My father is obsessed with cameras and camera accessories. He regales Mom with details about what he is currently purchasing to go with his fancy new Roloflex.
He wants Mom to bring with her Cooke’s Tour of Europe book so they can travel a lot (which they did). Dad takes a trip to see his buddy Bob in Nuremberg, Germany. He takes a bus to Bordeaux and declares, “the French drive like hell” and “just manage to miss every other oncoming car.” I know this disturbs him as he is always a conscientious and safe driver. I assume he buses the next leg of the journey too. Nuremberg, an “ancient city with Roman walls” was heavily bombed during WWII. I am intrigued when he says that it was one Hitler’s favorite cities. In 1952 it was the location of the War Crimes Building. He and Bob enjoy being together again.
Dad feels as if the residents of Bazas are getting to know who he is. He is surprised when many of them acknowledge him on the streets in the town square with a “doktor” and a nod of the head.
He now is telling Mom that he thinks they should buy a Hillman Minx convertible since one of their dreams is to own a convertible someday. WHAT? With a baby? WHAT? My pragmatic parents? Of course, car safety was not of prime importance back then. It wasn’t until 1968 that seat belts were mandated in all cars. Obviously they thought (for a moment) that breezing across a dozen countries with the top down was romantic. Reason apparently usurped their romanticism and they ended up buying a Chevy.
|The house at 43 Rue de la Taillade in Bazas |
where I was conceived
My dad has scruples, he does. A lifelong trait. The major wants to lower the venereal disease rates in the camp. Now, one would think that some serious classes about sexual behavior and sexual safety would help. Oh no, this major wants to change some of the diagnoses of VD to “non-specific urinary infections.” Ethical issues even in the 1952 army. Seriously? Dad laments, “Getting mad at him is like hitting your head against a wall.”
Dad tells the major he is against lying about the statistics, but “has to cooperate” because he is outranked. What I love is when Dad says he has every intention of reporting the fraud and deceit to the Colonel when he comes! Good for you, Dad!
Dad is wistful about his baby boy. “I only hope he won’t be afraid of his daddy as he is probably going to be strictly a mama’s boy until he gets to know me again.” That thought must have been hard. (Apparently it only took a couple days and Mike and Dad were reconnected.)
Apparently Mom brings up pregnancy and Dad puts it quickly on the back burner. "The OB care and hospital are both too far and I would rather wait so we had one when we get home." Mom agreed with the wisdom and they waited another year to get pregnant.
I’ve always been a little miffed at them for not staying long enough to give me French citizenship. But their duty was over and Mom could not fly after 7 months so in my watery womb, I had to bid adieu to the City of Lights and come into the world in a good old Midwestern hospital. Not born in France, but being conceived there holds a special place in my heart.
25 more days…