How did I know that I would need to know French? Life is full of amazing coincidences. One was how I was drawn to the French language. I was born in Westfield, MA. But I didn’t meet my father until I was two years old. My birth year of 1944 coincided with the second year of World War II. My father went off to war with his four brothers, all graduates of Harvard. Even the youngest, Uncle Maurice was drafted right after college. My dad was a signal man for General Douglas McArthur in the Pacific. He had met and married my mother when he was stationed in Westfield. I was born while he was away at war. My mother and I lived with her parents and younger siblings. Coincidentally ma Grandmere, who had been christened Irene Josephine Gosselin, spoke French with her relatives. I must have soaked that in as a tiny baby. I have an abiding love for all things French, Acadian, or French Canadian, because I found the fascinating story of my grandmother’s family when I studied her ancestry on Geni. As fate would have it, the Roys, who were my neighbors growing up together in Braintree, Massachusetts, were French Canadian, and the parents spoke French. Stranger still, when I went back to study my family history, I found I am related to the Roys. That 6 degrees of separation really works and a program like Geni can sort it out for you.
So I took Latin in Junior High and French as my major language in High School. I continued on in College and qualified for a special course in French immersion. I didn’t even know my teacher could speak English, ever, until a few years later. She never wavered, it was only French in class and out of class. So I lobbied to be the liaison for the lab at Harvard and the French speaking world. That’s how I met my future husband.