Alice's china

China from my great grandmother Alice
China from my great grandmother Alice

Each Thanksgiving I love the tradition of setting our table with the delicate china, painted with rust and yellow flowers and bright green leaves that was passed down to my mother from my great-grandmother, Alice Marie Lacasse Olivier.  Alice was the oldest girl in a family of 12 children.  Her parents were poor immigrants from Canada and she grew up in a tenement house owned by the Amoskeag Mill Corporation in Manchester, NH.   In 1930 when Alice was 14, she had to leave school to work full time in the Amoskeag Mills.  Her two older brothers were in Trois Rivieres, Quebec studying to be priests and Alice went to work to support her family.   In 1935 Alice’s father died suddenly and Alice continued to work to support her siblings.  In 1939 Alice married Marcel Francois Joseph Olivier on Thanksgiving Day and the beautiful china that I now cherish was sent as a wedding gift by her brother Lorenzo who was a US Army Chaplain stationed in Japan during World War 2.   Lorenzo had remained in school while Alice worked in the mills and he never forgot her sacrifices.  Alice never gave up her dream of wanting to return to school; she went back to high school when she was 60 & graduated valedictorian of her class in 1978.   Every Thanksgiving, as I eat tourtiere and pumpkin pie from Alice’s china I think of her.  Her china represents all the traits that matter most to my family:  hard work, tenacity, dedication, sacrifice and most of all, the importance of being there for the ones you love and never giving up on your dreams, no matter how many obstacles you have to overcome to achieve them.

Place(s): Amoskeag Mills, Manchester NH, Canal Street, Trois Rivieres, Quebec, Canada, Japan, Thanksgiving at home

– Gracie Marie McHugh

Relationship:  Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more Great-grandchild of im/migrant or more