Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Emma has tried to teach me French pronunciation.  With little success.  My mouth doesn't seem to work.  Also, Emma is an exacting la éducateur.  Considering I taught her English, I think she should be less sassy and more forgiving of my mouth when it doesn't work.

After over and over trying to get me to say Rouen to her satisfaction, she said, "Just call it Rue On.  It's fine."  (She said it with just a teensy bit of scorn.)

Still, I'm grateful for the reprieve.  I was tired of trying.

So I can't say Rouen, but I liked the city. I sort of fell in love with this cathedral there.

It had been there already for three centuries when Joan of Arc was killed in the same city.  The age of the place staggers my mind.

I am inspired by Joan of Arc too.   

I am not afraid...I was born to do this.  

And also, this:

Words to live by.

In the cathedral there was a tribute to Joan:

A statue of her and her sword

In the Musée d'Orsay gift shop I bought a postcard of a painting of the cathedral, done by Monet.  I put it in a little frame.

I wanted to remember Rouen and the way I felt in that ancient cathedral and the cobblestones beneath my feet on the narrow streets.

Sunday I was dipping my toes in the vast waters of my family tree.  I traced back the Egbert line of my ancestors until I came across Maria Thorel.  In 1649, she was born in Rouen!  I didn't know I had any French relatives.  I imagine its not too much of a stretch (because I'm an American) that I'm a mix of a lot of things. (I think they're mostly Caucasian though.  The undersides of my arms are practically blue they're so white.)

Perhaps, before she left Rouen, she walked down those same narrow cobblestone streets.  Perhaps she worshiped here:

She'd probably feel the same way as Emma does about my wayward pronunciation of Rouen.

Sorry Maria.  It's OK with Emma if I just say Rue-On.  I hope that's OK with you too. 

Ma jolie fille is taking her French AP exam today.  Better her than me!


Mark Dahl said...

Oh Thelma, you have such a way with words. Your mom

Olivia Cobian said...

That is so great about Maria and Rouen!


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