Jacqueline and I are fortunate to have a large family (24 first cousins from Maman's side alone, before spouses and significant others, that doesn't include the next two generations that are ballooning). We are less fortunate that they lie an ocean away. When we were kids we would go to France about once every 4 years. We would spend no less than a month and get a huge dose of "family", but then we would have to wait another 4 years to see them again. Almost every summer someone would come to the US, but it wasn't the same. It was one older cousin to take care of us, or an aunt and uncle who were treating themselves to the vacation of a lifetime….
Far be it from me to tell tales out of school. Oh hell, who do I think I am kidding. You all know if the story is good, and it might make someone blush in chagrin I will tell tales out of school all day long. It is even more fun if I have not been witness to the tale and the version I heard becomes a little tall along the way. Or in the case of fish stories, bigger and bigger with each telling.
I love telling Maman's story, because it is such a great story. Maman did things young ladies weren't supposed to do in times when they weren't supposed to do them. She lived a series of adventures, and until Jacqueline and I came around she was everyone favorite eccentric aunt who would send postcards, and better yet gifts from around the world.
Let me begin again. Dick claims that he and his wife Gaby were campers, and in the days before kids, used to go camping in New Hampshire and Maine. He told Papa, "you and Lucienne should borrow our gear and go North, you will love it." And so Papa did as Dick suggested and borrowed the gear and took my mother camping in New Hampshire.
Fast forward to New Years Eve from age 16 to 20. There were plenty of other adventures in New Orleans over the years, but those late teen years were some fun NYE! One of Papa's best friends had settled back down in New Orleans and we got to party in the French Quarter for four NYE in a row! No better way to end that night than early in the morning with beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde! Very cool.