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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lefebvre family

Yesterday I mentioned my dinner guests Odette, Philippe and Nathalie. I realize I've never properly introduced them. So let me try.

When Charlie and I lived in Paris in the 1970s we both taught English to adults. Charlie had a student, Pierre Lefebvre, who invited him to come to his home to give English lessons to his family. These lessons took the form of English speaking dinners. Pierre and his wife Odette hosted these dinners once a week and invited friends and extended family to come and speak English. There were typically at least eight dinner guests each time, and oh! the food!!

Charlie would come back recounting tales of the most incredible dinners - typically 5 courses, and what a revelation for someone growing up in a working class Denver family and now scraping by on the meagre wages of an English teacher.

Eventually, I was invited to join Charlie at the Lefebvre family English-speaking dinners and was gradually introduced to their large extended family.

Pierre was one of eight children, and we eventually became acquainted with his mother and all of his brothers, sisters, their spouses and children.

Odette was one of 12 children and while we never met all of her siblings, we were close to one sister and brother-in-law who later offered Charlie a much better job in a French company.

Pierre and Odette have 4 children: Jean Marc is the oldest. I wrote about him when we visited in Grenoble and St. Nizier. Here is a picture of his family:

Dominique is next. Here is a recent picture of her with her 3 children.

Philippe and Bruno are identical twins. They were only 10 years old when we first met. Philippe now lives in an apartment in Passage d'Enfer and Philippe and Nathalie are my neighbors during my frequent stays there. Bruno and his family live in Toulouse, so I haven't seen him yet. Here is a recent picture of Philippe and his companion Nathalie.

Our friendship has been a lasting one. We have known each other since before my children were born. We watched each others' families grow up and we hosted visits from several members of the Lefebvre family once we returned to the U.S. They have hosted Charlie, me, and our son Philippe during various trips back to France over the years and my son has remained friends with their children. We have been witness to various family trials, including Odette and Pierre's separation 25 years ago. Now I see Odette much more often than I see Pierre, and because of our 35 years of history, we are still close.

They have been patient teachers of French language and French culture and even though our correspondence has been sometimes infrequent, they have welcomed me back into the circle of friendship and family. They are my support system here in Paris.

p.s. I have started labeling these posts, so now you can go back and find other stories and pictures related to the Lefebvre family.

1 comment:

  1. Elaine,
    lefebvre was the name of Hunter's wrestling coach at Fairview high school. Not too common a name! Love that you have been reading and researching your craft avocation. I admire your devotion to the blog and in some ways, envy your freedom to pursue your Self and your self....TCS