To send flowers in memory of Francine Leone Boulighine, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
My mom, Francine Boulighine, was a courageous and kind person who was dearly loved by her husband, daughter, son-in-law and her beautiful and numerous French family. Francine took a leap of faith moving from Toulon, France to Levis, Canada and ultimately Southern California. She learned English through speaking with her neighbors, watching Bonanza, Gun Smoke, soap operas and taking night classes. Before moving to North America she enjoyed working as an accountant near the port of Toulon, France. She often spoke of her work-life and getting her favorite sandwiches, pain baignat and merguez, as a special treat on her way home.
Francine was the seventh child of Lucien and Antoinette Ama born in a suburb of Paris. She had three brothers and three sisters. After World War II they moved to the south of France in a small town not too far from the beautiful mediterranean beaches. She was a good student, something she instilled in me as anything less than an A grade was not really acceptable in her book. In her youth she had long curly hair that she inherited from her mother and I from her.
In her twenties she met my father and after marriage they decided to move to Canada where I was born. She enjoyed living in a home that was right on the St. Lawrence River with a beautiful view of Quebec. Everyday she took the ferry to cross the river to her accounting job in the city. She always enjoyed sharing the story of how she got stuck on the river one winter evening as the ferry could not break through the ice.
After a few years in Quebec we all moved to Southern California. We all took a train from Quebec all the way to Los Angeles before settling in our new home. My mom became a homemaker, continued to improve her English and always picked me up from elementary school for lunch to make sure I had a good meal. When the kindergarten teacher suggested she no longer speak to me in French so I could learn English faster, she refused and made sure I would become bilingual, something I am grateful for to this day.
She loved taking the bus to visit my dad in Los Angeles, shopping at Central Market and taking us to enjoy dim sum at The Golden Dragon. Every other summer we visited our family in Paris and Toulon, France where we visited the historic sites in the city of lights with my uncle and cousins followed by taking the train to the beautiful provincial countryside in the south. Francine loved fields of lavender, good cheese and pate. One of her favorite things for breakfast was to dip a baguette with butter and blue cheese in her coffee. She loved visiting with her mother, brothers and sisters and made sure I had an idyllic summer soaking up French culture and learning how to cook amazing food.
My mom never met a cooking challenge she could not meet and in her later years living in Florida with her husband, Alain, she spent hours watching the food network and writing down recipes to make for us all at Sunday lunch. When she wasn’t doing that we all enjoyed taking Disney Cruises as a family and amazingly enjoyed a last cruise going from Quebec to New York where she had a chance to see where her North American adventure began.
She will always be in our hearts and remembered with much love especially when we come across the scent of lavender, a good French cheese, or songs from her very favorite artist Charles Aznavour.
Donations can be made in Francine's Honor to:
ST JUDE CHILDREN'S RESEARCH HOSPITAL INC
262 DANNY THOMAS PL MSC 512,