My head and my heart are heavy this week as we reel from all of the newscasts that are flooding the media. I mourn with the people of France.
I have never been to France. But, my heart has. I took four years of French in high school. I don't know why. Everyone else seemed to be taking Spanish, which I probably should have done. But, I've never been one to jump on bandwagons, so I took French.
The first thing we did in French class was look up all of the bad words. To this day, the only things I can remember in French are beef, eggs, and telling someone where to go.
But, during my senior year I was invited to go on a special trip to France. I was one of the top students in the class, so part of the fee for traveling would be covered. Somehow, we would have to come up with the other part.
And, we did. Things were falling into place. I had my passport photo taken, which was awful. We could piece together whatever else I would need. My parents weren't too thrilled about it, but I convinced them I would be just fine with the group that was going. My French teacher with the tight little Cheerio curls had been there many times before.
Peggy - passport photo, 1973
As we were narrowing down to the day, out of the blue my brother-in-law felt I shouldn't go. What? He just didn't feel good about it. He talked with my parents, and they listened to him.
Perhaps it is well they did. Lightning hit the plane on its way over there. It didn't go down. All of the students were safe.
I guess I just wasn't supposed to go. For whatever reason it might have been, I wasn't supposed to be there. And, I wasn't.
I still can only remember beef, eggs, and telling someone where to go. Oh, and cheese! I remember cheese.
Aahh...brie, a loaf of French bread, some sparkling grape juice...
But, aside from the tragedy that has beset France, I have also been delighted to learn that I have some French ancestry -- something I didn't know during my high school years. That would have really been the icing on the cake!
I have discovered some ancestors that were French Hugenots, as well as some that were from the Alsace-Lorraine area, long before it created in 1871. There was always a dispute between France and Germany over this border area. My people are from both countries.
So, though I've never been to the country that came to rescue us in the Revolutionary War, a small part of my heart -- and my heritage -- remains there.