He didn’t speak English, but it didn’t matter

My parents bought our summer Cape Cod house in 1960.  Prior to that, dating back to the forties, we rented cabins at  Daggett’s rentals in West Harwich, fairly close to the  beach.

I have great  memories of those cabins, but none greater then the year that I turned eight.

During our two week stay that summer, only one other  child my age stayed at the  cabins.  And this boy, named Yves, was French Canadian and only spoke French.  Not a word of English.

So we met, and we sat, and we somehow managed to  converse.  True, it took longer than conversation with English speaking kids, but  we did not seem to mind.

During the next week, which was the length of his stay,  we did everything.  If  the  weather was bad, we played checkers, cards,  and a ton of board  games.  We ate at each other’s cabins.

When it was nice out, we played horseshoes, wiffleball, tag and  spent hours  at the beach.  And when we were at the beach, we made sand castles, went swimming, boated,  fished, and joined other beach kids in games.

We were inseparable. And our parents were  thrilled with our  connection.

Learned a few words of French, but not much.

Yves learned a few words of English.

At the end of the week, we were devastated.  We hated to  see the  week come  to a close.  The one thing we could not see fit to do was write each other letters.  We needed that personal face time to make our thing work.

Surprisingly, as an adult, a similar situation  happened.  My wife, son, and I took a train from Paris to Madrid, and I was not allowed in the same berth as  my wife and son (very strange).  So I berthed with a young Spanish man.

And we conversed all night.

He knew  little English, and  I knew less Spanish.

But we managed.

Things sometimes work out better that way.


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