Thursday, June 11, 2009

More on the Small World

When I came to France as a student on my spring sophomore semester abroad in 1970, I was given a choice to live with a family or live in a hotel-pension near our professor's home. She lived on rue des Carmes and the hotel was on Boulevard St. Germain, very nearby. A lot of students lived there, especially students at the nextdoor engineering school, Eyrolles. (ESTP, the private school, and the "Travaux Publics" for the Prefecture de Paris and Etat.) Three of us chose the hotel. Denise and I were roommates. Nancy had a small room to herself.

That's where I met Paul, future IPP (ingénieur de la préfecture de Paris, before it became the Ville de Paris). Most of the students stuck to their groups. The Sorbonne students, the engineering students, the student-tourists passing through, the older pensioners who had been living there forever. Paul seemed comfortable with all.

So, in 1968, he struck up a friendship with Richard (still refers to him as Richard, although all the correspondence from him is signed Dick) and Tanya and a couple from Switzerland... The list goes on. (Dick, Paul and Tanya correspond occasionally. I don't know if you knew her, or not. She comes up to Paris from time to time for training and we've been out to dinner. Get in touch with Paul, if interested; he's got her e-mail address.)

Once Paul and I got married and Christmas card duty got stuck on me, I was the one who wrote the cards. I kept up the exchange with Dick (Hey, that's the name I know him as), but the others were waylaid. Then came Compuserve! I had a Compuserve account and there were so few of us back then that it was like a facebook community, you could look up people, and Dick was there, so we started more regular communication, but eventually that petered out. Enter Facebook and here we are again.

Dick has been reflecting on his stay at the Pierwige, a pretty run-down hotel that has since been transformed into luxury apartments with a Barclays branch in what used to be the lobby. Via Google, he found someone else who had been there -- in 1970, my year! That's Ken.

So now Ken and I and Dick have a three-way e-mail chat going and I'm trying to get Paul to join. He really has the memory of the place. He was there the longest and he knew everyone.

Ken has retired to France and has a really nice blog. He puts more pictures in his and they are beautiful! (Terry, I think you would love reading this blog.) I love to take shots of flowers, too, so I am especially drawn to those. And he loves to cook! He also loves old cars -- well, so does Dick, so I imagine they'll be comparing their collections.

Ken very kindly read my blog and found STC. Guess what? Ken's a former tech writer! Small world!

3 comments:

Ellen C. said...

More small world! I'm another Ellen, and another tech writer... I worked with Ken before he left California for Saint-Aignan. I found you from your post today on Ken's beautiful blog.

I'm still in California and working in high-tech, but dreaming of the day when I retire. Lovely to meet you, Ellen!

Ellen said...

Hey, Nice to meet you Ellen.
I've got an idea. STC France is having its annual conference next year in mid-April (http://stcfrance.org/conference. Why don't you find Ken's former colleagues and friends in the business, all come to the conference and then pay a visit to Ken?
Think of it -- April in Paris!

Ellen C said...

An excellent idea... You've given me food for thought!