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Sit in on this Virtual Memoir Tour

Today, I am urging you to sit back and enjoy this virtual memoir tour in which I read an excerpt read from my memoir French Boy/A 1950s Franco-American Childhood.

Here’s some necessary background: I did not learn English until I went to grade school. My brother had preceded me in school where he had learned to speak English.

While this excerpt can be thought of as a cute story, I included it in my memoir because it supports the necessity of bilingual education. This sound pedagogy is too often under attack! My own life was greatly impacted by the thoughtful bilingual education I received.

Enough preamble: You have a choice of going to YouTube to listen to the reading on the virtual memoir tour or you can read the text of the video below.


The night before starting first grade, because Billy was one of the “big boys” who was going into the second grade, I asked him the big question on my mind. I needed an answer.

“What happens at school if you can’t speak English?”

“The sisters hit you,” he answered from the other half of our double bed, “if you don’t speak English to them.”

I began to howl and scream. Soon my mother was next to us, asking what the matter was, and I told her what Billy had said. “Is that true?”

“Your father and I would not send you to a school where you will be punished for not speaking English.”

She then said to my brother, “If you tell him things like that again, it’s you who will be punished.” After she left the bedroom, I could hear her telling my father I had been crying.

Our room was dark. From his half of the bed, my brother whispered, “She had to tell you that because she’s mama, but it’s not true.”

The next day, with great apprehension, I set out for the unknown. My father, who had driven us to the school in the truck, admonished Billy to look after me. (At that point, how confident could I be about my “protector!”) After we had exited the truck cab, the two of us walked up the schoolyard and climbed the steps to the porch. On either side of the entrance door, there was a bench and, to the right and to the left of these, were groupings of four windows for each of the four classrooms. I sat on the bench at the side on which the door opened. From inside, I heard footsteps approaching. Someone was coming towards us. I leaned against the wall of the school to make myself small. By the time I heard the door bar being pushed down to open the door, I was in full terror mode.

A young nun stuck her head out the door, and looking directly at me, she said, “Bonjour, petit garçon.”

In the next couple of years, I learned to speak English in a smooth and painless manner.

Here is this week’s FREE video e-course which I have prepared especially for you.

~ Get Your Book Read By More people

~ Promote Your Memoir Effectively for Maximum Sales

~ You Are the Expert. Take Charge of Your Publishing.

To link to the video of me reading this story, click HERE.

And remember: “inch by inch, it’s a cinch; yard by yard it’s hard.”

Good luck writing your stories!

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