Showing posts from May, 2013


I haven't really ridden a bicycle in almost twenty years.  The qualifier is in that statement because there have been a couple of opportunities to spend some insignificant time pedalling.  A few years ago, my husband joined me on some long walks in the state park, me on foot and him on his bicycle.  The bike was gentler on feet and joints, and I did take a turn in order to demonstrate that I am too short to use his bicycle. But that sort of thing is not what I would consider really riding.

     Despite the lull, there was a time when being on a bike was as much a part of my life as swimming, running barefoot up and down the lakeshore, or sitting in the branches of a mulberry tree.  Before that phase, there are memories of learning to ride, of standing in the driveway with tear-streaked cheeks, kicking my bike.  My knees and palms were bloody and crusted with dirt and tiny stones.  Our home at that time offered only grass, dirt and gravel for riding surfaces, and none of them …


When I applied to be an exchange student, it was at the suggestion of my French teacher.  Mme. LaFrancis (and with that name, how could she have been anything but a French teacher) was one of the people in my life who believed in me enough to make me think that the world could be open for me in spite of the hurdles.  I was in my third year of French at the time.  The first year had been a normal classroom experience, but the second and third were independent study.  Mme. LaFrancis saw enough promise in me that she arranged for me to continue in French despite schedule conflicts.  We would meet for 15 minutes of each 30 minute lunch period for me to turn in assignments, ask questions or take tests.  The rest was all on my own time.  I was no expert, but I was comfortable with the language at that point.  I wrote to a pen pal in French, entertained myself by taking notes for other classes in French, and even read an untranslated Balzac novel.  So when I was assigned to a non-French…