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Michael de Montlaur
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Le 12 avril 2011 à 15 h 58 min   

Adelaide - 1990

It is with great regret that I write to commemorate my grandmother’s life so far away from her, and away from the other Sloans, the Gallups, the Martins, and of course, the Montlaurs.  My only comfort is that I am sitting in the Frenchest place in Chicago, a real boulangerie a la Thibervilloise, minus the screeching boulangère, but complete with the smells of my childhood that I trace directly back to Grandmamma.

Of the long list of things that will always be connected to her in my mind, three stand out: really boring and horrifically loud British talk radio; anonymous Valentine’s Day cards; and marmalade.  I don’t know if you know this, but nobody likes marmalade but her.

Of the long list of memories I have of her, two stand out most vividly. The first happened when I was about four.  All the cousins were coming to Franval and I insisted on having a particular pillow case.  My insolence skills not yet well honed, I pushed Grandmamma just beyond the point of no return and got a big old slap on the face.  Since then, I don’t care about pillow cases.  In fact, I would rather sleep on a bare, crusty pillow than ever asking anyone for a pillow case.

The second happened when Diane and I were about eleven or twelve.  Against Grandmamma’s specific instructions, we jumped the barbed wire by the other house because, for some unfathomable reason, we thought there were interesting things on the other side.  Diane got a bad cut and we were worried sick about turning ourselves in.  Ultimately we did, and we were shocked at Grandmamma’s reaction: she didn’t yell at us or even mention our misdeed.  She just smiled and tenderly washed the cut and bandaged it up. It was the clearest instance of forgiveness I had ever experienced.  Grandmamma was not one to hold grudges.  Learning from Grandmamma’s ability to forgive and look beyond someone’s mistakes in judgment is how I plan to keep her alive in the years ahead.

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