Five Photos Five Stories

Although I have been happy in many places, some settings have mattered to me more than others. Some locations, natural features, and architecture are etched on my mind. Of course, the setting of my childhood is the one that left its first imprint.

 

When I was a child growing up in Normandy, I had more physical freedom that I gave to my four children who grew up in New England and California. My family lived in a small village, and although my parents were more attentive than most of my classmates’ parents, I walked to my elementary school, ran grocery errands for my maman and bought cigarettes for my papa at the café when I was only six or seven years old.

But it is when I got my first bike that I really discovered the backroads of my neighborhood. Rain or shine you could find me biking as soon as my homework was finished. I was a good student, but I remember rushing through an assignment in order to bike. Just behind my family home ran a small country road that nobody, except residents, used. My maman let me bike there, alone or with my sister and friends, as long as I was home for dinner. I keep fond memories of biking expeditions with my sister and friends, but this is alone that I liked biking best.

On my bike I forgot that I was a kid and had to follow rules.

On my bike I saw the world like a kid sees it: impossibly big, exciting and also a little scary.

When I pedaled I loved the hand of the wind on my face and its fingers messing up my hair. The rain splashed on each side of my bike when I rode through a puddle and I was crossing a river. On cold winter days the sun was a scarf around my neck. On hot summer afternoons it burnt my calves and shoulders and I forgot that I lived in Normandy.

But what I loved best was the ability to drop my bike on the side of the road to venture beyond the fenced fields, which define Normandy.

What waited for me at the end of this shaded path?

IMG_0094

Heart slapping in my chest I would slowly make my way through the thick bushes, impatient and frightened at the same time.

Back home, cheeks flushed and ravenous, I would quickly wash my hands before sitting at the kitchen table.

Did you have a good time? my maman would ask me.

She had no idea that I was just arriving from a trip at the edge of the world.

 

I’d like to invite Nicki to this Five Photos Five Stories Challenge. In her writing setting takes a big role.

 

The rules of the Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge are simple:

1) Post a photo each day for five consecutive days.
2) Attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or a short paragraph. It’s entirely up to the individual.
3) Nominate another blogger to carry on the challenge. Your nominee is free to accept or decline the invitation. This is fun, not a command performance!

Comments

  1. I rode my bike for the same reasons when I was a kid and it was also my favorite activity, unlike this generation I like to take it all in without being connected and just enjoy 🙂

    • Bikes are so cool when we are kids, I agree. My kids biked a lot too, although with less freedom than I had back then. What a great invention! I’m fortunate to be able to bike regularly and still feel some of the thrill. Although the one we experience as kids is very special. Thanks, Andy, for another visit to my blog.

  2. That looks like a fun place to ride a bike.I can imagine the thoughts going through your head. I had so many adventures on my bike when I was a child. It’s no wonder I still enjoy riding.

    • I feel lucky to have lived in the country. And biking was certainly great. Kids still enjoy their bikes but most of them can’t enjoy the freedom our parents gave us back then. Glad that you can still enjoy your bike, Dan, and the adventures that go with them.

  3. Ahh…that trip to the edge of the world! I remember so many of these very same trips too Evelyne, the way you describe your bike rides along those country roads could be the very same ones I took on my bike, just across the English Channel in my Suffolk countryside! Hubby and I are in the process of buying bicycles, our first since we were children. I wonder if the adventure will take us to the edge of the world in quite the same way 😉 Lovely post Evelyne, as always, and so good to read your beautiful writing again. I hope you are having a wonderful summer, see you soon 🙂

    • I’m pretty sure that our backroads were similar, Sherri. Only a channel separated us! It’s awesome to read that you and your husband are purchasing bikes. I love long walks and hikes but bike rides are very special. Thank you for your kind words on my writing and for your visit.

  4. Love this Evelyne, what a wonderful description of the freedom of slipping off on your bike to adventure. Great image – that path is magical. And that last line is so powerful.

  5. So nice to see you, Andrea. And thank you for your kind words. Short posts force me to use more vivid descriptions. Glad you like the last line. Merci!

  6. Oh again a nice picture and a very nice memory. I really enjoy your writing Evelyne!
    Reading your little story today, made me think that you would get on great with my mother, who grew up with the freedoms of the countryside herself in northern Germany.

    • Thanks Solveig. Physical freedom was, I think, greater for my generation. Parents didn’t play or spend as much time with their kids as we do now. Both have advantages. But definitely for biking adventures, it was awesome to be left alone! Glad you are enjoying this short challenge. Thank you for inviting me to participate.

  7. This is how childhood should be – full of adventure. Do you think life was safer when we were young?

    • Thank you, Claire. The village where I grew up was safe. There was traffic on the main road that we had to watch. But we got used to it pretty quickly. Definitely our parents weren’t as obsessed as we are now with their kids. Physical freedom was greater. We had less ‘tools’ to play with, so we had to be creative in order to stay busy. Kids got to play together without organized playdates. Was it the same in California for you?

  8. Living way out in the country biking riding was a favorite past time, but also necessity if I wanted to go any where. Really enjoyed reading about your childhood.

    • Nice to see you, Mary. You are right about biking. A bike played many roles, and certainly going from point A to B when you live a few kilometers away from shops and other necessities is important. Thank you for stopping by.

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