Blog of Oonah V Joslin -- please visit my Parallel Oonahverse at WordPress

where I post stories and poems that have not been seen elsewhere - also recipes and various other stuff.

and see me At the Cumberland Arms 2011

Friday, 31 May 2013

Food for Thought for Friday -- Lorsque Nous Etions Jeunes

It came about recently that my friend Jennifer on the Flash Poetry forum at WriteWords challenged my memory and provoked a chain of events. Here was the challenge:
Use 2 words.
No 1: Stimulation as we all need that at times.
No 2: Assumption.
in any way, shape or form.

Assumption? I thunk and thunk! So many meanings to choose from...and yet that word held a deep significance for me that I had quite forgotten about (and that Catholics will immediately recognise) -- 
15th August -- Assumption Day!

I spent that summer with the Bardy family. Michel, le pere, Auguste, la mere, Aurelie et Camille, les grandparents, Elisabeth (17), Jean (14) et Olivier (6), les enfants. I was supposed to speak English to Elisabeth and Jean but they weren't keen so I got to practise my French quite a lot.

We started off in Paris, travelled to the Charentes for a wedding, then on the Saint Crepin, nestled in the beautiful unspoiled National Park of Aveyron, then to Marseillon sur Plage near Sete, back a while to St Crepin where M. Bardy's father was the tailor, and eventually back to Paris for my final week. It was incredible! It was also the hottest summer for many decades. I barely went out in the sun prefering the shade.
Tu vas attrapper un coup de lune, Oonah
They told me :) They were very kind to me -- all of them. They even arranged for me to spend a Sunday at a Baptist Church in (I think it was) Vianne.

But on 15th August, a day that meant nothing to me (being a Baptist) I was included in the Assumption Day celebrations at Laval de Roquecezière. The focus of this;  the lovely statue of Notre Dame de Roquecezière at an astounding viewpoint in the mountains.

I was accorded by the curate, the tremendous privilege of reading The Lord's Prayer that year at the service. 

I was 22. I was green and young and probably a bit arrogant and I may not have given the moment the place it deserved. But when Jennifer made that challenge, it came flooding into my heart like the warm summer of 1976,  and I suddenly longed to remember it all -- the place, the people, the prayer, the statue.

I looked it up on the internet. I wrote about my memory of the place and to my astonishment got a reply fron a M. Tourel. And he knew Elisabeth Bardy!

This week I had an email from Elisabeth Condomine nee Bardy :) 37 years later -- and I sent her the few photos I have. So few...I was able to photoshop so that the pictures looked almost new.

37 years have passed. PC's and emails were no more part of that world then I was part of theirs and yet for a brief time time I was. And now thanks to the wonders of modern technology I say encore une fois, 

'Bonjour Elisabeth.'