Sleuthing Pen Pals from the Past

IMG_1833I was looking through a pile of letters that my aunt had saved, and found this gem. Although my aunt traveled quite a lot, I believe this was from before those days. There was no date or post mark I could decipher! It appears to be a first letter from a pen pal in Rouen, France.
IMG_1835I’m going to assume that this is legible and not re-write it. If I’m wrong, let me knowand I’ll make the change. Click on it twice for a better view.
Page two:
” I have traveled a lot in France but I have never been to foreign lands. This next spring I am going to the south of France.” (Something about a tandem bicycle with her sisters? I’m a little rusty on my French.) “What is your favorite sport?”
Mlle Germaine Chavard, 15 Avenue de Grammont, Rouen, France

Would you like to see what 15 Avenue de Grammont looks like?

This is a Google street view. But what a disappointment that the house has been torn down. Moving down the road just a little farther on though, there’s a house I’m going to guess is similar because of the gate and wall:
IMG_1838Looks like a lovely family home.
I’m going out on a limb here, but I’m guessing the letter was sent in the 1930’s. My aunt was 6 years older than my dad, and he was born in ’22.
Here’s the house she lived in when she received the letter. I am not sure if my grandfather built this house, although he built two just a few blocks away from this one.
IMG_1839I’ll have to go through the rest of the letters carefully to see if there are further exchanges, but the first glance did not show any more from Germaine.



13 responses to “Sleuthing Pen Pals from the Past

  1. Such an adventure. I love old things. Letters must be the best. Lucky you, Jeanne.

  2. My French is super rusty, but it looks like Madamoiselle Germaine is talking about next summer l’ete prochain in the present tense. Anyway, she’s going tandem biking just like her sisters (did). In English, we sometimes use present tense to talk about future plans, especially going through, say, a general travel schedule… and then we go to Belgium, and after that we go to Normandie, etc. Usually the first step will be in future tense, and then we simplify to present tense after that. I do not know if the same sort of thing is possible in French. I’m sure you’re way fascinated by the grammar.

  3. I always forget to sign in, drattit.

  4. It still put me as anonymous. Lord.

  5. The devil is in the, and so forth.

  6. Forget all the grammar BS. Correction: Next summer I will go (I enlarged it and saw it was j’irai) tandem biking in the South of France, I go biking a lot just like my sisters. Faire en tandem is enough to say tandem biking. You bait me with French, knowing I can’t resist.

    • Ha,ha Roger. I knew generally what it meant, I was just too lazy to analyze it. Thanks for the many comments. Keep it up and I won’t even have to write this blog, I’ll just comment on your comments, how does that sound?

  7. What a find! I remember being at school and we were encouraged to have pen pals. I started with all good intentions but I’m not a lover of letter-writing so things seemed to fizzle out after a couple of letters.

  8. What a wonderful adventure you’ve had, hunting happy ghosts. A beautiful project, and it invites so many further questions about what did and didn’t follow…

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