Bergeron Family, Newspaper articles

How old am I?

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Cleonise Bergeron didn’t quite make it to age 94 despite what her obit said. 

My grandmother’s grandmother used to forget how old she was. It wasn’t senility. She just didn’t have to constantly type in her date of birth to unlock passwords, fill out forms, etc.

It’s my guess that birthdays weren’t that big of a deal 100 years ago. If you read the “Little House on the Prairie” series, then you remember Laura marveling over the tangy lemonade and sweet cake at Nellie’s birthday party. These were novelties to her so birthday parties must have been a rare thing on the prairie.

Back in the day, people didn’t have baby books and Facebook timelines. They didn’t even have birth certificates.

My father-in-law was never quite sure when his birthday was. He was born at home, and no one ever filled out a birth certificate for him. Complicating matters, his mother died when he was young. He finally looked at his baptism record, but it was smudged. So he arrived sometime in September 1918. No one remembered what day.

I was thinking about birthdays when I found an obit for Cleonise Estelle Rousseau Bergeron, who was married to Jean Baptiste Bergeron.

Cleonise was born Oct. 4, 1818, and died at age 88 in 1907. She had six children and outlived half of them.

The Lafourche Comet dutifully reported her death and noted that she was 94 years old. She most certainly wasn’t that old. No doubt, her family knew she was of an advanced age and just how advanced that age was got exaggerated.


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