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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Celine

Grandmother! Tell me a story about when you were young and lived in France. Please.”  Marianne pleaded.
Celine Thibault was loved by her children and grandchildren. Every nook and cranny of her home in Massachusetts was filled with photographs and little treasures of the past. Her grandchildren would visit and Celine always was able to transport them to a different place and time. Stories of her girlhood, stories of Papa, stories of relatives faded in black and white photographs- all brought to color with Celine’s stories.
Today, Celine and her little grand-daughter sat at the kitchen table as she poured raspberry tea and set a plate of macaroons down on the freshly pressed blue and white checkered tablecloth.  Marianne loved her grandmother- dancing blue eyes, a pink in her cheeks and that sweet powdery smell that only grandmothers have. She loved Grandmother’s hair- white and soft and always curled so nice.  She loved the way that Grandmother’s wedding band looked as they clasped hands and Celine’s sweet blue eyes looked into hers.
“Marianne. Today I think we will go to France. I will tell you about when I met your Papa!” Marianne leaned in to listen.
“This was so many years ago. Fifty! My family grew fields of flowers, Marianne. Roses, lilies, and lavender- See! Now that’s what makes YOU such a sweet violet, my dear girl! It runs in your blood!” she laughed as she hugged her.


“ I was twenty years old. I would go to the outdoor market in Paris every week with Mother. We grew flowers and brought them every week.  There were many other flower vendors but ours was known for our lavender.  I worked out in those fields harvesting the lavender. We sold it and it was used for so many things- soaps, perfumes, even cooking! I loved going to the market. I loved to hear all the stories the women had to tell each other. It was so fun! And, of course, I was always hoping to spot Papa- he was there often enough with his family selling vegetables. One day, he came over and bought some flowers from me. He told me he wanted a mix as he had someone he admired! I felt envious of the girl that I was creating the bouquet for- but I did my best- that lucky girl!  He paid for it and then handed them back to me and asked if I would like to accompany him to a play. Oh, I was in heaven!”




“ Grandmother, I wonder what Papa would say about that day.”
“Well, I know because he has told me a million times! He would say,  ‘Celine! That day I saw you in that pretty white blouse and your blue skirt and that red apron. You wore a blue bonnet and your blue eyes sparkled and your cheeks were pink like the roses that you sold! I could wait no longer to make you mine!” Marianne was unsure why her grandmother’s eyes became distant and teary and did not dare ask why.
Many years later, Marianne became an avid rug-hooker. She loved the history and the craft itself. One day in her home full of children, she tried her hand at a woman in a field of lavender- a youthful lady, in a white blouse, a blue skirt, a red apron and with the eyes of her heart, Marianne could see those dancing blue eyes and soft cheeks like roses.  With emotion, she could feel Celine’s hands clasp hers and she could see that little wedding band in her mind’s eye. She would always remember what grandmother told her- “ See! That’s what makes YOU such a sweet violet, my dear girl! ”

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