Friday, May 16, 2008

Moments of memory 1

1964 fishing at lake neuchatel, originally uploaded by AmyEmilia.

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.


Iggor Norad said...

Since this photo was taken I have spent many hours fishing with all kinds of home made and expensive store bought fishing gear-the results are most often the same as fishing with a un-lined and un-baited stick.

Cherrye said...

That is a beautiful picture, and I can only imagine - school inside a castle? Wow!

Keep trying with the Italian, French actually helped me! :-)

AmyEmilia said...

Hey Iggor - I am remembering the $1-a-minute experience on Padre...

Hi Cherrye! French has indeed helped me a lot. But what happens is that I first think of the French word, then the Italian - so it slows me down. And sometimes confuses me... not that that is difficult!


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