Cade, Marilyn: Paris

When I was 9 years old my father was transferred to Paris in December of 1953. The arrival of thousands of US dependents into post WWII Europe was well under way but still a bit chaotic. No schools were built yet in Paris, so I was in an elementary and high school in an old downtown building not far from the Bois de Boulogne. Infrastructure In France was still partially collapsed and the beautiful Paris buildings seemed grim. But it was Christmas, and teachers did what teachers do, and pulled off the miracle of a Christmas concert. I don’t think I had ever been to a concert before in my life. This was the first time I heard the 12 Days of Christmas, with all the accompanying hand movements and it was so unexpected, funny and fresh for me. Completely delighted.

I’m sure they performed most of the favorite Christmas carols. Then suddenly a trumpet sounded, every person in the auditorium rose to their feet, and I heard the Hallelujah Chorus from The Messiah for the first time.

I can’t even write this without goosebumps and a tear or two.

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