February 16, 2014

Love, Filipino style



Norma and Art were married by his brother, the Rev. Gilbert Menard. But the parish priest was in attendance as well as Art’s brother, the Rev. Roland Menard, and sister, Sister Elizabeth Menard, a Dominican nun. A third brother, the Rev. Clarence Menard. didn’t make it.

When Art met Norma, she didn’t think much about it.

“I was young,” she said. “I was only 22. This was my first full-time paid job and everything was new. There was also big excitement with lots of new people. I remember I could tell he was interested. I remember that he danced with me. Somebody was teasing me, ‘I think that man is interested in you.’”


Norma and Art have three children, Leila (Joe) McVeigh, the Rev. Bernie Menard and Robert (Elise) Menard, and two grandchildren.

Art retired in June 2008 after 32 years at Northeastern Clinton. Norma is the executive director at Literacy Volunteers of Clinton County.

“It’s funny really how fate happens to work itself out,” she said. “It’s been a good marriage for us. We both value family, faith, education and community. We share a lot in common.”

If it wasn’t for his sprained ankle, and Norma missing a boat years before, they would never have met.

“Her aunt had asked her to go to college in Mindanao,” Art said. “The reason she missed the boat, her aunt and friend were supposed to go with her and got delayed in traffic. They had the tickets and the baggage.”

Norma was without either on the boat, so ran off before it departed.

“Norma’s father convinced her to take a competitive exam for a college scholarship,” Art said. “As it turned out, she got the scholarship and free tuition and board for four years. Otherwise, she would have been on a different island.”

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