Yvette Thibault Obituary (1931 – 2023) – West Springfield, MA – The Republican

What can you say after nearly six decades. My father Kosto always told Yvette that Ivan helped her paint the house green that first spring and summer of 1964 after they bought the house right next to ours…the joke was that Ivan Joseph didn’t arrive until September! There are too many memories to put here, but I’ll state what comes to mind first. “Madame T’Bo” was a dear dear lady from the very day we all met 59 years ago. I was 9, Joey was 11, Gilles was 10 and Sue was 6. I remember well Sue’s first communion in 1965, and photos on the porch, all dressed in white with Pauline and myself getting in the picture too! Pepere Remillard tilling the ‘lower forty’ and planting tomatoes that were picked by the bushel for Yvette’s magical Ketchup. When it was simmering on that teeny gas stove ‘down cellar’, the fragrance wafted clear over to Chick’s Diner!
There were tons of photos I took of Sue in prom gowns, Cap n Gown, and wedding gowns on the front lawn in the heat of summer, (forgetting that George had forgotten to take down the Santa and Reindeer from the second story of the house!) Sue learned quickly how to work a hoop skirt and train on the staircase of The Coliseum!
Yvette’s sewing and upholstering skills were seen many times over the years between silly plays to some serious fashion design for yours truly, whether it was Easter 1971 or my wedding in 1996, or piece by piece copying an antique gown from Paris.
The supper table was full every night with always room for my brother and I without advance notice. Our different cultures and languages were never a barrier, they were embraced. There was only a four foot chain link fence between us, which was easily climbed over, (except by ME.)
Yvette’s culinary skills?…
My Aunt Athens, who always passed on dessert, raved over Yvette’s Raisin Pie. (My mother used to shake her head and never could get ‘that crust’) While my brother and I were ardent fans of her gourmet potato salad and baked beans, All revered her French Meat Pie.

Meanwhile on the other side of the shallow fence, Susie and I once, to surprise my Pop before The Big E was to start, made meatballs using 50 pounds of hamburger per batch! I damn near blew up the ‘hood’ lighting the pizza ovens in the rig that was in our driveway between engagements! (some surprise!)
That mammoth stainless steel mixing bowl however, made a great flying saucer for the snow covered hill between the two lots across the street!

The kindnesses that came our way were serious too,..when my Pop came home from losing a leg, George had orchestrated a ramp to the front door, which he used until his last day, and Yvette custom made a seat cushion, that could never have been purchased, after an earlier dreadful surgery that caused him to miss Joey’s wedding.
Back in 1968, there was much excitement next door with Uncle Aime’s big wedding in All Soul’s Church
His big sister Yvette stood in their mother’s place, wearing a gorgeous chartreuse sheath dress, with matching Fascinator, shoes bag, gloves and jewelry like a royal wedding. I learned that day to not stand close to the dance floor during a Quadrille! (I was horsewhipped in the mug by the long streamers on the back of Aunt Louisette’s light blue bridesmaid’s gown, and nearly got hit in the head with a matching blue shoe that came flying through the air!)

Both Gilles and Sue helped us at the fairs in the 70s (we did seven of them back then) and there are surely stories of each!
When Gilles married Jan Griffin in April of 1979, my brother Joey had the honor of being Best Man. It was at a big pink church in Pittsfield. Yvette looked like royalty again in peach chiffon, and at the reception, the Canadian crowd was so loud that nobody could hear the Best Man’s toast….until his fat brother bellowed ‘ALL RISE’ across the ballroom! When singing at mass in St. Louis Church (when George left us too soon and too suddenly) it was hot that day, and the guest organist stopped playing in the very middle of ‘Ave Maria’….and I sang a-capella without missing a beat….she just glared at me, I smiled, and promptly left. I so wish I could do that on Friday.
I was so honored to have Yvette and Sue at my wedding later that same year, and it wasn’t long after that Sue honored my own mother, by helping carry her into the Greek church in Holyoke,in March 1998 as a pallbearer.

I’d better quit while I’m still in one piece, but let me say that Madame T’Bo will always live in my heart, and many many hearts. As,the Greeks say:
May Her Memory Be Eternal.

Tampa Bay, Florida.

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