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