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Marius Barbeau A glimpse of Canadian Culture (1883-1969)
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Barbeau's Story

Home Schooling

There was in front of me a workbook with double-sided lined pages. At the top, inserted between two lines, there was the example written in pencil by my father: "Marius is disobedient." Things were not going well. My father was just next to me, angry because I would not obey. I had to fill up the whole page, following the example, in my own child writing. I looked through the open dining room door, to my right. It was a beautiful sunny day outside. I looked far away at the closed gate of the garden. That is where the apple tree of the earthly Paradise was. I was suffering. I had to write out my disobedience. That was the beginning of a major disagreement with my father, who was severe to me. Where was my mother? (I must have been five years old.)

During the winter, I would sit in front of the window with a book of elements.I watched the large flakes of snow fall, very slowly. I was fascinated by them, daydreaming. My mother would say, "Marius, study!" In the evenings, by oil lamp, near the panel table, my father would show me the four simple rules. For division, he would get angry at me. I no longer understood anything. He would grumble at me. I would cry. Definitely, I didn't have the disposition for study. When I was 11 years old, my parents finally decided to send me to the business college of the Christian Brothers schools, in Sainte-Marie de Beauce. I was no longer making any progress at home. And they were too busy to teach me well.

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