Great grandfather's house is still there, but it isn't the same. I drive by and strangers live there. They are kind and invite me in. I go from room to room as we talk. I wish they could see what I see.
"A tangle of summer birds
Flying in sunlight
A forest of lilies
An orchard of apricot trees
Secret Gardens of the heart
Where the flowers bloom forever "
For me, the flowers are the iris and the tree is the sweet fig, the images I forever associate with my grandparents' house in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. In my mind's eye, I see playing on the hills overlooking Graffigny, two small girls, ages nine and seven, my grandmother Marguerite and her sister Paula, laughing and arms stretched out, jumping up and grabbing fistfuls of cherries from the low hanging branches, eating most but saving some, so that their mother Laure* will make them a pie for dinner.
The postcard above was taken on the occasion of the beatification of Jeane d'Arc in 1909. Shown on the left behind the wall is the carriage house of my great grandfather Charles William Christian Meine and his wife Julia Laure Emma Chevallier.
|great grandmother Julia Laure Emma Chevallier and her house in Graffigny|
(*I call her Laure and not Julia since the initials over the front door are C & L, for Charles and Laure)