Part I of II



We had recently set up our liaison office in Cherbourg, France when a young English-speaking French girl came in, seeking a job as an interpreter. She spoke English quite well, and unlike other young French girls, appeared healthy. She said she was a Cherbourg resident.

Tall, black-haired Captain Blakemore walked her to his desk. “I heard him begin, “Well young lady… and, as he walked her to the door, he ended, “… check back next week. We have a few others to interview.”

She stopped before leaving and asked, “Could I get a ride home? I live at the base of French Fort, on the west side of town.”

Slender Capt. Blakemore turned to us, “Can one of you men give this lady a ride home?”

Six-foot-four Hank grinned. “I will.”

At the same time, Morris, whose nickname was “Shorty,” chimed, “I will!”

She looked at those two soldiers and at another guy and then her eyes rested on me.

“I’d prefer this soldier give me a ride home.”

I had no idea why she chose me, but I smiled. “We can leave right away.”

As I drove the Jeep towards her home, a few miles away, she talked about “the mountain,” near her home, saying how wonderful it was. When I stopped the vehicle at her house, she said she’d like me to accompany her “up the mountain.” She added, “I have to go into my home first.”

We were at the northwest base of the hill, on top of which was the French Fort. The house was two stories. It had a few sheds in an enclosed back yard, which butted, up against the mountain.

She invited me, “Come in a moment.”

I stood near the doorway while she talked rapidly in French to the family there.

I didn’t speak French, but knew a few words and had some experience figuring what being said by intonation and body language. It seems to me there was some kind of issue. She was trying to convince the family that it was in their best interest.

We returned to the Jeep. I asked, “What was that all about?”

She shook her head, “Nothing.”

I was puzzled. Whatever had been said sounded very important to me.

I glanced at the back yard and saw a narrow path from the property. It climbed up the mountainside and would offer a good view of the harbor.

The Cherbourg mountain today (Thanks to www.Bunkerpictures)

The Cherbourg mountain today (Thanks to www.Bunkerpictures)

I bent and dutifully padlocked a chain to the Jeep’s steering wheel. I followed her up the path.

(To be continued.)

Le (Oct. ‘14) says, “I was only eighteen. In a way, this seemed like an adventure.”

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