Marina – 8 avril 2011

Marina – 8 avril 2011

Since Grandmama got really ill in the last few weeks I have been thinking back on my precious times with her from over 30 years ago. Being the eldest grandchild came with perks. I was for a while the only child in Franval, and while there were certainly quiet times when I would have been happy for a playmate, there were many moments when I had Grandmama’s undivided attention and helped her with her daily chores.

Together we picked the redcurrants, passed them through a comb and made jam. Together we pruned and deadheaded the roses. Together we collected the “tilleul” to dry. Together we read and I developed my life long passion for lazing on my bed in the afternoon and reading, I read almost every book in the shelves of the children’s room and certainly read the bande dessinnees over and over again.

Grandmama took me with her to do the groceries, together we chose tarte aux pommes, chaussons and other goodies for tea. We went to the market in Thiberville and looked at the animals in the cages and tutted.

It wasn’t all rural, and I remember vividly a trip to Paris when Grandmama took me to the Louvres and the Orangerie and initiated me to the great paintings of Delacroix and Monet.

When Neve was born, Grandmama’s first great-grandchild, I thought it would be so obvious to speak to her in French, surely my mother tongue. What I hadn’t thought through, is that French is neither my tongue, nor my mother’s, nor my mother’s mother’s!

And it is for all these moments of wonder, amusement and learning that I will remember Grandmama as the rosy cheeked, white haired New Yorker that she was.