Monday, August 19, 2013


"Bonsoir, c'est Freddy, c'est pour la commande"... I hated those phone calls. How I truly hated those phone calls. Us kids dreaded Thursday evenings. We would make sure we were not downstairs around that time of night, when my dad's French customers would call in to pass on their order. I was like 14 or 15 at the time and my French was not that good to comprehend the fast as lightning French sentences. You know how those Frenchmen can rattle? Well, they didn't care we were only kids and French was not our maternal tongue. My father wanted us to learn French and school French was not sufficient. I don't recall us learning about "quatre fûts de Jupiler" in school. I had no idea what "fûts" meant and most of the time, I would scribble down: fuut. I would say: "oui" and more "oui" although I didn't understand a word of what that Freddy-guy was saying. It was really stressful and I knew my father would ask me if I had written everything down correctly. To be honest, I had no idea. I was supposed to repeat what I had written before putting down the phone, but I never did. There were no cell phones in those days nor caller ID. We never knew in advance who would be at the other side.
Was it helpful? I guess so. Do I speak French fluently? Absolutely not, but it's probably a whole lot better than the French my peers speak. I'm still not crazy about speaking French, but I manage. Je me débrouille, if you know what I mean. And if you don't know, it's probably because your father didn't run his own business and he didn't have a Monsieur Freddy call in weekly to place his order...

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