A close-knit family… right down to their residence!


Meet the Keables, a remarkable family who’ve made Le Groupe Maurice’s Station Est their home. At one point, an impressive seven family members lived together here! Today, with four family members still calling the residence home, they’ve graciously agreed to sit down with us and share their heart-warming experiences. What a wonderful way to celebrate this International Day of Families.

Seven people from your family living at Station Est at the same time. That’s unprecedented at Le Groupe Maurice. You were a large family indeed!

Jeanne: Not anymore, they’re all gone sweetie. (laughs) Yes, all seven of us reserved our spot in the residence at the same time, including my husband and the spouse of one of our brothers.

Michel: And seven people is nothing. We were a family of 11 children, so 13 people including our father and mother. Imagine what it was like with the spouses, grandchildren and now great-grandchildren… it wasn’t easy getting us all together. My nieces and nephews always say, “We need to rent a hall now to hold everyone!” We’ve grown too big.

How did you all end up together here at Station Est residence?

Pierrette: I saw the ad of the residence’s opening in the Journal de Montréal. My daughter Lyne was having dinner with me, and I asked her if she wanted to go see the place.

Jeanne: I was returning from a trip with my husband. Pierrette called me and told me about a residence being built nearby that she had visited with Lyne. But since they were only at the excavation stage, Pierrette thought the apartments would be in the basement! (laughs) She didn’t want to go! So after inquiring, my husband and I went to visit. Two hours after walking into the leasing office, we left with a reservation. We’ve been in our 4 1/2 ever since.

Michel: We spread the word, of course. My sister Monique and I also reserved based on the building plans. I think we were the first in the family to do so.

Did your other brothers and sisters move into the residence after you?

Michel: No, we all got there at the same time – at the opening! My brother Jean and his wife Huguette had also reserved their apartment, but unfortunately, Jean passed away two weeks before moving in. And our sister Denise had to go to the care wing shortly after our arrival. She unfortunately passed away today.

Jeanne: There are only three of us left here, plus Jean, my husband. We have another brother who lives in a retirement home in Joliette, while Mireille, our sister, is at the Résidences du Marché in Sainte-Thérèse. We’re all in a residence finally! We don’t see each other often, but we talk almost every day!

Did you all live in Montreal before moving to Station Est?

Pierrette: Yes. We lived close to each other in the Faubourg à m’lasse, as we used to call it back then.

Jeanne: Near Notre-Dame Street and Belleville Park. It smelled so nice in the neighbourhood back then.

Michel: Pierrette lived right across from me. Another sister of mine lived a bit farther away, so I was the one who would babysit the kids.

Jeanne: We moved around a bit because of my husband’s work, but we returned to the neighbourhood as soon as we could.

So all of you not only lived in Montreal, but also in the same neighbourhood? Incredible!

Michel: On the same street, even. (laughs) We lived on the street where we were born. Only Mariette moved to Boucherville. And when my parents started to decline, I moved into the family house to take care of them with my sister Monique. She wasn’t married either, and we eventually moved to the Station Est.

Pierrette: They always lived together!

Were you always such a close-knit family?

Michel: Yes. No one dared touch a hair on one of our brothers’ or sisters’ heads… or our parents’ for that matter.

Jeanne: There were no squabbles between us. We never heard a raised voice between our father and mother. Not once. In our entire lives. We had a beautiful family, a very happy childhood. We’ve always gotten along well.

So what’s the secret? I mean, you were 12 people after all!

Michel: Our parents didn’t tolerate squabbles. I don’t even remember hearing a dispute… even among us children.

Jeanne: We’ve always been very, very close, the whole family.

Michel: Today, most of them have passed away, all in their 80s and older. I guess we have a good nature about us!

Jeanne: I think it’s because we had such great relationships among ourselves… we were all there for each other, we always felt protected. I’m sure that’s why we live long lives.

Pierrette: As the baby of the family, Michel kind of had two mothers: our mom and me! I was 13 when he was born.

Jeanne: As soon as Michel was born, she took him under her wing, and she never let him go! (laughs) She always considered him “her” baby. Being older, but still too young to work, she took care of him all the time.

Pierrette: I remember he never wanted to go to school. He’d run away. I had to run around the block to catch him! (laughs)

Has your maternal instinct towards Michel endured?

Pierrette: Yes! Even today.

Michel: But now, it’s more like I’m taking care of her, because she had a heart incident two years ago and since then, she’s been forgetting certain things.

Pierrette: He saved my life! Lucky he was there when it happened.

Michel: I’m repaying her for what she’s given me my whole life.

Did this harmony between all of you come from your parents?

Pierrette: Yes, from the way we were raised.

Jeanne: My father helped at church, was involved with the less fortunate at Saint-Vincent de Paul and was an accountant at the Liquor Board. And our mother was at home with us. They were kind and loving parents.

Michel: My father came home for lunch every day. He worked just 5 minutes from our house. My parents loved each other very much, they were always together. Toward the end of his life, my father always had to have my mother in his sight. Three years after he died, it was my mother’s turn. Every evening she would ask, “When will he come to get me?”

Jeanne: They were such a close couple. It was inspiring for us.

Did you experience the same kind of relationship in your lives as well?

Pierrette: Yes, absolutely.

Jeanne: Me too. I’ve been in love with my husband for 66 years. We never go to bed before the other, we’re together 24 hours a day. And we never fight either.

Michel: I never got married. I had enough with all my sisters! (laughs)

You pass on what you’ve learned, I guess.

Jeanne: That’s what my daughter always tells me: “Mom, we’re giving you back what you and Dad gave us.” She has three kids, and my son has two. She welcomes us over every Sunday evening. Michel even comes with us. For me, having children is the most beautiful gift life can give us. And when you have grandchildren, you can’t even imagine how much you can love them.

Pierrette: I also have a son and a daughter. And two grandsons… who are quite big now!

What wonderful family values did you inherit and continue to practice?

Michel: Humour. And love.

Jeanne: We loved each other so much. And we never spoke ill of each other. We had a lot of respect for one another.

Pierrette: We were close-knit… and even today, even if we don’t see each other as often, we call each other a lot.

Michel: And here at the residence, we love welcoming each other at our homes for coffee after meals.

What advice would you give to ensure the happiness of our families?

Michel: To always try to mind your own business.

Jeanne: Knowing how to appreciate everything your partner does for you. And being able to tell them why. Recognizing how fortunate you are, expressing it and communicating it to the other person. I believe that’s the secret.

Pierrette: Take advantage of the age you are and live fully in the present. Because once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

If all families could be more like yours, people would be so much happier! What you’ve created together is truly unique, and it’s a comfort to the heart to listen to you all. We wish the Keable family a long and happy life. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and inspiring story with us.