it was the best year, it was the worst year...
fibertribe's tuscan love posts
have been haunting me. they remind me of a year we spent in france when i was growing up. i was a 4th grader which was cm1 or cm2 in the school i attended. here's the thing. the village of valaurie
was so small, the ecole grammaire was one room for the ce1, ce2, cm1, and cm2, that made 16 of us, all together. i knew i was not a ce, but i didn't know which of the cm i was. and i was too shy to ask my teacher. i was the world's shiest child -i actually remember sitting under
my mother's chair when company came when i was still small enough to do so.
if you click on the link above, the roof shadow on the right is being cast by the house we lived in. it had frontage on the main street and used to be a butcher's shop and house. mom converted the meat coldroom into a bathroom. first the floors had to be ground and polished free of what i imagined to be blood dried over years of dripping and pooling under the various hanging mammals and fowl. hefty hooks had to be chipped out of the walls and ceiling. even after major renovation, the house remained pretty crude. crude but cool. there were three wine cellars underneath complete with a press, and a chicken house behind it, that i converted into a playhouse for myself and my dolls.
one memory i have of those times goes like this. there was a celebrity french pop singer at the time by the name of claude francois
. this was just before he died of an electrocution in the bathtub sort of accident. my friend sylvie and i went around writing 'cf' for claude francois all over the village walls in chalk. i had another friend, a boy, named frederic, fredo for short. so, wherever my brothers and their cronies saw 'cf', they inserted '+' between the letters so it would read 'c+f' for corine loves fredo. just another instance in a myriad, alternating between abuse and adoration, at the whim of my good bros.
what else? did you know my brothers invented sailboarding? as are many of these villages, this one is situated on a hill and features country lanes switching back and forth up its flanks. my brothers considered these to be prime skateboarding terrain. they had these early skateboards
, primitive by today's standards. most french people in the area had not seen or heard of skateboards before. the thrill of wheels alone wasn't enough for my brothers though, they fashioned sails out of scrap wood and plastic sheeting to harness the mistral. i was as cautious as my brothers were crazy. my skateboard ride consisted of my parking my narrow ten year old buttom on the board and gripping the sides, gritting my teeth at the thought of the pavement grinding my knuckles around a sharp turn. i only ever ventured on one if trekking beyond the village, like to roussas
, with 'les garcons', the pace requiring extra effort on my part to keep up.
the earth has truly beautiful places on it, what nostalgia is gripping you this winter?