A MOMENT IN A LIFETIME
19 Years On Heron Island

For George and Stella

Foreword

Heron Island's Last Human Birth

The Legend Of The Phantom Ship Of The Baie Des Chaleurs

Some LaPointe Ancestry

The Mercier Connection

Beginning A New Life

The Island

The Children

Some Strange Occurances

The Day To Day Realities

Unforgettable Christmases

The Five Dresses

The Family Grows Larger

More Sons

The LeBlanc Fortune

The Last Son

The War Ends It All

Heron Island Today - a footnote

Last Word - The Legacy

Another Update On The Island and Some Photos

More Sons

In 1932, on May 13, a Friday, George Edward was born.
The whole family was over on the mainland at their Aunt Eva's house for the birth. When the doctor entered, carrying his black bag, he said that he just heard on the radio that they had found the missing Lindberg baby. Sometime before, a person or persons had entered the bedroom of the famed aviator, Charles Lindberg, and kidnapped his infant son. Bruno Hoffman was subsequently tried for the kidnap- murder of the baby and was found guilty and executed. It was probably the most famous kidnap case in history and was instrumental in changing the laws pertaining to kidnapping.


Even on Heron Island, the residents followed the trial closely and with great curious involvement.
Beatrice wanted to name the new LaPointe baby "Anthony", after Cleopatra's Mark Anthony, but Stella and George had already decided on George Edward, and they couldn't be swayed. Beatrice began calling him "Tony" anyway. Soon the whole family followed suit. To this day, to all the members of the family, he is Tony.
The Depression continued it's tight grip on the country, but on Heron Island, life kept on with the same beat. The families knew how lucky they were. When they ventured over to the mainland, even in the small communities, they could see the people going from farm to farm looking for work. Everyone in the villages would try to help as much as they could, but they were not much better off. It seemed that Heron Islanders were some of the lucky few to be spared the extreme hardships that the rest of the country must survive with.
On May 28, 1934, an event happened that helped to take people's minds off some of their problems. In a small farmhouse in Northern Ontario, five identical baby girls were born to Elzire and Oliva Dionne.


The chance of five identical babies being born alive boggles the mind. The chance of them surviving for any period of time was even slimmer. But survive they did.
They were named Marie, Emilie, Cecile, Yvonne and Annette. In the matter of a few days, the entire country was aware of what had happened in Callander. Over the years, they were to become even more famous than the little Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth, with only, perhaps, Shirley Temple being better known over the world.


The birth was instrumental in turning the economy of North Bay and its surrounding community around. Their fame was worldwide, and they would capture the hearts of every Canadian. All of Canada felt that they belonged to them.


On August 19, of the same year, Stella had her first child to be born on Heron Island. She would be in labour for some forty-eight hours and he would present himself posterior first. The doctor doubted that she would survive the birth, but it was too late to move her to the hospital.


Finally Stanley Leonard was born. After what had taken place in Callander the previous May, Stella was no doubt relieved that there was only one child born that morning on Heron Island. The midwife placed him, wrapped in a small woollen blanket, on the oven door, and kept the fire going, regardless of the heat, all night long, to make sure that he had no further trauma. The doctor had given the midwife some medicine in case Stella haemorrhaged after he left to return to his home on the mainland. She had to administer the medicine as soon as the doctor left. But in a few days, both Stella and Stanley were doing fine.


Stanley was small and always pale and seemed physically very weak, but just as bright as the others. When he was two years old, he was still not walking, but, unlike his sister, Dorothy, who had refused to walk, it was not that he didn't try. His back seemed too weak to carry him in an upright position.


Father Trudell was on one of his hunting trips to the island in the fall of Stanley's second year. He told Stella to feed him absolutely fresh tomatoes. If these were unavailable, the canned or preserved type would do, although fresh ones were to be preferred. These should be taken a few times a day, without fail. And every day he must be taken to the beach, and his back must be placed in the wonderful salt water of the Baie. When it was too cold to do so, the water must be carried to the house and warmed on the stove. Then he must be bathed in it daily.


Stella followed his orders to the letter, and within a few weeks, Stanley was walking.Stanley was once almost taken by what my family referred to as a "Bobcat", of which there were many on the island. Stella and all of the children were picking berries. As they arrived back at the house, Stella realized that little Stan wasn't with them anymore. As she ran back to try to find him, he came breathlessly running up to her, covered in sweat and screaming.
"The devil, the devil is after me. He has dandelions for eyes and feathers in his ears," he screamed. "He was all yellow and fur." He was chasing a rabbit and the "devil" ran out of the bushes and grabbed the rabbit and ran away.


Sadly, there are no animals on Heron Island today. Only birds. Once in a great while, a moose will swim over, but they never stay long. There are no reports of the "Bobcats" ever hurting a human on the island.
There were many rabbits, which were a source of many a meal for the islanders. Another source was seagull eggs. George had cleared an area of all seagull eggs. This way he knew that any egg that was subsequently in that area would be fresh. He would harvest these large eggs regularly. The family claims that they were as fine as any chicken egg and they didn't have to feed or shelter the seagulls as they would chickens.

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