My book’s face prominently displays a bracelet in a photograph taken by my husband. The bracelet was given to me in 2005 by the owner of a store in the Clignancourt flea market in Paris, France. I wrote about this gift in the book:
“Pardon, Monsieur”, I said, in my best French accent. He stood up and said, “Oui, Madame?”
I held out the bracelet to him and said, “C’est combien?” He took the bracelet from me and looked closely at it.
Then he held it back out to me in one hand, put his other hand over his heart and said, “Je tiens a vous donner ceci comme un cadeau de mon coeur.” That sounded to me like he was saying that he wanted to give it to me, as a gift from his heart, but I wanted to be sure.
“Pardon?”, I asked, and he said the same thing again and handed it back to me.
“Merci,” I said, “merci beaucoup!”
I didn’t know why he was giving it to me, but I was very pleased and grateful. After exchanging smiles with the man, I went back outside just in time to see my husband coming out of the shop next door with a handful of antique postcards.
“Look what I got!”, I said, and handed him the bracelet. “The man, I guess he was the owner, gave it to me but I don’t know why”, and I told him what the man had said, about it being a gift from his heart.
“I see why he gave it to you,” my husband said, pointing to one of the scenes on the bracelet that I had missed. “See the date? And he knew you were American.”
I looked closely at the date on the scene that he was pointing to: it read “Paris Liberation 1944” and showed a ship sailing. I felt dizzy and sat down on the curb. It was a bracelet made to commemorate the liberation ofParisby American forces during World War II, and from all the hundreds of items in that shop, I had chosen this one. As I clutched the bracelet in my hand, I remembered seeing the photographer lying wounded on the floor of the hotel.”
As well as having a face on my book, my book now has a Facebook page.