Father’s Day 2013 and “The Elementary French Reader”

The most valuable book that I own has no cover.”

Elementary French Reader - No Cover

The title of this book is “Elementary French Reader”  and “it once belonged to my father.”  It’s been stored away for a long time now.

Elementary French Reader - Inside 1

The notes section, pictured below, I find interesting to read. Part 1: 1._1. “La Chevre de Trigavou”  is about a small village in Francebut,  2._3. “Celui qui tua un Mercier” is this about a peddler or a snail?

Elementary French Reader -Notes 1-enlarged

 I wonder which one of these French Folk-Tales  in this elementary reader that my father liked and what French story was his favorite? Perhaps it was the one that I like:”The Hunchback of Notre Dame” by Victor Hugo, published in French as Notre-Dame de Paris in 1831.

But, unfortunately I never got to ask him in either English or French, a second language that I, too, learned in school: He was killed in a construction accident in Cascade Locks, Oregon early one morning when I was only six years old…

…”I remember the morning of June 13th when my mother answered the knock on our front door. Two men dressed in black suits entered and walked past the living room sofa where they thought I was sleeping. They followed my mother into the kitchen and that’s where they told her the bad news. I remember looking up at the wall clock.  It was seven o’clock in the morning and for a moment, time seemed to stand still”…

I know I won’t forget my father even though I didn’t get to know him because he was working or traveling when I was very young. Recently, I decided to start cataloguing the few photographs that I can find of him and write down everything I remember. One day, I plan to write his story and I promise it will be an interesting one. It’ll tell the story about a man and a father who had the strong urge to “go west when he was a young man,” a move that would end his life prematurely. And, it will also tell about his growing up and having vision in only one eye because of the German Measles blinding it when he was a baby.

Father’s Day every year comes during the Month of June. “Happy Father’s Day” to those that are still with us.  And, for those fathers who are gone, let’s not forget them.

 Written and Photographed by Mary Gilmartin, June 13, 2013


Filed under Books, Holidays, Writing

6 responses to “Father’s Day 2013 and “The Elementary French Reader”

  1. Dale

    I was blessed to have my father until I was 49. We were very lucky in that he shared pretty much everything he ever experienced. My only “regret” (I don’t like that word) is that I never wrote them down…
    Quelle tristesse que tu as perdu ton père si jeune…. xoxo

    • I wish I knew more about my father and had at least a photograph of us together; but, unfortunately I don’t and found only a few of him. And, yes it is sad we both lost each other at such an early age…

  2. Mary – What a wonderful plan. My first question would be – Is there anyone alive who knew your Dad? If so, take a tape recorder and ask them to tell you stories about your Dad. Look back to where he grew up, old classmates and neighbors, anyone who might have even a little tidbit.
    I knew all the writers of these letters and many of the people mentioned, even went to school with the children of some of them, but I didn’t know them when they were in their teens and 20’s. The picture that develops when you can put lots and lots of little bits and pieces together is fascinating and gives you a much clearer picture.
    Check out the comment about “BABBLING BROOK” in yesterday’s A Tribute To Arla.
    Let’s stay in touch.

    • Thanks for the suggestions, but unfortunately everyone is gone, Let’s do keep in touch. My email can be found in my Gravatar profile if you would like to connect outside of these postings.

  3. I started out reading your post with book envy. What a treasure. And then you touched my heart with your loss. I lost my father at 11. These sparse memories are so precious. I’m glad you shared one with us.

    • Thank you, and there is more to my story of what happened when I was six years old, about the train ride across country, Chicago’s Grand Central Station ,and much more… all these memories are never forgotten.

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