The Story of My Life so Far - Part 13 - Summer Vacations: Marie RememberssteemCreated with Sketch.

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This is the story of my life so far: 67 years and counting.
Prequel: A Brief History of my Family in France

The story starts here
Previous episode: Part 12

Summer Vacations: Marie Remembers

Every two weeks, like all her descendants, I receive a circular letter from my mother that give news from herself and from what she has received.

Today, the circular letter included two paragraphs that were triggered by my questions about vacations during my childhood.

Marie in La Salle during her youth

Dans notre jeunesse, à la Salle, ''Fanny'', barattait toute les semaines du bon beurre et nous nous régalions avec ''le lait ribot'' mais, il n'y avait pas de frigidaire à cette époque-là, le beurre était conservé dans la cave, qui était au niveau du sol, donc pas très froide en été et, comme il ne fallait pas gaspiller, on finissait le vieux beurre avant d'entamer le nouveau et on avait souvent droit à du beurre rance pour nos petits déjeuners, ce qui exaspérait ma mère!

Translated to English:

In our youth, at La Salle, Fanny [my great grandmother maid] churned good butter every week and we feasted with buttermilk. But there was no fridge at that time. Butter was kept in the cellar, which was at ground level, so not very cold in summer. And, as it was not to be wasted, the old butter was finished before starting the new one and we often had rancid butter for our breakfasts, which exasperated my mother!

This is Marie talking, and this was during the 1930s.

Going to Binic by train in July 1951

Cette recherche m'a évidemment évoqué des souvenirs, des bons et des mauvais mais, pour certains, cocasses, comme le 1er voyage en 51 où Philippe n'avait pas 4 ans, Bruno, pas 3 ans et Vincent et Fabienne, 20 mois, donc aucun n'avait droit à une place, ni même ½ place! Nous partions de Rambouillet, où le train, Paris-Brest, ne s'arrêtait que quelques minutes, votre père ayant juste le temps de monter enfants et bagages dans le wagon, mais pas de nous installer...La tête des 6 adultes, déjà assis dans le compartiment de 8 places, nous voyagions en 2nde et même peut-être en 3ème, quand ils ont vu entrer 2 jeunes femmes, M-Madeleine ayant juste 19 ans, avec 4 marmots et juste les 2 places de chaque coté de la porte! Dans ce temps-là, les portes bagages étaient des filets au-dessus des 2 banquettes, d'ailleurs on disait: ''mettre ses bagages dans les filets'' et ces filets étaient tenus par de bonnes barres métalliques. Donc, j'ai pu accrocher 3 hamacs, le plus près possible de la porte pour gêner le moins possible, et j'y ai mis les 3 garçons, gardant sur mes genoux Fabienne que quelqu'un nous avait déposée, venant de Toulon, pour la confier à ses grands-parents à Binic, mais ne nous connaissant pas du tout! Tout ce monde-là a été très sage pendant le voyage qui durait au moins 5 heures et, quand nous sommes sortis du compartiment, à St-Brieuc, nous avons eu droit aux félicitations des voyageurs qui continuaient leur voyage!!

Translated to English:

This research evidently evoked memories, good and bad, but some comical, like the first trip in 1951 when Philippe was not 4 years old, Bruno, not 3 years old and Vincent and Fabienne, 20 month old.

[Fabienne is one of my numerous first cousins who has the same age as myself]

So no child was entitled to a sitting place, or even half a sitting place! We left Rambouillet, where the train, Paris-Brest, stopped only a few minutes, your father [Paul] having just enough time to put children and luggage in the train car, but not to install us... [I can still see] the faces of the six adults, already seated in the compartment of eight places (we traveled in 2nd class and perhaps even in 3rd class), when they saw these two young women enter, Marie-Madeleine being just 19 years old, with four brats and just two sitting places on each side of the door!

[Marie-Madeleine is my aunt, the youngest sister of my father Paul]

At that time, the luggage storage was nets above the two benches. In fact, one said "to put his luggage in the nets". And these nets were held by good metal bars. So I was able to hang three hammocks, as close to the door as possible to hinder as little as possible, and I put the three boys, keeping on my knees Fabienne that someone had dropped us, coming from Toulon, to entrust her to her grandparents in Binic, but not knowing us at all! The four children were very quiet during the whole trip which lasted at least five hours. And when we left the compartment in St-Brieuc, we received the congratulations of the other travelers who continued their journey!!

Saint-Brieuc Train Station

Continue to Part 14

If you like this story, please consider to follow me @vcelier

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4
Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8
Part 9 - Part 10- Part 11 - Part 12

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@vcelier your grandma churned butter? I wonder what that would taste like .. maybe I should try :D

no child was entitled to a sitting place, or even half a sitting place!

I can relate to this! I experienced this I have to sit on my Mom's lap on a 12 hour trip back to my grandparent's house from Manila - in a bus and it wasn't fun cause they have to hug us .. felt shackled .. I wonder why it was like that before .. seats were even cheaper back then but these days even kids get their own business class seats to fly and the fare's even more expensive.


Yes, my great grandmother had a butter churn similar to this one:
and Fanny was making butter with it. She was still doing it when I was a child in the 1950s.


@vcelier oh - thank you for showing. I'm glad I asked now I get it how they make butter back then. Must be quite a work do they let the kids help?


From time to time, they would let us turn the crank for one minute.


@vcelier - those were the good old days when work is what we as kids used to call play
the old pips let us help back then but we end up playing and they take it back from us
them good old days.. every time I read your posts about your story of your life my childhood memories flash back and bring me to smile. Thank you!
I'm off again .. have a great day I hope you get more readers!
Regards to Marie!

good luck my friend.