Let me tell you the story

Let me to tell you the story of a man born on the edge of the desert in a land of golden sand and hot skies he thought was his birth right as it had been passed on to him from his forefathers over many generations. A land where as a child he had run free on the back of a wild horse and had laughed and had felt the warm wind playing with his skin.

Let me tell you the story of a white boy born on September 3rd, 1922, the 4th child in a privileged family in North Africa. That boy was sensitive and sweet and gentle and played the piano and loved his mother dearly.

Let me tell you the story of a little boy of 5 who was sensitive and sweet and gentle and played the piano and loved his mother dearly, sent to a Jesuit boarding school 30 kms away for 13 years where he learned Latin and Greek and Spelling and Mathematics as well as longing and missing and mass at 6am every morning. For 13 years that boy was sent home to his family three times a year.

Let me tell you the story of a boy of 7 who nearly drowned when his father had decided to teach the children to swim one summer and had taken them all out to sea in a little wooden boat and then had flipped that boat over and told the children to swim back to the shore unaided.

Let me tell you the story of a skinny young man of 21 wanting to join the front to fight for his country. This young man had asked his mum to fatten him up so that he could be proud and be enrolled and go.

Let me tell you the story of a brave young soldier of the 2nd Tank division under the General Leclerc who had more than once crawled back during a battle to bring back a wounded mate.

Let me tell you the story of a soldier whose family received a letter telling them he had died. He had not: As they were stationed near Paris he had bunked off one night in a jeep with his mates, and subsequently never got promoted, to LIVE for just one night in Paris while his helmet was used on another head, on another soldier who met his fate.

Let me tell you the story of a brave soldier who got wounded in Algoslsheim on February 6th 1945 and never got to ride triumphant with the troops through Paris liberated having lost the use of his left arm. What he got was a brown hole full of puss from a bullet in the shoulder that never ever got to heal.

Let me tell you the story of a wounded soldier who came home from the front and burred his father.

Let me tell you the story of a young man who inherited a piece of land on the edge of the desert, an arm that was fallow and useless and limp, and sleepless nights for ever and ever wondering and pondering why he was still alive when most of his mates were no more.

Let me tell you the story of a courageous and tenacious young man who got to work to build a plantation with oranges and wine that was going to take him the best part of 10 years to complete with glorious bubbling water running through it under the Algerian skies.

Let me tell you the story of this courageous young man who fell in a concrete wine vat one night while waiting to catch a thief, broke his spine and spent 11 months lying stiff on his back and wrapped in plaster, drinking dry white wine from Alsace, good for bone repair he was told.

Let me tell you the story of a good looking young man who married his sweet-heart on June 19th, 1953.

Let me tell you the story of a father coming home covered in dust from hours in the fields on his tractor and pulling out a turtle from his tool box, to give to his little girl.

Let me tell you the story of a farmer who was respected and loved by his workers who did all they could to protect him and his family from harm at their own peril during the curfew of those violent and terrifying civil war years.

Let me tell you the story of a young father called out to help identify the bodies of his bloody friends assassinated with their whole family.

Let me tell you the story of a sad sad family man who left everything behind in 1964, the home he had designed and built, the land on the edge of the golden desert, its oranges, its vineyard, its hot skies and its dreams and got on a boat from Algiers to Marseilles with only his wife and their 5 children, to try to start somehow a new life on another farm, somewhere, and never to return to the golden land.

Let me tell you the story of a broken man who cried when he got letters from the other side of the sea, from the men still there, begging him to let them come and work for him, when he had nothing to offer them but stones and tears.

Let me tell you the story of a man who worked so hard to keep his family safe but drowned and died in sorrow and pain, still young yet so old on March 23rd 1992.

Let me tell you the story of a man born on the edge of the desert in a land of golden sand and hot skies he thought was his birth right as it had been passed on to him from his forefathers over many generations. A land where as a child he had run free on the back of a wild horse and had laughed and had felt the warm wind playing with his skin.

That man was my dad.

4 réflexions sur “Let me tell you the story

  1. Anne W

    Amazing story Martine, and beautifully written. Thanks for sharing. Anne

    On Thu, 28 Jan 2021 at 6:56 am, La dame aux ânes wrote:

    > la dame aux ânes posted:  » Let me to tell you the story of a man born on > the edge of the desert in a land of golden sand and hot skies he thought > was his birth right as it had been passed on to him from his forefathers > over many generations. A land where as a child he had run  » >

    Aimé par 1 personne

    1. Hi Nick! I wrote about my dad after getting a call from my youngest brother. He had written to Pau, where the soldiers’ files from the 2nd world war are kept. When he read me the letter he received…..I cried. And then the words you read came out in one take. xxxx

      J'aime

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