The Boy From France

In 1947 I was living in Pasadena, California and attending the forth grade. About this time of  year a French boy joined our class. Southern California was alive with folks moving in and out, so I never gave his arrival much thought. However, thinking back, he must have been the son of a war bride.

He was shorter and more stocky than me and had a sallow complexion. He and I didn’t have so much in common other than traveling the same route home after school — about ten blocks for me, further for him.

He didn’t talk much about his life in the old country. But as a result of my urging, he once he told me about his education during World War II. He went to class everyday, but when the air raid sirens sounded he had to run from the school and hide in the woods until the all clear sounded.

That’s a tall order for a child his age.

I’m sure his was not an isolated experience, but perhaps commonplace for children living in much of Europe.