This is the story of my life so far: 67 years and counting.
Prequel: A Brief History of my Family in France
In the 1950s and 1960s, there was only one kind of establishment for secondary education: the "lycée".
A lycée had seven level of classes: from "la sixième" (the sixth class, that is grade 6) to "la classe terminale" (the terminal class, that is grade 12).
When the family arrived in Saint-Ouen, there was no lycée in the city, so my brother Philippe went to the Lycée Honoré de Balzac.
This was originally a girl only secondary school, but it started to admit boys in 1956. Girls and boys were in separate class rooms then.
My brother Bruno and myself, we did not go initially to Lycée Honoré de Balzac, bu to a different establishment the "Annexe de La Jonquière". Either they had ceased to admit boys during these years, or more probably they had stopped to admit students from Saint-Ouen and those were directed to the Annexe de La Jonquière.
Annexe de La Jonquière
I spent two years in this establishment: "classe de 6ème " (grade 6) in 1959-1960 and "classe de 5ème " (grade 7) in 1960-1961.
It has been created recently as an annex of an old lycée, the Lycée Jules-Ferry, which has been created in 1913 as the 7th lycée for girls in Paris.
Compared to the Lycée Honoré de Balzac with more that 2,000 students, it was a rather small establishment with around 500 students.
It was situated at 29 rue de la Jonquière, Paris XVII, and it would take us only 20 minutes to walked from our house in Saint-Ouen.
This now an independent secondary school, the "collège Stéphane Mallarmé".
In 1963, a reform split secondary education into two kinds of establishments: the "collèges", from grade 6 to grade 9, and the lycées which were then only grades 10, 11 and 12. So, my first "high school". the Annexe de la Jonquière became a "collège" and never a "lycée".
I don't remember much about my two years there. In particular, I don't remember the names of any of the teachers.
The person that I remember the most was the chaplain. His name was Father Montarien. As a child of a Catholic family, I was to attend optional religious instruction one hour every week., inside the establishment.
Father Montarien had a small office just outside the main entrance on rue de La Jonquière. I was often there after school, because he had some "bandes dessinées" (comics) and records of stand up comedians. I appreciated this, because comics and our own records were not allowed at home.
In September 1961, my parents succeeded to put all of us in Lycée Honoré de Balzac. I don't know exactly how they did it, and Marie, my mother, does not remember.
In any case, Philippe was in "seconde" (grade 10), Bruno in "troisième" (grade 9), myself in "quatrième" (grade 8) and my sister Monique in "sixième" (grade 6), all in Lycée Honoré de Balzac.
Continue to Part 15
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