Sunday School Lines

Nuggets December 23, 2011 18:00
By PenTales Pundit Elise Nardin, Zurich, Switzerland
With the PenTales Life Lessons Project we want to give 60+ years old and seniors a voice on the Web 2.0 (check out the call for stories here).  I interviewed my grandad a couple of months ago, and within an hour I learned more than he ever told me in the last 27 years.  He started telling me the story of his life …“Listen ‘Petite’, I was born in 1932, in the family house, so it seemed that it was a terribly cold day, there was snow and it was cold”.

Below is a short excerpt of the 45min interview that I chose to share with you. I chose this anecdote because, as he was done telling me ‘his story’, that special memory came to his mind. He had stars in his eyes and I could see the joyful kid he used to be.

“And, I’m telling you, in my childhood [thinking], from my childhood, I’m trying to remember…Ho! Of course we had Sunday school! So we had the Sunday school book. Each class, we had to answer different questions, and we had to write down our answers in italics underneath. Abbé Steiner was our teacher. Ah, the Abbé Steiner! He was a wonderful man. He was a hunter, a terrific thing at the time. He smoked what we call “coffin nut”. He would smoke this stuff  from his house and  when he got close to the church, he would…leave his stub on a stone.

And so, one day, I don’t remember what my friends and I were up to, but he gave us lines to write. So, we had to write with an ink pen, yes, because we didn’t have ballpoint pens. It was still with ink pen. So we had to write the answers down for a number of questions. And…then there was the Rémy (all these friends have died now) … We were writing these lines, right, and the youngest, he found the pipe and spit on all the work we had done!  The Rouli, ha, holy Christ, [laughs], bloody Rouli!”

His lesson: Do not let anyone tell you you are unworthy.

That was my grandad remembering a good memory, something that made him smile and laugh telling it. Did your grandparents once tell you a good memory they like remembering from time to time? Shoot us a “Good Memory” email today at with a good memory of something you lived with your grandparents. And, if you’re a senior, tell us, what good memories that bring stars in your eyes!

French version

“Et pis alors j’te dis, dans l’enfance, de l’enfance, j’essaie de me souvenir… Oh, bien sûr on avait le catéchisme! Alors on avait le livre de catéchisme. D’une fois à l’autre, il fallait pouvoir répondre aux différentes questions et puis sous la réponse il y avait encore tout un laius en itallique. Alors figure-toi que c’était l’Abbé Steiner qui était là. L’Abbé Steiner, c’était un homme formidable, il était chasseur, c’était terrible à l’époque, qui fumait des, ce qu’on appelle des les écrous de cercueil. Alors il fumait ça depuis la cure en traversant la route et puis quand il arrivait à l’approche de l’église, il mettait…son mégot sur une pierre de taille…Et puis, je n’sais pas c’quon avait fait avec les copains, il nous a fait une punition. Alors on d’vait écrire, à la plume, hein, parce qu’on avait pas de stylo, c’était encore à la plume…On devait écrire, euh, j’sais plus combien de questions avec les réponses et pis le texte en italique. Et puis j’étais, euh, y’avait l’Rémy, donc tous ces copains sont morts maintenant, euh, on allait…chez les voisins. On était en train d’écrire ça, hein, et pis y a le plus jeune, je sais pas c’qu’il a fait – on avait bientôt fini – j’sais pas c’qu’il commence, il trouve un tuyau d’arrosage, il nous gicle tout-le-travail-qu’on-avait-fait. Le Rouli, ah sacré nom de b – rires – sacré Rouli!”

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