By Richard Valeriote
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Extra info for Alice Street: A Memoir
Nothing. ” My face and neck burned. She ﬂashed me a frown, then went back downstairs. I sat in the attic, hugging my knees, my stomach churning. I was in the biggest trouble of my life. I was the condemned man waiting for the clang of the prison door that signaled the guards had come to drag me off to the guillotine. It took about a half hour, and the clang took the form of the deep, commanding voice of my brother Silvio, the doctor, resonating through the ﬂoorboards. ” The Fortunate Disaster / 21 I descended the stairs with shoulders slumped and wobbly knees to ﬁnd with Silvio with a man in a bulky ﬁreman’s jacket and a stony look in his eyes.
Curious, I followed them into the Piquette home where I found my uncle kneeling on the ﬂoor over Mrs Piquette’s lifeless body. He gently moved her arms to see if she was conscious, but no response. He tried a crude version of resuscitation, pausing now and then to cross himself. Yvette was on the telephone, hysterical, calling for an ambulance in a mix of Canadian French and broken English. It arrived in short order and Uncle Vincent and Yvette moved out of the way while the medics tried to resuscitate Mrs Piquette.
She had seen the hearse come and go. I told her the sad story. She listened, stroking the curls on my head. Then she sighed. ” °°°°° I was an eager worker as a child, always willing to do chores at home or at the store. Inspired by my observations of everyone else’s sweeping techniques, I enjoyed experimenting with ways to do my chores better. My sister-in-law Lola, Dominic’s wife, once asked me to rake up the cut grass from the yard behind the store. I was seven years old. I went right to work and in no time had a nice tidy pile of dry grass cuttings.
Alice Street: A Memoir by Richard Valeriote