubt that the 47,000 number is on the low side, and I don’t mean from military families, but due to all families that no doubt have a way to stay a step or two ahead of the local social services. In Ontario my family was supposed to have been placed under the care of the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto full time, but according to my paperwork from Children’s Aid, budgetary matters and staffing concerns meant that Children’s Aid would only have placed my brother and I into care had there been complaints from the neighbours about abuse or neglect. But living on a Canadian Forces base meant that there would be no complaints.

I know that my father had parenting issues due to his mother’s issues.

It’s obvious that my mother had parenting issues due to her own family issues.

It’s probably a good thing that I’m not reproducing.

At least this way I can save humanity from another generation of defective Gill genes.

One thought on “My family tree just got a little larger

  1. I think of you often! In fact, you haunt me and I just want you to know that I really do care! You were/are part of my family and I’m not about to forget you or lay you aside. You have no idea how very sad your story makes me! I wish you the best and am here if you want to correspond.

    Like

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