Friday, January 29, 2010

J.D. Salinger

To be honest until yesterday evening I didn’t know whether he was still alive or not.

I’m reading 'Raise High the Roof Beam Carpenters and Seymour an Introduction' at the moment. I’m about half way through 'Seymour an Introduction' to be precise. I’ve been carrying it in my bag for waiting room moments and to annoy Rob when he starts texting on his iPhone when we go for a coffee. A lot of waiting room people probably thought that I was slightly mad as I read and laughed out loud. I love the way he talks to me, his reader, in person. The part that really speaks to me is that he lived in close proximity (in the book) to someone who was a genius. Since Christian was ill and his IQ confirmed I’ve been drawn to people writing about this subject. Trying to get more clues, I suppose. That’s why I read very carefully every single word written by Bomarzo and André.

Dom lent me 'Raise High…', - in English - and I’ve asked her to bring 'Franny and Zooey' when she visits again (I haven’t been able to find it in her room). When I was at college we read 'The Catcher in the Rye'. I can’t remember the ending, but I remember lots of silly details and how I felt when I was reading it. I want to re-read it – just to see how it grabs me now I’m a lot older.

I didn’t’ know much about J.D. Salenger, but it doesn’t surprise me at all that he was a recluse. I wonder if he was a blogger. I think it would have suited him.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A little bit of Karma

I lot of the time people seen to think of Karma as a revenge thing. Karma is also a good thing too. Sometimes we get the chance to pay back the good karma. Sometimes we don’t realise it, but Karma is paving the way for us too.

Yesterday I went off to supervise exams on the bus. It was early in the morning and the bus was pretty full with students going off to Lycée (they start at 8 in the morning) and some older students. I prefer to sit on my own by the window but I couldn’t, so I asked a young lady if I could sit next to her and she said yes. Then we realised we knew each other. When Dom was at primary school she had a friend who was half Japanese. I always thought that they looked so sweet together, Dom was very fair with big blue eyes and S was dark with big brown eyes. Here she was – all grown up. I used to see quite a bit of the family and Rob loved the way that S’s mum and I managed to communicate in French (neither of us spoke too well back in those days), so of course I asked how everyone was. Apparently her older sister has been very ill with depression. I was able to talk to her about how we all felt when Christian was ill.

A few weeks ago Olivier and I were discussing the same thing and he spoke to me for the first time about how much he hated Christian being ill because everyone was so sad. So I made a point of asking S how she had coped with it all. She seemed pleased to be able to talk about herself.

Isn’t it true that when someone close is ill everyone is very kind and sympathetic, but the immediate family, the people carrying the load get missed somehow?

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Closer than we think

My retired lady arrived for her hours conversation this afternoon. She didn’t look too well and told me that her week hadn’t been good. One of her daughters is in the process of adopting a child from Haiti. She hasn’t quite got the passport and visa ready. The orphanage has come off quite well compared to other places because the children were playing outside at the time of the earthquake. Unfortunately now they are all worried about the children being fed and having enough to drink. Hopefully the paperwork can be hurried through and the children waiting to be placed with their families will be able to leave.

Now read Peter’s post.

Stop press, Friday 22nd eight-thirty pm :

We’ve just had a report on the evening news that a group of Haitian children have just arrived in France to join the families that have been waiting to adopt them. Unfortunately I don’t know what my pupils daughter looks like, so I couldn’ tell whether she was there or not. I’ll know more on Tuesday.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A true story

Perhaps I mentioned it here, perhaps on one of my other blogs. We bought some postcard albums in the autumn that came from a chateau. The albums belonged to a little girl and her mother. The little girl, Odette, used to stay with her Granny the countess when her parents were travelling. Because of the postcards we sold, the present owner of the countess’s chateau got in touch with us. Odette’s mother didn’t exist in any of the records he had!

This week I received a package in the post. With a little help from us and a lot from other places, he had pieced together the life of Odette’s mother. She wasn’t really the Countess’s daughter but the illegitimate child of a close relative (who died) and a nobleman (who acknowledged her as his daughter) Granny, the Countess brought her up as her own. There was a lot more in the document sent to me. Odette lived into her 80’s and died in 1983. Her only child, a daughter, died a year ago, unmarried and childless. This is how we came to buy the albums at auction. I’ve often pieced together the lives of the people whose postcards we’ve bought in the past, but never have I had anything confirmed like this. I think that you can imagine how pleased I am. Odette’s father, a Doctor, earned the legion d’honneur in the first world war and helped the Jews in the village where he was Mayor escape from the German army during WWII. I always knew he’d turn out to be a hero.

I’ve still got plenty of cards left in Odette’s album… and I’m still looking for more clues.

If you're interested, you can read here about the floods in Paris exactly 100 years ago.