Remembering Linden French Teacher Marguerite Andersen
Photo credit: Wikipedia
October 15, 1924–October 1, 2022
Marguerite Andersen was known as “la doyenne de la literature franco ontarienne” and a renowned novelist, short story writer, and essayist. To Linden’s earliest students, she was an extraordinary teacher of high school French.
In 2018, Marguerite became a Member of the Order of Canada, honoured “for her role as a pioneer in women’s studies in Canada and for her contributions to francophone literature reflecting the Canadian woman’s experience.”
“Marguerite joined us in 1994, bringing an infectious love of learning to her students through drama, poetry, and novels,” recalls Linden founder Eleanor Moore. “She was a wonderful and exuberant supporter of French language learning. She even taught some students how to knit, and how to figure out the number of people that could fit into her Volkswagen beetle. She knew how to make the most of every opportunity. As a feminist and a pacifist, she tried teaching French to the military!”
Ashleigh Zellermeyer, who graduated in 2004 and now works for the St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation, shares this tribute:
“She was an excellent teacher, mentor, and friend. She loved to laugh and share stories about her incredible life. She made an impact. Only now can I fully appreciate how spoiled we were to have an acclaimed author teaching us French! She led our high school philosophy club which was made up almost entirely of our Grade 11 French class. The club was born out of a common desire to spend more time with Marguerite, discussing life's more important questions over lunch. What does it mean to be fully human? What does it mean to suffer? How do our experiences shape our character? Carefully and tenderly, she led us through heartfelt conversations that not only flexed our thinking but significantly impacted how we saw one another, deepening our friendships that remain strong to this day. And the beautiful plays! Although I wasn't taking French for the second half of Grade 12, I doggedly showed up during my spares so that I could secure a role! Albert Camus’s Le Malentendu stands out as a favourite, but nothing will top our Grade 12 production of Pique-nique en Campagne by Fernando Arrabal. A hilarious antiwar satire that is so solid in my memory that I could probably still recite my lines. Marguerite will always hold a special place in my memory.”