Whitehall, Washington County
Catherine Charron is known to her family and friends as “Mémère,” the affectionate name for a French American grandmother. She is also widely known as a master storyteller, especially of those she learned from her Great Grandfather LaChapelle, a Champlain Canal “boatman,” and her Grandfather Charron, a farmer. During her childhood, it was still common among the Quebec-born elders in the Champlain Valley to tell old supernatural tales about le loup garou (werewolves) or the devil, as bedtime stories. Such cautionary tales taught community rules for behavior and prepared the young for adult life. After she left home Catherine forgot many of her stories, but reconnected with old friends, her family church, and some of the ways of her youth after she retired back to Whitehall. Since then she has devoted herself to researching locally for the old stories and has performed them often in recent years for family and community gatherings.