Monday, June 4, 2012

Do you remember?

I was 12 years old. Ready to change schools and enter a new world...

My godfather was French by origin. For most of his life, he had lived in Belgium. He never wanted to learn Dutch. There were some words he could pronounce and he understood most of what we said, but he kept talking French to me. I had just started to learn French and it was not of that level that I could have a conversation with him. So we didn't relate real well. He lived nearby and his wife and I got along well. She translated for me and she encouraged me to speak French. I never succeeded in having a good conversation with my godfather, but every now and then we got together.

He gave me a wonderful present. It was a beautiful doll. She was huge! She had pearly white hair with tons of ringlets in it. She wore a lovely dress and her feet were wrapped in shiny black shoes. She had ribbons in her hair. The doll was really special. You could undress her to find this little hatch in her backside. It could contain a teeny record. The doll came with 3 records, full of French music. One of the songs was Trois Mousquetaires. I would sing along and play the record over and over again, until I knew the song by heart. I can't remember the words. Not even the tune. But I do remember how special that present was. I don't know what happened to the doll. I guess I got too big for it and I'm sure it found a new place to live in the attic somewhere.

My godfather passed away a couple of years ago. My cousin let me know but I couldn't find a way to go see him before he died. I regret that. I wanted to have the chance to talk to him in French. Maybe not a whole conversation, but I could have tried to let him know what he meant to me. Every now and then, he's on my mind. Like today, when our oldest daughter told me the story of the Three Musketeers..

No comments: