Le Doigt: A Story of Paris and Planners | Giftie Etcetera: Le Doigt: A Story of Paris and Planners

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Le Doigt: A Story of Paris and Planners

As a little girl, I would visit Grandma Julie every Sunday. At first, we would pick her up for Mass, walking her slowly up to the front pew, so she could take communion without leaving her seat.

As she grew older and more feeble, we'd go to Mass alone, then visit at her old, raised wooden house about a quarter mile from the church, complete with a creaky front porch that oversaw the Mississippi River, while she watched Mass on television.

I was young, so I always tried to escape to that porch instead of sitting through a second Mass. 

paris, eiffel tower, france

Like clockwork, as the second Mass was ending, my great uncle would show up and bring Grandma Julie a communion wafer. No matter what, I was expected to go inside that old house during the communion.

I was pretty young when Grandma Julie died, having lived well past the normal life expectancy of someone born in her day.

Oh, did you think her name was Julie?

No, it was Julie, pronounced the French way. Her name sort of started with a z sound and the emphasis was all different.

Living in south Louisiana, we studied French in school, due to our many Cajun relatives and ancestors. But Grandma Julie didn't teach me school French. Oh, no.

That sweet old lady taught me all the dirty words in French.

French was her first language, and though I never spoke it fluently, it passed from her blood to mine.

I hadn't thought about Grandma Julie in a long time. Even when the terrorists attacks on Paris happened, and I felt them in my heart all the way across the pond in America, I didn't think of Grandma Julie.

But when I opened my planner tonight to write a blog post about planners, I noticed that French is so much a part of me that pictures of Paris are the design of pages I've chosen for my planner.

I've never been to Paris.

My heart squeezed. Suddenly, I understood why the Paris terrorist attacks, more than any other attacks, gripped me so tightly.

I've dreamed of visiting Paris, of seeing the home of my ancestors, forever. It's on my very short bucket list. French culture is a part of my culture.

For me, an attack on Paris was no different than an attack on America. Both made me scared, angry, and sad in the same way.

As long as I knew her, Grandma Julie had a crooked finger from some long forgotten injury. She warned us that if we were bad, she'd shake that finger at us from her grave.

At her funeral, my dad swears that he saw her shake that finger, right there in her open coffin in that old, beautiful church where we always celebrated Mass with her.

I can picture her, up in heaven, shaking her finger at those attackers for harming her beloved people.

I've never been to Paris. But Paris is in my heart.


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Cori Large said...

*hugs* I hope you do get to go to Paris soon.

Anna said...

America has a long history with France, since the beginning of our country, and it represents so much beauty and culture. I have had a very brief visit in Paris, and I have some friends that have moved there. I was really shaken and grieved by the attacks, too. So sad.

Lady Vader said...

Dear Kristy,

you just experienced what I call "generation memory" - you feel connected through your grandma to events long ago and/or far away.
Imagine which time span you and your granmother cover together, most likely more than a century. Imagine talking to your grandchildren in the future, telling them about Granma Julie - even more time covered.
This is something politics never seem to take into consideration: the long lasting memory of their people, because they're always bound for 4 or so years.

Paris is closer to me than to you; it has shaken Europe and our beliefs for a borderless and peaceful Europe in a peaceful world - now this seems to be out of reach.

But please take the time and come and visit Paris and Europe, it's worth seeing (and I've been to Paris only twice so far), there's much to see and learn.
Best wishes


Lori said...

Your grandmother sounds a little like mine. She taught us some things my mother was not too crazy about. What beautiful ties you have to Paris. I hope you get to visit one day soon. Thanks for sharing with Thankful Thursdays.