The Story of My Life so Far - Part 27 - A year as an Aspirant de Marine at École Navale

in story •  2 years ago

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 26

I seem to have a bad case of writer's block, and I apologize for posting this episode of the story of my life so late.

I also apologize for having posted an incomplete version of this episode. I thought I was using the text editor "vi" and I wanted to delete all the lines in a text file, starting with the current line; the command for this is ".,$d". As I was in fact on the title line of the Steemit editor, as soon as I pressed "Enter", the page was posted, with ".,$d" at the end of the title. This is why the URL of this post ends with "-usdd".

A year as an "Aspirant de Marine" at École Navale

So, in September 1969, I was back at École Navale as an "aspi".

In my dormitory, Poste 11, we had

  • the "Majou", the leader of the "conseil tradi", that organizes traditional events, such as the "culations".
  • myself as the "premier brigadier", with various esponsibilities.
  • "Trompe la Mort", responsible for organizing various sport events.
  • "Jo" responsible for the music room.

In short, we were ruling the promotion, or at least we had the illusion that we were.

Illegal Music

It may seem extraordinary for young people these days, but at this time, we were not allowed to have any personal sound device: no radio, no TV, no record player. There were a TV room and a music room, but we were not supposed to listen to music in the dormitory.

I had acquired from one of my first cousin an amplifier and I have bought two small loudspeakers and a turntable, from the Japanese brand Pioneer.
The two loudspeakers were quite conspicuous wooden cubes and we put them on the bookcase that were behind our desks.

For the turntable, we needed to hide it. On our desks, there were three drawers. One drawer was large enough for th amplifier. The idea was to put the turntable in one of the drawer. However, it was too high and could not fit in a single drawer. So, I removed the bottom of the top drawer and I put the turntable in the middle drawer. The amplifier was in the bottom drawer. When all drawers were closed, the turntable and the amplifier were completely hidden. You would see only cables coming from my desk to the two loudspeakers on top of the book case.

As Jo was responsible for the music room, he was able to borrow (illegally, of course) records. So we were able to listen to our personal records and to those that Jo borrowed.

I am quite convinced that our little arrangement had been discovered by some members of the management, but we were never told anything about it.

My First Car

I bought my first car during this second year at the École Navale. It was a Simca Aronde P60.

Simca Aronde P60

I had borrowed this car from one of my colleague at the École Navale and had managed to slightly damaged it. So, my colleague asked me to buy the car ("you break it, you buy it"). So, I did buy it. As I remember, the price was 600 francs, the equivalent of US$120 at the time, that would be around $400 today.

It was not a really good car, and I got rid of it at the end of summer 1970.

Corvette "Gants Blancs": Lisbon!

Just before the summer break, the whole promotion embarked on several ships for a three week navigation trip.
In the middle of this trip, we spent 5 days in Lisbon, Portugal, where SteemFest2 will take place in November 2017, and where I am going. I'll see you there if you go to SteemFest.

In Lisbon, I bought a Rooster of Barcelos, one of the most common emblems of Portugal.

Rooster of Barcelos

Actually, I bought two of those: a small wood one that I gave to my mother and a bigger one that I kept for myself. It is still in the dining room of the Abbey.

Leaving École Navale

As I did not work as hard during the second year, I was ranked 9th at the end of the year. Not bad, but I could have done better.

I left the École Navale at the beginning of July 1970, for one of the last long summer break of my life.
In September, we were to embark on the helicopter carrier "Jeanne d'Arc" to continue of naval education.

Continue to Part 28

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Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6 - Part 7 - Part 8
Part 9 - Part 10 - Part 11 - Part 12 - Part 13 - Part 14 - Part 15 - Part 16
Part 17 - Part 18 - Part 19 - Part 20 - Part 21 - Part 22 - Part 23 - Part 24
Part 25 - Part 26

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I think you could write a whole short story, in and of itself, on what it was like to not be allowed to listen to music. I love the rebellious part of this with a turntable (not a small discreet radio... no... a turntable!).

Sorry to hear you've had writer's block (try wine? write drunk, edit sober?... ha!)--so nice to see a new post from you!


Thank you for your comment.

Was I a rebel then? No, I don't think so.

With a "small discreet radio", there would have been the risk that it would disappear. And I would not be able to complain to the administration, as it would have been illegal.

The whole apparatus of turntable, amplifier and loudspeakers was too big to disappear without a trace.


I can't imagine a life without music
so I get your what you call "illegal music"
it was pretty strict back then I noticed
done country hopping and back home I guess?


Yes, I am back in British Columbia.

Next trip end of July to visit @papa-pepper with my grandson @naru-celier.


oh the whole family's here!
wow Papa will get to see you up close and personal
good luck!

Excellent post!

This will continue furthur or i have missed your post will be looking forward to read.


You can read from the start too, as at the bottom of the post you have links to all the previous parts.

I posted this too early by mistake. I will complete the post today.


I have completed the post now. Sorry again.

I will make sure to read the whole story of yours once:)


Good idea!

The chicken is very beautiful @vcelier


Its a rooster, not just a chicken. ;-)


my bad sorry for that, @vcelier

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