Saturday, June 16, 2007

Eccentricity Serendipity

As a French teacher in the USA, I was fortunate to have a number of bright and creative students. One of the most memorable was a young man who was crazy about all things French, and who traveled to France with me on a small group trip I led.

I suppose for a high school student in the late eighties, he was considered a bit eccentric. I considered him brilliant, and always wondered what his future would hold.

Years went by, and unfortunately I never stayed in touch with him, nor did I ever really find out where life had led him.

Then this very morning, I received a rather mysterious comment on And So Forth:

Salut. C'est un petit monde, mon professeur.-Pierre-Marie

Pierre-Marie? I can barely remember many of my former students' real names, let alone the French first names that they chose for class. And why did any of my students have silly names like "Pierre-Marie"? (I guess that's beside the point.)

Frantic searching through pseudonym-laden blogs and websites ensued.

Finally I found out who Pierre-Marie was. He's living in the Czech Republic and appears to be an excellent modern artist. Why am I not surprised?

Salut, Siouxfire.

Your message came just in time to inspire me for today's Sunday Scribblings.

Click here for more Sunday Scribblings inspired by the prompt "eccentricity."

28 comments:

Siouxfire said...

How flattering - thank you. There is something about the name "Pierre-Marie" that sticks like a splinter. Add to that the similarity between Curry and Curie and it gets more ridiculous.

I can't seem to find a way to email via your profile. My email is siouxfire(at)hotmail(dot)com.

Regina Clare Jane said...

Wow- what timing! Congratulations to your student!

Steve said...

Wow! This is crazy. I've often wondered what "Pierre-Marie" / "siouxfire" (<-- eh?) / Curry has been up to all these years. I'm not sure I know anymore now, but at least it's good to know he's still around.

- "Thomas"

Betty C. said...

Yes, he is only the second person to find me directly through my blogs. I'll have to stop by yours again soon, Thomas! Thanks for your message.

Siouxfire said...

Steve, there is something oddly satisfying in still being able to provoke an "eh?" out of you after all these years.

It's good to know you're still around too.

Patois said...

Am I the only one who finds it a bit eccentric that you allowed the kids to choose a French first name? Loved that you're being found.

Betty C. said...

I actually think it was de rigueur in language classes at the time. Now a lot of my daughters' American friends who take French end up adopting my girls' French first names! Probably a better choice than some I used to hand out on a mimeographed sheet. (Mireille anyone?)

Sentient Marrow said...

I definitely remember having to adopt a foreign name for each of my language classes... In German class I was Ulriche and in French class I believe I was Claudette. Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this post especially since serendipity has brought your missing student and you together...

DJPare said...

Cool story!
You obviously had an influence on him. Small world though, huh...

wheresmymind said...

The creativity of my wife's students never fails to amaze me at times...well, that and their naughtiness!

Bongga Mom said...

Small world indeed, and how nice to see the blogosphere reuniting old friends.

FYI thanks for visiting my blog. And BTW Palo Alto is still nothing like Manhattan, but i wouldn't call it sleepy -- lots of dot-com millionaires, VC's, and assorted professionals have taken residence amidst the students and professors.

Matthew said...

What a great story! You touch the world and it touches you right back. Reunions are a nice way to see the progression of life through someone else's eyes.

Steve said...

(To siouxfire:) LOL! When was the last time you watched "the movie"?

(To everyone:) Betty was a great teacher, and she is the only teacher from my high school years (now 19 years ago -- gasp!) with whom I have regular contact. Her enthusiasm for all things French was contagious, and she was a friend to all students.

However, she did pester the living heck out of me to take debate class! I'll forgive her for that, though.... ;-)

Yoga Gal said...

What an inspiring story! How wonderful to know that you encouraged and inspired a student! I use to teach yoga at a Center that handle gang kids. One of my students fell so much in love with yoga he cahnged his life around, got out of the gang-banger lifestyle and wentto Idnia to study yoga. He is know a better master yogi than I am! Thanks for sharing your story! Namaste.

Betty C. said...

Thanks for the nice comment, Steve.

I'm going to stop by your blog now and give you Siouxfire's email address, though, so you can speak to him directly and not through my blog! Not that I mind, though.

Siouxfire said...

Oh yes, Betty was a friend to all the students and wonderful teacher. I recall that she lugged a box full of Sartre's "Les Jeux Sont Faits" for each and every one of us that she bought on a trip to France.

And debate too, I don't think I ever let go of the perspective of seeing everything from both sides of the coin. Thank you for that, Betty C.

And Steve, it seems as if we have been caught "talking in class" ;) No, Mr. Pritchett I believe has the only surviving copy.

And YogaGal, I've known people from similarly troubled backgrounds who found yoga to be a liberating outlet-thanks for sharing that/

Betty C. said...

"Talking in class," LOL!

Actually if THE FILM is what I remember, I think I have a video copy at my parents' house. I wonder if those videos would still work after sitting in a box for so long...

steve said...

"Talking in class" -- yes, that was funny!

Betty said: I'm going to stop by your blog now and give you Siouxfire's email address, though, so you can speak to him directly and not through my blog!

And spare your adoring readers such piquant persiflage? I think not!

As for the film, oh, I'm pretty sure I have a copy of it, too. My guess is that it has spent several summers in our attic. Perhaps it is time to revisit Siouxfire's magnum opus....

Then again, Siouxfire, how much is it worth to you to make sure it never makes it onto YouTube? LOL!

(Ok, I'll stop now.)

Siouxfire said...

steve said: Then again, Siouxfire, how much is it worth to you to make sure it never makes it onto YouTube?
That reminds me of some piquant "artwork" you left in my annual that has yet to be posted to Flickr. :)

Isn't it odd the number of countries we span?

Betty C. said...

OK, I'll leave at least one more comment here to make it an even 20 -- I think that's the most comments I've had on any post, even if the three of us provided most of them!

I can't wait to see if I can find "the film."

I often think about what sort of "cultural activities" we would have been able to do in the digital age. I remember that making videos was a pretty technologicaly advanced project 20 or so years ago! And there's something quaint about lugging home the Sartre books, which I had to track down directly in a French bookshop!

Alison said...

That is SO cool! And I loved reading all the comments, too.

Betty C. said...

Hi Alison! It's funny you should drop in on this post -- the comments from and between two of my ex-students have been quite interesting to keep up with! ASF as a mini-high school reunion...

Steve said...

Siouxfire, I've no idea of the artwork to which you refer, though I've also little doubt of its nature. I'm sure it probably has something to do with the breaks taken during all-night film editing sessions at Dean's house.

And with that, I think we must both plead the 5th. We wouldn't want Betty to feel she contributed to the delinquency of so many minors.

Ay, caramba!

Betty C. said...

Dean? Who was Dean?

Deliquency? Carry on! I guess I don't want you to change forums! This is all much too fun...

Siouxfire said...

Steve said: Ay, caramba!

That is typical of the response from anyone browsing said annual and your memory serves you well.

Delinquency? I don't think Betty ever contributed to any inappropriate behavior directly. ;)

However, France...

And Dean was the poor, giving individual who allowed us to to play, pause and rewind his VCR to death.

Betty C. said...

Yes, I remember how a certain had a little too much to drink at our going-away dinner in Paris. I suppose that wouldn't go over very well with today's neocons! But it was legal, it really was!

Betty C. said...

Certain student, that is. I got caught up in some cut and pasting...

Steve said...

Betty said: Carry on! I guess I don't want you to change forums! This is all much too fun...

C'est l'esprit! (No idea if a literal translation works, but can I get points for trying?)