This is the story of my life so far: 67 years and counting.
Prequel: A Brief History of my Family in France
Moving to the Mediterranean Coast
In the summer of 1974, Geneviève arrived in Paris and in August, after I left Lorient, we moved to Toulon, the French military port on the Mediterranean coast, some 80 km east of Marseille.
In September, I was to start the "École des Officiers Détecteurs" (School of Radar and Electronic Warfare Officers) at the "Centre d'Instruction Navale" (C.I.N.) (in English "Naval Instruction Center) near the town of Saint-Mandrier, on the other side of the "rade de Toulon" (the Toulon roadstead).
The CIN de Saint-Mandrier grouped a number of Navy schools for all ranks, from sailor to junior officers.
CIN de Saint-Mandrier
In October 1973, the 1973 oil crisis started. For every day life, the result was a big increase in the price of gas. My car, a Renault 12 Gordini, was a gas guzzler. So I decided to buy a new and more economic car, a Daf 66 Marathon similar to this one.
Daf 66 Marathon
The 66 was available as a 2-door saloon, a 2-door coupé and a 3-door estate. It featured the unique Variomatic belt-driven continuously variable transmission.
The Variomatic transmission was one of the first continuously variable transmission (CVT) and I believe that at this time there were no other CVT in Europe, except the Daf cars. Now there are plenty of CVT cars, including my current car, a Nissan Rogue (roughly equivalent to the Nissan Qashqai outside North America.
So, I had now two cars (R12 Gordini and Daf 66) and one motorbike (Motobécane 125) that I had left temporarily at the Abbey. I was almost broke, after buying the Daf, so I did not renew the insurance of the R12 Gordini.
At the beginning of September, I found a furnished apartment to rent for 10 months in the village of Saint-Mandrier, close to the CIN.
When moving to this apartment, I asked one on my comrades to drive the Daf (that was insured) and I drove the uninsured R12 Gordini. I made sure to follow scrupulously the speed limit and that was a big mistake! Nobody around Toulon follow the speed limit, and this looked suspicious to the police that stopped me.
I had to explain to the policemen why I was driving an uninsured car. Once they had checked that I was indeed the owner of the car, they let me continue to drive. It was quite embarrassing.
Going Back to School
As Geneviève has not graduated from high school in Cameroon, she registered in "classe terminale" (equivalent to grade 12) at the "lycée' (high school) in the neighbouring city of La Seyne-sur-Mer.
So, in September 1974, we both started to go to school, me at the CIN de Saint-Mandrier, anf her at the lycée de La Seyne-sur-Mer. I would drive her in the morning and she was taking the bus back to Saint-Mandrier in the afternoon.
Continue to Part 49
If you like this story, please consider to follow me
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 - Part 27 - Part 28 - Part 29 - Part 30 - Part 31 - Part 32
Part 33 - Part 34 - Part 35 - Part 36 - Part 37 - Part 38 - Part 39 - Part 40
Part 41 - Part 42 - Part 43 - Part 44 - Part 45 - Part 46 - Part 47