My Sister and The Famous Five

Evelyne Holingue

I was told that I learned how to read watching my father turn the pages of L’Orne Combattante, one of the local newspapers published in my native Normandy.

I remember of the rough texture of his workpants against my small fingers when I gripped his leg to sit on his lap.

“Papa, what does it say? Tell me the story. Please, what is it?”

I remember that my father smelled of Gauloises cigarettes, masculine sweat, and cologne, while my mother smelled of coffee, French chalk, and eau de toilette.

My father drove trucks from Normandy to Paris every single day.

My mother was a seamstress working from home.

When my mother sewed, she listened to the radio.

When my father wasn’t driving, he read.

So it is possibly true that I learned how to read with my father.

I was also told that my paternal grandfather, blind by the time…

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