Far from the eyes…

The French say  « Loin des yeux, loin du cœur. » Literally “far from the eyes, far from the heart”. But it is not always true.

Our dear friend Colette Van Der Meulen who followed her husband to New Mexico a few years ago has never been far from our hearts. She is a delightful person, with an ever-ready smile and a hearty laugh. You feel good just standing next to her.

We are saddened to learn that her husband just passed away at age 47 from cancer complications. He was not a pétanque player and we seldom saw him on the field, but as Colette’s husband, he was part of our pétanque family. Our heart goes out to Colette and her loved ones at this difficult time.

I didn’t know much about the man and I have always deplored this gap about the people we know. It is often after he/she passes away that we learn more about a person we have known for years. Few people knew for instance knew that my friend Jack Rosenstein (who passed away 10 years ago) was a sergeant in the US army, an outstanding telegrapher and a Morse code virtuoso during WWII.

Toward the end of the war, he was summoned to Eisenhower’s headquarters in Reims, France, and was asked to contact the Germans (through his Morse “bug”) to invite them to surrender. After a few rebuffs, they responded positively and my friend was one of the first people in the world to learn about the German surrender.

He witnessed the official signing marking the end of the hostilities at a Little Red Schoolhouse in Reims, when on May 7, 1945, German general Alfred Gustav Jodl formally surrendered to the Allies.

When somebody joins our club, it might be a good idea to ask him/her to provide a few notes outlining his/her life and career. I was delighted for instance to learn yesterday that Lamorinda’s Eddy Pay was for 27 years a San Francisco cable-car operator. One of my earliest memory, when I came to the city, was of course to hitch a ride on a cable-car. It might even have been a car operated by Eddy!

You will find a few pictures of Colette in “My Photos”.

Enjoy, and if you have a chance, let her know that she will always occupy a warm place in our hearts and that we often think about her.

Alain

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