Grandma, tell me about…

Nuggets April 4, 2012 12:24

By PenTales Pundit Elise Nardin, Zurich, Switzerland

Granpa and Grandma, 1954, France

Granpa and Grandma, 1954, France









Here at PenTales we love sharing stories. We’ve recently launched the Life Lessons project and we’ve been getting a lot of submissions, which we are thrilled to share! Life Lessons aims to get generations together, to talk, to share nuggets of wisdom. The story below is touching because it is the direct result of the Life Lessons call out. A grandaughter reconnected with her grandmother asking her to share a story of her past. A little anecdote about WWII, tea and being 16 years old during that hard time. I’ll leave it to them, to you.

“I’ve never been really close to my grandmother. I sure spent a lot of time with her when I was a kid but since I grew up we lived our own lives without calling or writting to each other.

Therefore when I asked her to tell me a story from her past I had no idea of what she could tell me. I realized I barely knew her. I know that she used to be an English teacher, but I had no idea where she lived, who were her parents… I felt bad not having been able to call her more often, to ask her questions, to share things with her. But what is done cannot be undo. So, when I asked her to tell me a story about her life she decided to write me a letter and told me about how her exode began during World War II.”

« In June 1940 the German army was invading France. I was 16 years old and had just stood for the written part of the ‘baccalauréat’, when on a Friday afternoon, my father, who had been to the town hall, came back and said to my mother ‘Darling we have to go. The bridge over the Loire is going to blow up early in the morning to stop the Germans. The four of us (my brother was seven years old) have to leave now’. In great haste we prepared a rucksack and our bicycles. I still can see my brother’s teddy bear pointing its head on the top of his bag. I was terrified. The road was dark and the military planes were threatening. We were cycling among other people. Suddenly we were overrunned by a convoy of English militaries and one of them lost control, made a swivel, kicked me in the back, recovered, swivelled again and kicked my father, then crash in the ditch. My father and I were bruised but not too badly, though our bicycles were scattered into pieces. Happily we were rescued by another English convoy and in the back of the truck the offered us… a cup of tea ! They carried us to Poitiers where my uncle took care of us and that was the firts part of my ‘exode’ which was the name given to the historical and sad part of French history. ». Simone Castagnac, 85 years old, Blois, France.




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