Favorite Memories of Camille in France

folded hands As of this morning "My Grape Escape" has 94 reviews on Amazon.com. More reviews = more potential readers seeing my book. Merci BEAUCOUP! To thank you here is an excerpt from "My Grape Village" that recounts the moment when we knew Camille would be just fine at preschool in France despite the fact that for the first three months she did not utter a single word in either English or French.


Franck and I spent the entire afternoon on the cliffs of Bouilland, descending to real life just in time to have a strong black espresso under the tilleuls of the village café before going to pick up the girls from school. It was strange how there could be moments that were idyllic in the midst of the chaos and confusion of creating a new life here in France. When we had imagined only the ideal images before we moved here we were seeing just a sliver of the whole picture.

When we got to Saint Coeur, Franck went to Charlotte’s classroom while I made my way to Camille’s, dreading to see my traumatized little raven-haired girl.

I caught sight of Camille. She sat at the end of a row of children on a bench by the door of the classroom. Pensive, she clutched her bag of school slippers to take home for the weekend. My heart contracted with guilt. I heard Franck and Charlotte arrive behind me.

Camille’s teacher was helping a crying child do up her zipper and had her back turned. A blond headed boy who didn’t have a coveted spot on the bench squeezed himself between Camille and the next child on the bench. I gasped as the usurper, with a strategically placed elbow, shoved my daughter off the bench and sent her tumbling to the ground.

Before I could surge forward past the crowd of parents to pick Camille up off the floor, she sprung up and dusted off her denim jumper. She narrowed her hazel eyes with a look of calculated vengeance at the boy.  

She inserted herself beside him again so that he was teetering off the end of the bench.

The little boy began to whine to the teacher that Camille was pushing him. Camille took a cursory glance at her maitresse to ensure that she was still preoccupied with the crying child’s zipper dilemma. Safe in this knowledge, Camille pivoted herself slightly, raised one leg and gave the winging boy such a decisive kick in his ribs that he went airborne. 

By the time the maitresse turned to discover the why the little boy was sprawled, sniveling, on the floor Camille was sitting with her knees together and her hands folded in her lap - the perfect angel. 

I felt Franck’s hand on my shoulder. “I think Camille is going to be just fine,” he said.