I had meant to go to Loches, in chateau country, last Friday evening, to see my old friend Marie. She and I had gone to school here in Paris nearly forty years ago. We have seen each other sporadically since, and had all but lost touch when, thanks to the wonders of the internet, we reconnected a few months ago.
Marie is half French, half American. Her mother, who had died when Marie was quite young, had been of French nobility, and her family had inherited a chateau in the Loire Valley, where the family spent most of Marie's childhood summers. Her father had been the headmaster at Choate, and then later, of the American School in Madrid. By the time we met, he had retired and was living at Mont Felix. Now, Mont Felix may have been small by the standards of chateau country, but in terms of houses, it is impressive indeed. I especially remember her brother Charles' room, with an ornate bed set into a large niche. Marie's room had originally been a maid's quarters, and was the only part of the place with normal height ceilings and a cozy feel.
My plan had been to take the train down Friday, and have a full two days there. Unfortunately, there were a series of misunderstandings between me and the French railroad system. The Friday evening trains were full, and I wound up returning to our apt. I'd made a reservation at the station for an early Sat am train, and arrived in Tours for my connection at a little after 9. The train was 10 minutes late, and there had been 10 minutes late.The next train was at 11:30. I watched for the track to be posted, then watched as 11:30 passed and the train info was removed from the board. Finally, I made the 12:15 and arrived in Loches shortly after 1pm I had called Marie and left a message I wasn't sure she'd receive. She had, and she and Tim were waiting at the station. It was the first time we'd seen each other in at least 15 years.
To be continued...