Lost and Found

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Amedee and Matilda Dalbec

My mother told me this story about an aunt of hers.

In the 1870s northern Michigan was forested wilderness. My mother’s maternal grandfather, a French Canadian, logged old growth trees, cashing in on the bountiful harvest of lumber that build the Midwest.

One of Mom’s aunts, about three years old, wandered away from the camp. Everybody, even the lumberjacks searched until long after dark, but did not find her. As is usual in northern Michigan in the early summer, there was a frost that night. The parents gave up hope and thought they would never see their child again.

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Flora Dalbec, Minnie Dalbec (My great-grandmother) and Emma Dalbec (who was helped in the forest by the “gray lady”)

Next morning, the little girl ran from the forest, alive and well. When asked how she kept warm, she told everybody a gray lady helped her by giving her berries to eat and covering her with leaves and pine needles to keep warm.

Nobody  that fit the description lived in the area. All who heard the story attributed it to the child’s imagination.

That became Meena Mouse’s Perfect Raspberry. It’s a children’s story for ages three to eight that teaches the importance of responsibility.

 

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