It’s that time of the year: Impact a life

It’s that time of the year.  Families get together, open gifts that were thoughtfully (or not so thoughtfully) purchased, eat, make merry, yada, yada yada.  As usual, I’m behind the 8-ball.

It’s also the time of year where you can make a serious impact on someone else’s life.  This can be done by donating your time, donating material or donating money.  I’m a big fan of donating my time with Toys for Tots.  This year was no exception.

This year, like every year before that I have been a part of Pack/Troop 410, we (the troop) swooped into the NH Toys for Tots depot in Londonderry and took over.  It’s a pretty funny sight, 10 kids with 6 adults swooping in and running roughshod over the tasks of counting, sorting and bagging up toys by age and gender at a rate that astonishes the Marines in charge of the depot.

The Toys for Tots program itself is a fantastic way for people to make a positive impact on a child’s life; whether by donating an unwrapped toy at a Toys for Tots box, or donating time to help get those toys into the hands of a child.  I can’t help but feel proud of those boys volunteering their Saturday to help.

If you still want to impact a child’s life this Christmas season, but feel it is too late to get on the Toys for Tots train, you still can do something.  There is another phenomenal local (read: Merrimack Valley Massachusetts & New Hampshire) charity that needs your help every day of the year.

Catie’s Closet

(The following is taken right from their website)

Catie’s Closet improves school attendance and removes social stigma by providing clothing to students living below the poverty line.  For students in grades Pre-K through 12, we build “stores” or “walk-in closets” inside schools so kids have immediate access to what they need, free of charge.

Providing up-to-date clothing and shoes, new toiletries, and school supplies to students – in a sensitive and discreet environment – increases students’ self esteem and sense of belonging.  Students want to attend school and can do so without the worry, distraction, and social consequences of not fitting in. 

Catie’s Closet has evolved from a family-sponsored project into a social enterprise. The project began as a tribute to Catie Bisson, a graduate of Lowell High School who was passionate about the power of education. Catie was a sophomore at Bridgewater University when she passed away at the age of 20 due to a connective tissue disorder.  Her dream was to be a writer and author. Catie felt strongly that education should not be a privilege and so her family sought to honor her memory by helping kids succeed in school. They opened the first Catie’s Closet in a single school. 

Today, Catie’s Closet serves 12,000 students in 22 schools in Lowell, MA and Hudson and Nashua, NH.

This Christmas season, please consider helping out Catie’s Closet.  You can do this three different ways (clicky):

Donate your TIME

Donate some CASH

Donate some CLOTHES

Catie's Closet


Merry Christmas,


My Dad is Santa

No, seriously.

Every year now, he dresses up as Santa Claus for all the schools in his area.  He also rides in the parades. So in June, he starts growing out his hair and beard in preparation for his winter duties.

So, he started “playing” Santa Claus quite a few years ago, (I really don’t remember what year it was), but I remember clearly one year he had played Santa, and freaked my cousin Phil out. I think Phil was like 3 years old at the time.

But I don’t think he is really “playing” Santa anymore. I think that when he lets his hair and beard grow out, and puts that suit on, he really becomes the man. During this time of the year, kids start following him around in wonder. At the gas station, at Wal-Mart, anywhere, kids will start following him around, tugging on their parent’s sleeves, giggling. So Dad will turn and look at them, and give them a low “ho, ho, ho.” How cool is that?

The first year that he became Santa Claus, the stories that he told me about his experiences were heart wrenching. You could hear it in his voice how affected he was by the kids he talked to. One little girl asked him if she could have “her Daddy back” for Christmas. Later on, he found out that the little girl’s Dad had died saving her from drowning. How do you respond to that?

My sister Amanda told me about one little girl that had seen a mall Santa. The little girl asked Santa if she could have seeds for the family garden for Christmas. Families down in that area are pretty poor, and you know, that little girl was thinking of her family. So the mall Santa says to her “wouldn’t you rather a doll or a toy?” After a while, the little girl just accepts the fact that Santa only gives toys, so she agrees with him and says she would like a doll instead. Amanda was there for the whole episode.

The next day, my Dad was Santa at that little girl’s school. Amanda told Dad what had happened at the mall with the mall Santa, and gave Dad a bag of seeds. It had carrots, cukes, squash, and all kinds of vegetables. So the little girl gets on Dad’s lap. “What would you like for Christmas little girl” asked my Dad. The little girl looks at him and says “I would like a doll.”

“Wouldn’t you rather have some seeds for your garden?” Dad asked, and produced the bag with the seeds in it. “You really are Santa, aren’t you?” That little girl’s hopes were boosted and forever changed by my Dad; Santa Claus.

This year he changed his glasses to better complete the illusion, and he absolutely nails it.  You tell me.  You think he nails it?


Ron Simoneau© 12-17-2014

Dead ends. Literally

So I’ve hit a few dead ends on my “little” project, but I’m actually happy about that.  It’s forcing me to finish up some loose ends with the newer generations, add pictures, etc.  Lots of great research going on.

Is it weird that I’ve taken a liking to reading obituaries?

There are a lot of great resources (that I have found so far) that are free.  However, it seems as though every time I find something I really need as a fact citation, it has a “subscription” fee attached to it.  Every nickel and dime….

I’m getting a good amount of family oral (read: unpublished) history as well from various sources, especially about one of my great grandfathers.  It seems he was a real bastard to his wife and kids.  He was a very abusive man, both mentally and physically.  He liked the booze too.  Liked it so much, he named 2 of his sons Phillip A., and was prone to spelling his first name 5 different ways, all documented.

Well, as “they” say, you can’t choose your family.  HA!

Genealogy, what a beast

Seriously.  The file I had saved in 2007 included Sevigny, Simoneau, as well as the start of Betty, Arpin & McGaunn. has been a huge help so far finding missing dates, family members, etc.

Weirdly enough, the family tree has been expanded under Benjamin Simoneau’s tree, as well as Omer Sevigny’s tree, I think by accident.  It’s pretty interesting when you find out who you end up being related to.

That said, I’m finding that I shouldn’t fight it and keep the tree “narrow”, rather; put it all together, then parse out the information later.  Fortunately, the Family Tree Maker allows you to do that, so I should be able to make some really cool trees in the future.



Genealogy = History

I’m going to do it.

I’ve decided to update and complete my genealogy project that I started 10 years ago.  That said, I’ve found my files that I saved back in 2005 on my network drive, and have been reaching out to relatives to help me with the project.  I have a fairly comprehensive baseline, but because data sharing is 100000X better now than it was when I started in 2004, I feel as though I can complete a more comprehensive file to be shared with the family.

I’m hoping that by the time I complete this project, I will have enough to make a nice coffee table book for the relatives.

Facebook has made this process so much easier, much easier than the old bulletin boards.  Stand by Simoneaus.  This project is going to encompass the family of Samuel & RoseAnna (Sevigny) Simoneau, so I will be doing this project with two families in mind.  The Sevignys have done a TON of research, and have found their records going back to  Julien Charles de Sevigny dit LaFleur.  How cool is that?



It was a good time, thanks!

Thank you supporters.  Thank you for your donations towards my campaign.  While I didn’t win this time around, I had a really good showing for my first time out, and missed out by a whopping 38 votes.

It was a very intense learning experience, and I intend on running again.

I have changed the website format back to being a garden variety blog site, and will most likely use it on a semi-regular basis.