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
The Garden in Rambouillet
There were no TV and no radio in the house in Rambouillet. TV was quite new then and expensive. As for the radio, my father, Paul, could not stand people speaking on the radio and did not like any kind of popular music. In fact, my parents did not get a radio before all of us, their children, had left to live our own life.
So, there was no temptation to watch TV or to listen to the radio. Entertainment was reading and playing, mostly outside in the garden. As we were still very young, we were not reading much and mostly played in the garden.
The garden was huge. At least, that what it appeared to us kids. It was a rectangle of 20 m by 100 m, so an area of 2,000 m2 (a little less than an acre). From what I see on Google Maps, the garden is still there.
The garden was enclosed between three walls of 2.5 m and the street. There was a gate wide enough for a car on the street, but as my parents did not own a car, it was almost never opened.
On each side and on the back, there was an an alley one meter from the wall.
Between the three of us, my brothers Philippe and Bruno, and myself, we had divided the garden into several properties.
Just behind the house, there was a semicircular lawn with a line of yew trees further back. The lawn was "la pelouse de Papa" (Daddy's lawn) and the yew trees constituted what we called "la petite forêt" (the small forest).
Behind the small forest there was a square loan: "la pelouse de Maman" (Mummy's lawn), with a small wall further back between the two alleys on each sides. This is where we would have afternoon snacks when family was visiting on warm sunny week-ends.
Behind the small wall was the largest lawn. It was my lawn, "la pelouse de Vincent". There was two fruit trees on my lawn: one big cherry tree, that belonged to me, and one small mirabelle plum tree similar to this one:
Mirabelle Plum Tree
For some reason that I thought unfair, the mirabelle plum tree belonged to Bruno, not to me.
Further back, there was hazelnut bushes, then the last two lawns, separated by another alley: on the right "la pelouse de Philippe" (Philippe's lawn) and on the left "la pelouse de Bruno" (Bruno's lawn).
On each of these two lawns, there were 3 or 4 fruit trees. I don't remember exactly what kind of trees there were. What I remember is that there was a quince similar to this one:
In French, the quince is called "cognassier" and the quince fruit is called "coing". Every year, Marie, my mother, was making "pâte de coings", called in English quince cheese, that was delicious.
As you may have guessed, I have very good memories of the garden in Rambouillet.
Continue to Part 3
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