A series of anecdotes with or without any connection to the running of a restaurant.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Today, a friend of mine sent me the above photo.

It was taken when we were eight years old, which in old money makes it forty-six years ago!!

Being the inquisitive kind, I am sitting third from the right, leaning forward trying to fathom out how the camera worked.

Most of the kids in the class were French but for 7 of us. Well, it is not scritcly true because, Algeria at the time was considered another département français, so we too were "French".
The only difference was that our ancestors were Algerians and the others Europeans, mainly French.

It was taken during the Algerian war of independence from France which ended in July 1962. In the seven years it raged, one and half million people lost their lives and many were left maimed. Papa, who is now 86 suffered a great deal. He was arrested in 1956 for supporting the freedom fighters, sent to various concentration camps on the edge of the Sahara, then exiled from our home département for three years.

A school photo should bring back happy memories. The friend who sent me this one lives near Marseille (France).
Despite the hard times, all I can really remember is a totally idyllic childhood thanks to a wonderful mother.

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Blogger andrea said...

I love this. It's wonderful getting these little glimpses into your past. And it sounds like you had/have parents who understood the important things in life.

19/5/07 8:09 PM  
Blogger DCveR said...

Blessed your mother then.
Children are usually the worst victims in any conflict.

19/5/07 10:45 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

While Papa was away, my mother was solid as a rock. Being the youngest I followed her from one courtroom to the next in her attempts to get Papa freed. Survival was the word.

Welcome back, DC!
Thanks. My mother went through stuff many men would crack under. Being the youngest of five, I was totally sheltered from harm.

20/5/07 1:21 AM  
Blogger la bellina mammina said...

What a cute little boy you were!! And a salute to your mom - not many women are like that these days.

20/5/07 2:54 AM  
Blogger Lippy said...

It shouldn't be surprising when it turns out that history happened to real people that you know - but somehow it always is.

20/5/07 7:21 AM  
Blogger Edvard Moonke said...

it's quite a unique situation, isn't it? you know, both sides of the conflict sharing the same school. what was the children's reaction to the war? how did they behave towards each other? you must write more about it cream, because it's fascinating stuff.

20/5/07 10:17 AM  
Blogger lettuce said...

so sweet. all those little boney knees.

20/5/07 10:33 AM  
Blogger Cream said...

Thanks, Bella. I think that most women would react like my mother when put under pressure.

I agree, Lippy. Just look at what is happening all over the world. History is being made as we speak.

20/5/07 10:57 AM  
Blogger Cream said...

Marcos, it was a strange situation. At school we all mingled, played games and never thought about what was going on. I think we were too young to realise the seriousness of those events. At home, my mother was in constant contact with the fighters. Our farm was a meeting place.
I think I have some stuff lying about somewhere on my laptop waiting for a bit of motivation. I will post some more on those events in due course.

Hah, Lettie, you can't see mine. Long trousers.
I wish they were still boney.

20/5/07 11:06 AM  
Blogger Akelamalu said...

Thank you for sharing your photo and memories of your childhood Cream. Things are so much easier now, we forget how hard times were for our parents and grandparents, and obviously some had it harder than others. Our parents and grandparents generation were more stoic than we, or our children, will ever be methinks.

20/5/07 12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mes premiers camarades de jeux étaient d’Alger !!
Et orphelins de père, et je comprends !!

La pratique des sondages, fréquente dès le début des années 50, révèle un décalage manifeste entre l'opinion publique très tôt acquise à la paix en Algérie et la volonté de la classe politique de maintenir coûte que coûte la présence française de l'autre coté de la méditerranée.

Ce conflit n'est plus un tabou pour l'opinion française actuelle . 40 ans après les faits, il semblerait que la plaie se referme .

Et pourtant j’ai toujours beaucoup de haine, pour les politiciens de l’époque, et beaucoup d’émotion lorsque je repense à mes petits copains ;


21/5/07 12:01 AM  
Blogger Queenie said...

Thanks for sharing that Cream. It so good to hear about how we came to be what we are. Your parents sound like good foundations to build a life on.Brick by brick, i'm sure they must be very proud of you.

21/5/07 12:17 AM  
Blogger Hayden said...

what strength you witnessed and learned as you followed your mother from court to court!

History - sometimes it seems my deep attraction to it is voyourism and I avert my eyes, shamed by the strength, the difficulties, the pain that so many endure as history is "made." It is important to learn and remember, but difficult to fundamentally understand beneath the surfaces of the words.

21/5/07 2:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the picture of you is so wonderful! what an amazing story and glad that your memories are good! ~valgalart

21/5/07 6:37 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

I admire your mothers strength. I understand how it is when you have children. You must just keep on. They are a blessing in that way.

21/5/07 2:09 PM  
Blogger Merisi said...

" ... all I can really remember is a totally idyllic childhood thanks to a wonderful mother."
I feel the same, likewise about my grandparents. What a blessing.
Thanks for sharing this, I also liked the class photo.

21/5/07 4:29 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Akela, you are right on one hand but I really believe that when ordinary people are faced with extraordinary circumstances they always manage.

Amitiés, Dip dop. C'est toujours la faute à la classe politique. Les gens ordinaires, et surtout les gosses, arrivent toujours à s’entendre.

Thanks, Q. My mother passed away a few years ago but she left a mark on all of us. One day I shall write about her.

Hayden, history is indeed what makes us even if at the time it is just current affairs.

Thanks, Val. I think most of us happy people try to remember only the good things.

Mary, you should know. You keep smiling while your heart is so far away.

Merisi, you come across like someone who's had a good start.

21/5/07 7:32 PM  
Blogger Caroline said...

Having an idyllic childhood sounds wonderful... especially as you survived the hard times too.

21/5/07 8:57 PM  
Blogger Guyana-Gyal said...

Aww, look at all the liddle boys, you all remind me of my nephews. Haha, yes, I see you leaning forward, Cream.

I am amazed at the strength some parents have, coping, keeping their children happy. I bet you miss your maman even now.

How is Papa these days, Cream? I hope he's well.

21/5/07 9:11 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Hi, Caro. Yes, it was really great. I had no idea we experienced hardships.

Welcome back, Gigi.
Very inquisitive, I still am. Yes, I do miss my mother and remember her very often.
Papa is great. I spoke to him a couple of weeks ago. Still alert and joking.

21/5/07 10:58 PM  
Blogger SpanishGoth said...

So now, you have the chance to be a Rebel With a Cause. You should write about what you remember and send it to your father. Give him the chance to understand how you feel before it is too late.

*steps down from his soapbox and exits*

22/5/07 12:33 AM  
Anonymous Merisi said...

Cream: Thank you (and I really needed it, what with all the wrong turns afterwards *chuckles*).

22/5/07 5:25 AM  
Blogger Cream said...

Last night I watched the James Dean story. Poor lad didn't have a great childhood!
Whenever I meet up with Papa he fills a few blanks for me.

Merisi, all of us stumble along this life of ours, taking wrong turns here and there, sometimes head held high, other times crawling, but always getting to our destinations...

22/5/07 9:46 AM  
Blogger Dizzy said...

Its good to have some childhood photos isn't it. I had to enlarge the photo to have a good look, quite a hansome young man weren't you!

You are lucky to have such wonderful and strong parents. I still remember the story of your dad and the morning call to prayers. I did laugh at that.

22/5/07 4:08 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

Oh, thank you Dizzy.
Yes, that was a funny story!
One day I shall write about my mother. She was a gentle rock.

22/5/07 4:31 PM  
Blogger homo escapeons said...

You can't appreciate where you are unless you know how you arrived.
What a story. I have never had to live through such an event. What a treasure to have had such inspirational people as your Mother and Father. Amazing.
I have no idea how to even begin to comprehend one and a half million lives lost.

That was a great trip with that little guy in the picture who is still very much alive inside your head, isn't he Cream?

22/5/07 10:22 PM  
Blogger Cream said...

HE, you've just brought tears to my eyes. Because when you are going through stuff like that, you never think about anything but just living.

No, I cannot really tell you that I realise what we went through at the time, and even with hindsight, I only remember the good things that happened to us.

22/5/07 11:18 PM  

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