Sunday, January 1, 2012

Guardian angels

Do you believe in them?  Before this morning I kinda sorta thought I did.  Now I am sure I do because this morning I got a message from mine.
The Ex-Ex let me keep the Christmas tree up until today.  After my morning walk with the BFF, we packed up all the little ornaments and took down the tree.  Pine needles were every where, of course, so I got out the vacuum cleaner and got to work.  I found myself vacuuming more than just the remnants of the tree and even cleaning out a magazine rack we have in the kitchen.  In the middle of old Durham Academy Records, Our States, Nebraska Lifes, and assorted maps, I found the Christmas card pictured above.  It is dated December 19, 2000.  It was sent to me by my high school French teacher, Mme Christiane Roze Buchanan. 
1976 Harris High School yearbook
 I had no idea that card was in there.  However, I do know that I would not be where I am today if she hadn't been in my life.  My brother recently asked me if Spanish had been offered in our high school instead of French do I think I would have been a Spanish teacher.  I honestly do not think so.  The French language just stirred something in my soul and I fell madly in love with it.  Mme Buchanan took me under her wing and I am quite sure that she had a hand in not only getting me into Appalachian State University but in helping me get enough scholarship help to pay for it.  She wanted me to take her place at Harris High School because she would be ready to retire then.  I could not see myself moving back to my hometown so I opted to head to the big city of Durham and Durham Academy instead.  I do not regret that decision.
Mme Buchanan and I kept in touch over the years.  I did not go to her retirement party.  I regret that.  I was proud to tell her how well my students did every year on the National French Exam.  I told her about my student trips.  I will always regret that I did not go back to really talk to her and find out more about her life in France during WWII.  She came to the mountains of North Carolina as a war bride and became our French teacher.  Every time I visit Notre Dame cathedral in Paris I light a candle for her.  It has always seemed the right thing to do.  To offer up a prayer of thanks for her and ask God to take good care of her. 
In 2000, she was suffering from a third round of cancer.  Her 98 year old mom, Mam, as she called her, was recovering from colon surgery.  She used to bring Mam to French class so that we could talk to her.  The poor, patient lady.  Mme B (behind her back we called her Frenchie...  I use that as a term of endearment with my Frenchie friends) told me she was happy to get our Christmas card and newsletter with good news.
In November 2008, the Ex-Ex came to Paris for his first visit while I was on sabbatical.  We visited Notre Dame, of course, and I lit my usual candle.  The next day, my sister Moo called me.  I knew the news couldn't be good for her to call me in France.  Mme Buchanan had passed away.  On the very day that we were in Notre Dame Cathedral.
Yes, I believe in guardian angels.  I hope that I have not disappointed mine and that she will continue to look after me.

Bon appétit, Mme Buchanan and all guardian angels!

1 comment:

Lisa@Pickles and Cheese said...

Loved reading this. A very sweet story. I don't think I would have taken Spanish or German if French had not been offered at my High School either. I have always been fascinated by the sound of someone speaking French. Maybe I was French in a former life? :)