Yesterday morning, I decided to try to find my childhood (vacation) house in Saint-Lunaire.
It took me a few hours but I did find the house. Still standing there and even more beautiful than I remembered. Stairs still leading down to the beach, hard to find but I did find them.
I even took a long walk on the «Pointe du Décollé». No ladybugs. No aunt and no cousins either. ‘Nevermore’, said the raven.
My happy memories were somehow tinged with sadness and regrets.
I know how to keep on walking though. So I did some more walking.
This afternoon, I came upon two houses... not very far from Les Tertres. I know them well because I walk past them every time I go to the Vallées.
1936 - The first socialist government ever to be elected in France promulgates the first paid vacations for all workers. Incredible. People get to go to the seaside for the first time in their life. Since they are not wealthy, town councils decide to go on a building spree. They build and rent those cabins to the new tourists (actually we are not talking about tourism then and there). Happy workers from the Paris area staying two weeks or less in those charming cottages, away from work and paid nevertheless, for the first time in their life. Hard to imagine.
When we first got to Les Tertres, many cabins were still rented to ‘humble’ people on a weekly basis. Then winter storms and consumerism destroyed them... This one is the only one standing today probably because it is not facing the sea. Could it be a reminder that in a not so very remote time, people were happy to live in a one room cabin.
Well this was the part of the town that nobody talked about. The other part was regal, of course and belonged to a world who did not need to wait until 1936 to go on a vacation and actually fought against the socialist government for encouraging idleness in the working class. Do I need to mention that the other part had its own ‘private’ beach?
When we bought Les Tertres, it was already falling in ruins. Nobody knew much about it. Some said it had been deserted by its owners a long time ago. There were tales of violent death. The elements and trespassers sped up its decay.
Every time I see it, I can’t help thinking about Edgar Poe’s House of Usher... (before the Fall). Creepy.
Today was not a happy day. Well, there are days when being a literary person is not enough to face life.
Because of those houses, present and past, I was thinking about homelessness while walking on the beach.
What was I doing reliving the past? Happy memories, yes. But what about now? I am not and have never been homeless.
Homelessness due to life’s trials. Homelessness due to greed, hatred and wars. Homelessness and exclusion.
I find it very hard to watch repeatedly trailers and makeshift shelters squashed and destroyed by Carterpillar tractors driven by French policemen in order to justify the deportation of hundreds of Romani back to their ‘homeland’.
Homeless Romani in the name of what?
To please xenophobic tendencies among people, the French people, my people.
The stench of racism and exclusion is back.
Who can trust a nation which claims to defend Human Rights everywhere in the world and then allows them to be trampled on a daily basis at its very heart?
Today was not a happy day. Not a happy day at all.
*Good Luck, and Good Night*