Life in the Trenches – Chapter 2

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For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

Ephesians 6:12

If I were to tell you my about my childhood, you would find nothing extraordinary in it, apart from those unique threads that make up the fibers of everyone’s soul. And my threads would look something like this: daughter of a symphony musician, three siblings – one biologically related and two adopted, a renovated old house for our home, an emphasis on education, discipline, manners and culture. That is what I would use to describe where I come from. Beyond that, my childhood memories seem to lack distinction, kind of like a GPS which is zoomed out too far to see the smaller details – those tiny roads that lead off the highway into smaller towns.

My memories are more like the movies my brother-in-law makes of the children playing in Bretagne each summer – there are seven nieces and nephews, plus our three in all. Each movie is set to loud music, with a whirlwind of bodies moving in fast motion across the sand, interspersed with close-ups of children’s faces that block the vision of the sea and the cliffs beyond. Those tell one story. And then there are the pauses in chaos where bodies move in real time or even in slow motion, with a deliberateness that tells another story. This is how I remember my childhood – a few close-ups amidst the whirling chaos.

I am the daughter of a symphony musician who was raised in upstate New York, and I simply breathe all things classical, be it music or 19th century literature (English and Russian). I married Sir Renaissance in New York City, and before I knew it, he had swept me up and brought me back home to his own country. So here we are. Three children, a rather ordinary life in a rather exceptional place. I am now ‘A Lady in France.’

Posted in Memoire, Tout le Reste (Everything else)
15 comments on “Life in the Trenches – Chapter 2
  1. Alison says:

    Stunning, Jennie. I love these glimpses into the light and dark of your growing up years. xo

  2. Mama D says:

    Wow. I can’t imagine carrying that kind of burden of anxiety as a child!

    • ladyjennie says:

      Thanks for your comment MD! :-) I did reassure my parents before publishing this that I don’t blame them for that suffering. I have a chemical propensity towards depression and anxiety that I now manage very well with medication.

  3. OpinionsToGo says:

    Wow, talk about ‘yin and yang!’ Two very different families and two very different influences.

    Really love the line:” When it comes to family, though, you tend to make peace with the anomalies until they become the norm.”

    Until next Time!

  4. *** I moved over on my pillow as a small child and whispered to Jesus, “Here. You can sleep on the pillow next to me,” as I moved over to make room.***

    I love that!

    btw, I’ve been to Edina many times. Lovely.

  5. Andrea says:

    Gorgeous. The last paragraph moved me to tears.

  6. Katharina says:

    Lovely. I can feel your pains, your simple pleasures and your growth in your words.
    Take all of your experiences and never regret or be angered by them as they are the soil that you grew from to be the beautiful flower you are today.

  7. Anna See says:

    I loved this! I can really envision your childhood from the picture you painted here. Love you and can’t wait to read more.

  8. Sissi says:

    Jennie, You know me…..I like to look at pictures. I’m not a big reader. I couldn’t stop reading this blog. I look forward to more.

  9. Carole says:

    When I saw the photo, I thought it was your daughter, then I noticed the vintage tones!
    Wonderful writing, as always. That moment with your dad and brother must have been incredible.

  10. anymommy says:

    Beautifully told. I too loved the imagery of the last paragraph.

  11. Read 1 & 2 yesterday and plan to read the rest today.

    Really enjoying this so far. Beautifully written and very inspiring to me (I started writing my memories a while back – not anything like this memoire of course!)

    I remember old houses and the strange hiding places we would find. Perfect for playing Sardines!

  12. gigi says:

    I love that very last paragraph where you moved over to make room for Jesus….such a beautiful image. If we could all move over in the beds that lie in our hearts to make room…

    taking my time getting through all the chapters, but very much enjoying your stories. I am amazed at how much you can remember from your childhood!

I'm Lady Jennie - Welcome to A Lady in France!

I think I was born in the wrong era. I am meant to live in the 19th century. In England. Born into an aristocratic family that is independently wealthy and doesn't need to marry off its daughters to save them from becoming spinster governesses. ( To continue reading, please click here. )

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