I saw Sam's post today (at A New Frame of Reference blog) where she posted pictures of her autumn decorations on the mantelpiece, and seeing the word "mantel" took me back to a funny incident when Jordan was pretty young. I commented on Sam's blog that while it's great for kids to be bilingual, when they're young they don't often have the more extensive vocabulary of non-bilingual children because they're obviously dealing with more than one language. Anyway, one time Jordan asked me where my car keys were, and I told him "on the mantel". So he went inside, only to come out a few minutes later and say "mommy, what's a mantel"? And it kinda brought home to me how much we take for granted in our daily language! I mean, with my friends, if I can't think of an English word I just throw in the French word and (most) everyone gets it. For instance, "the basement" is never "the basement", it's pretty much always "la cave". I suppose you get lazy but I remember hearing my sister and her family doing the same thing once when they came over from Denmark - it was very much bastardized English! Anyway, I was talking to my Welsh friend about this one time and she recalled an occasion when her girls were quite young and one of them wanted to go to the toilet in the restaurant. R called out to her to "remember to pull the chain" - and her daughter had no idea what she was talking about! I mean, seriously, how long have flush toilets been around? I think she might have been showing her age there, don't you! Anyway, all that nonsense is just to say it's odd what pops into your brain sometimes, isn't it!
On the "good" side, Switzerland held a referendum on same-sex marriage on Sunday and voted overwhelmingly in favour! Way to go Switzerland - a tad late perhaps, but better late than never eh!
Then yesterday as I was taking my rubbish down to the local bins I bumped into Stan's wife, Martine. She had her four-year old grandson with her and it was the first time I'd ever met him. By golly he's a handsome lad, just like his dad, Samuel (who hopefully will be representing Nigeria in the cross-country skiing in the next winter Olympics)! When I asked how Stan was she told me that he was here in France but not doing too well as "his leukemia isn't going well"!!!! Say what, Stan has leukemia????? Damn! Apparently he'd been hospitalized in Nigeria but was now back home in France with his family but not doing too well. He's an absolute ox of a man and the thought of him struggling to deal with leukemia is, frankly, unthinkable! But then I remembered about 15 years ago where he had regularly-programmed 24-hour stints in hospital for them to give him blood transfusions "to help his white blood cell count". When I asked him what it was for he was very vague, but damn, I never saw him being this ill! So I told her while I'll obviously not go anywhere near him, if and when he's feeling a little better and wants to have a natter, maybe I could come up to their garden gate and have a chat if he's up for it - or maybe I could Facetime him, even though he only lives about 100 metres from me. We'll see how it goes, but fingers crossed for my mate Stan!
And then today I received the bloody awful news about sweet C! I had known C since the day she was recruited maybe 25 years ago because of working in HR, of course, and while she wasn't a friend we would often chat if we happened to be walking down from the parking lot together. I also knew - as did most people - that she was mentally fragile! Anyway, when I left HR and moved to the same division as her, C was very kind and helpful to me because I hadn't got a clue what I was doing. Oh she could be a bit "dippy" sometimes, in a fun way, but I swear she never had a mean bone in her body!
Anyway, a friend sent me a message the other day to say that her children and the gendarmerie had sent out a communication asking if people had seen her because she had disappeared from home on 18 September having left both her handbag and phone behind (according to her children)! Then today there was an article in the newspaper to say that her car had gone over a ravine "as the result of an accident which occurred on 25 September" and C was dead!!! Thankfully no-one else was involved, but I can't get my mind round the fact that if she disappeared on 18 September and the accident happened on 25 September where on earth was she during the intervening week? My hope was that she had been taken ill and ended up in hospital, and with no ID on her they hadn't been able to trace her family. Or I guess the accident could have happened on the day she disappeared and had only been discovered on 25th! Will her family ever get to know? She was 57 years old but I picture her in my mind at around 45 because that's about the age she looked to me. She was sweet and kind and I wish so much she hadn't gone like that. Her poor family - and poor sweet C! RIP hon!