Interview with Jeanne Iannuzzi Ouellette & Jean Ouellette
Video interview in French with Jeanne Iannuzzi Ouellette and her son Jean Ouellette.
Jeanne speaks about her life growing up in Lachine, now a suburb of Montreal. Both her parents were born in Canada. Her mother was French Canadian and her father, Carlo Iannuzzi, was Italian Canadian. She very much associates with her Italian ancestry and identifies with her paternal grandmother Rosa Iannuzzi, who had a very hard life. Twice widowed, Rosa was a strong and determined woman; she managed to overcome her early poverty and other struggles and raise 10 children.
Jeanne's uncles Frank Iannuzzi and Daniel Andrew Iannuzzi were both interned. Her uncle Frank was living at home with his wife and his mother. He was seized from the bathroom where he was washing up after work. Jeanne recalls her grandmother's frantic and desperate reaction.
Jeanne's father Carlo Iannuzzi was a detective with the Lachine police force. As a result of the war declaration, he was made to surrender his weapon and was transferred to the Fire Department. During the war period, Carlo Iannuzzi tried to help the families of the internees, including those of his brothers.
Jeanne herself found employment at Bell Canada during the war. She notes some initial concern with her Italian heritage, and the suggestion she might relay information to the Italian cause, which she acknowledges seems ridiculous today. She was working the switchboard when the end of the war was announced. The entire switchboard lit up.
Her son Jean Ouellette shares his memories of his grandfather Carlo and greatuncles Daniel Andrew and Frank.