(If you are tuning in this morning and haven’t read this post yet, please pop down and read that first. This post will make much more sense if you do!)
I’ve had a long-time fascination with France. Part of it may be my heritage. One of my mother’s cousins traced our family’s ancestry back to the time of the French Revolution; that’s when it appears my ancestors first headed for North America and settled in Quebec.
When I was in 4th grade, foreign language was offered as a class for the first time. I can’t remember if we had a choice of taking French or Spanish or if my class was simply given French. I loved it! I had started taking flute lessons in school that year too, but if the flute lessons coincided with French class, as they often did, I refused to go!
My love affair with the French language continued into junior high school, where I’m sure we had the choice of French or Spanish. Seventh and eighth graders were allowed to take the equivalent of the high school class French 1 over the course of two years, then begin French 2 as a freshman. I loved it so much, my teachers decided to place me in French 3 as a freshman.
One other freshman girl and I were in the class with many upperclassmen. I was undaunted and I began my long-standing “pen-pal” relationship with Regis in France. I still remember my French teacher passing a list around the class with the names and interests of students who were taking English class in France. At the time I remember being proud of myself that I could also read the teacher from France’s side notes on the list too! I selected Regis from the list and happily wrote my first letter.
In the summer of 1990, three years after we graduated from high school, Regis and I met in person. He was travelling the United States with a youth group. At the time he was to be in Massachusetts, my family was going to be on vacation on Cape Cod. Hating to miss the opportunity to meet in person, we figured out a plan! (Remember – this was pre-internet, pre-email days!) He took a bus to Cape Cod, and I picked him up and brought him to our vacation rental.
By the time we met in person, I felt badly that my conversational French had gotten fairly poor. I started college with plans to become a French teacher, but after freshman year, I decided I was no longer able to understand French with the fluency I’d eventually need to pursue it as a career.
Regis and I still keep in touch. We are friends on Facebook, and we still write a letter along with a card around Christmas. His son Marc and my daughter Meghan are the same age. I hope that we will get to meet again in person again someday – but next time, in France! Despite the fact that my French is no where near as good as it used to be ( I can still read some French), a visit to France is on my “bucket list.”