Jewish Book: Saving Myself, a Los Angeles Childhood
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Jewish Childhood Blog

"This blog carries the voice of my memoir, past and present, into the future. Feel free to fill out the form with a question or comment. I look forward to a dialog with you."

  —L'chaim, to life, Jeanne

A Los Angeles Childhood – Jour 9 – Pastels In Paris
Sunday, 19 June 2011 22:45

I’m on a mission. Have you heard of Sennelier, a l’Ecu? Moderne depuis 1887. There are 525 shades of which I am now the owner of 24 landscape colors. My trip began with the 27 Bus, which I catch right across rue Gay Lussac. It stops at Quai Voltaire across from the Louvre. I see the sign Sennelier. Ferme! They will re-open at 2pm. I take a leisurely walk past unique antique stores until I come to Le Voltaire, a bistro, where I order a wonderful cheese omelet, which comes with a fresh spring green salad and julienned squash and to drink, une carafe’d’eau. What a delicious omelette and salade it is! The salad dressing is something with mustard/mustard seeds, creamy, slightly tart and balances the delicate lettuce perfectly. And to think my day out in Paris is just beginning. The decaf, pay my bill, and I’m on my way back to the magical Sennelier. A young gentleman who speaks French (naturellement) assists me. The pastels I pick are 24 couleurs “Paysage”, landscape colors.  It is said to be “a unique tool for pastel artists who have a passion for tradition and quality. The pastels were developed by Gustave Sennelier at the end of the 19th century.” The pastels come in 525 shades.

A Los Angeles Childhood – Jour 8 – Musee Carnavalet – Quelle Surprise!
Sunday, 19 June 2011 09:54

For two years now my friend Jade has been nagging, not exactly nagging but more like encouraging me to visit Musee Carnavalet, which I must now admit, was delightful for two reasons. First, I found one of my favorite left-bank women painters there and, second, The Sign Gallery, which, as they say is, “a unique collection of signs spanning the period from the 16th to the 20th century. This is definitely worth a Google, at the least.  And as they tell you, signs are wonders because even illiterate people knew what was what with signs.

A Los Angeles Childhood – Day 7 (Jour 7) – Des Freres Caillebotte
Saturday, 18 June 2011 12:45

My day starts in the usual way, French Press, Cornflakes, writing and out the door! Another try for the 84 Bus and voila, it goes! After quite a long ride I arrive at Boulevard Haussmann. I walk to 158, the Muse Jacquemart Andre. My friend Sherry told me about this museum and I actually Googled it before I left on my trip. The exhibit with the two brothers, a conversation in photographs and paintings interested me.

The museum itself is a beautiful turn of the century (19th) mansion filled with major works of art from the 18th century School, including some 17th century masters such as Rembrandt, van Dyck, with English masters in the smoking room. Just imagine what life was like when this area was first designed and large mansions being built, 15th century Botticelli, Uccello and all the grandness of that empire.

A Los Angeles Childhood – Day 6 –“ Midnight in Paris,” and Dead Queens and Kings
Friday, 17 June 2011 11:33

I get up early and take the #38 bus to Les Halles/Pompidou, walk over to the fountain to look at the progress of the mural. It may be done by Saturday , they tell me, because of rain. I quickly pass the Nike store which has a video of surfers riding the big wave and on to Les Halls where I will meet my friend Sonia to see “Midnight in Paris.” matinees are cheaper—6 Euros instead of 11. The movie is a romantic delight.


I learn that it is important to note that the movie is VO, version original, otherwise it would be dubbed or if it’s French, only in French. Of course Paris in the morning, what could be bad. The characters are the usual Woody Allen characters with their own neuroses, but Gertrude Stein, Hemingway, T.S. Eliott , Djuna Barnes, and of course, Alice B. among others are wonderful, walking into another time,  his movies do that so well. I remember Purple Rose of Cairo, my favorite, and how perfect that was. Now, come on, isn’t there a time when we all want to escape our ordinary lives? You know where you are now, where would you really want to be. If your joy is to put on a beret and move to Paris to be a ______________, you fill in the blank, for it. After 3-4 weeks here Paris gets noisy for me. I long for the quiet of my sweet home in the country!

A Los Angles Childhood – Paris - Day 5 – I Had It All Planned
Thursday, 16 June 2011 10:08

The #84 bus by the Pantheon would take me to the Musee Jacqejart Andree with The Freres Caillebotte, but no! Pas de Service! The sign said, so where to go? 

The #89 took me to the Louvre so I now sit in a café by the Pei pyramid commissioned in 1984 and completed in 1989, rumored to have 666 panes of glass and some of us know what that might symbolize. The pyramid was at first hated by the French as was the Eiffel Tower nicknamed la dame de fer, the iron lady. It was completed for the 1899 world’s fair and built by Gustave Eiffel. 

Hundreds of people were milling around the Louvre so I knew, this is not the day to visit Mona Lisa and Winged Victory, my two favorites in that museum. I had first tried to enter Antiquaires de Louvre, an exclusive venue for purchase of antique furniture as well as modern. It’s whom you know, I’m just an observer and therefore denied entry.

A Los Angeles Childhood -Day 4 - Bonsoir to Paris Soirees
Thursday, 16 June 2011 09:08

How do I begin to explain thirteen years of a whole process, of remembering and recording memory one artifact at a time, from a time of my life that was dormant for so long, and to do this all in thirty minutes? How can I encompass the whole experience, tell people every story?

I begin by letting the group of about 50 people know that I would like this to be conversation between us, many voices. These people, Parisians, ex-pats, between 2 and 30 years and those of us there on holiday, all sitting around in a very large circle on the perimeter of this room which used to be a dance studio, and is now home to Patricia Laplante Collins, our generous hostess. We had all walked up the four flights of wooden stairs to the top, and were greeted by Patricia and her wonderful black lab, Eve.

A Los Angeles Childhood - Day 3, Part 2 - Prayer and Bus Travel in Paris
Wednesday, 15 June 2011 10:06

I am at the Centre George Pompidou (#38 bus) in the basement listening to the music of Ravi Shankar. The exhibit is Paris-Delhi-Bombay…a large room has been made by hanging Indian batik around the perimeter of the space. Everything is soft, the seating, and the lighting. Many sounds of women and men’s voices, sitting around tables designing fabrics. Red, blue, green lights are strung on the ceiling area. A woman is holding a film camera, another talking on her phone. “Come here now…important…work…this is free.” No need to pay the 8 Euros to enter. That is on the 4th and 5th level, where the exhibits are or if you want to take a photo of the wonderful view from the 5th floor. India-Bollywood-art.

A Los Angeles Childhood – Day 3, Part 1 – Prayer and Bus Travel in Paris
Tuesday, 14 June 2011 10:55

Saturday morning I went by taxi to a “liberal” (same as reform) synagogue to witness the b’nai mitzvoth (a group of more than one bar or bat mitzvah) 3 boys and 2 girls. One of the boys was the nephew of my friend, Linda. I went to her son Maxime’s bar mitzvah June 2009 thus setting the tradition of June in Paris.

I took the metro to the #84 bus and stopped at St. Sulpice. Instead of a vacant square opposite the church made famous by the Da Vinci Code, there was an antiquarian market, avec les bijous anciennes which include a 1987 Rolex men’s watch. How ancienne is that? Also, there were clocks, deco lamps, furniture and an assortment of live dogs, one Jack Russell terrier NFS and two very sweet pekes.

A Los Angeles Childhood – Second Day-By The Time I Wake in Paris
Monday, 13 June 2011 11:27

It was noon when I woke up, jet lag and all. My first venture out in the patchy rain was to the Luxembourg Gardens.  I heard the tuning up of instruments and walked over to the bandstand in time to get a good seat for the concert, “LA MUSIQUE DES GARDIENS DE LA PAIX DE LA PREFECTURE DE POLICE.” It was now 17h00 Jardin du Luxembourg. I was under the shelter of a beautiful green canopy, one of the many trees surrounding the bandstand, the concert under the direction of Pascale Jeandroz, a woman conductor of the group since 2007. A rousing Gavotte by Serge Prokoviev, Danse Norvegiennes, Edvard Grieg, and Danse Slave opus 46 no.8, Antonin Dvorak, and with that the rain started to pour down. The music ceased. I ran for cover in the Pavillon de la Fontaine, had my first decaf espresso, sat and wrote.

A Los Angeles Childhood- Day One - Sushi in Paris
Saturday, 11 June 2011 18:58

I’m back at Yaki Sushi, 4 rue Gay Lussac, 75005 Paris. I sit at a table that faces out to the street. I see the 21 and the 17 Bus proceed down Boulevard St. Michel. Au Jardin de Medicis-Fleurs. And next to that is Franc Katner, Chocolatier. I should mention that in the Luxenbourg Gardens are the Medici Palace, which now houses the Senate, and the Medici Fountain. You can Google the park and find out more about the Medici connection.

The noise of the others eating in the restaurant, the sound of the bus going by—all are out of place in my usual daily life of solitude in the country outside of Santa Fe. A group of young women walk by, many with an expression that tells me they are on a mission.

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