The first in an occasional series, no particular order. Photos stir memories, layers of smells, sounds, and emotions. Sometimes the photos are mine, but just as often they were taken by others. We all have these moments of memory.
1964 fishing at lake neuchatel
My father took this photo. We were living in Switzerland. My parents were spending a few months learning French, preparing for mission work in Congo. My brothers are "fishing" at Lake Neuchatel. The air is so clear... it didn't happen very often that you could see the Alps.
My experience in Neuchatel was mixed. Since I didn't speak French, I was placed back in 1st grade which really hurt my feelings. Even worse I couldn't understand a word they were saying. And the school contained curriculum that I found boring and very difficult - specifically needlework. But all the girls had to do it. I still have the little sampler I made, beige with red and blue cross stitching at the top and bottom, frayed around the edges and soft with age now.
On the other hand the school was inside the castle, and we had to go across the moat (dry) and through the big gates, all on cobbled streets. I remember walking home with my brother just before Christmas, looking in the sparkling store windows, trying to find a present for Mom, our boots crunching in the snow. We (or more likely, Dad) bought her a beautiful crystal dish. She still has it. And every time I see it, I remember.
French was acquired somehow - it still impedes my attempts to learn Italian. The year we spent in Switzerland was full of changes, but the purity of this moment - the three of us standing at the edge of a luminous lake, darkness closing in but the light still on the far mountains... time stops.