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Sweet Madame

Vache sacree!  My neighbor is French, as in Paris.  The for sale sign came down a few days ago, so I have been waiting anxiously to see who bought the Kravitz’ house.  Yesterday morning, a moving truck pulled up front and it was followed soon after by a dark sedan with Madame and Mister Underbridge.  As soon as the car pulled up, neighbors appeared on the sidewalk outside to greet them.  I watched for a little while from behind the drapes.  I didn’t want to disturb them when they had so much work to do.  There didn’t seem to be much furniture and some of it must have been from France since I had never seen a few pieces available in our furniture stores.

While I was making supper, there was a slight rapping on the front door.  That’s how I met Chloe, as she liked to be called.  She introduced herself and I invited her in.  I kept my cool enough to introduce myself but was still a little mesmerized by her accent.  She was obviously from France but spoke perfect English. Chloe asked to borrow a cup of sugar and held out an aluminum cup.

I was a little flustered but agreed and went into the kitchen to get it.  She followed me and I asked her if there was anything else she needed.  She looked at the full cup and laughed a little to herself.  She told me that she didn’t really need the sugar but thought that was how she was supposed to introduce herself to her new neighbors.  She said the government had given her a pamphlet on life in the suburbs when they arrived.  We both laughed.  I realized that I could handle this a little better.  I took some notepaper and wrote down our names and phone number and handed it back.  I told her that when she had time, to please call and we would get to know each other better.  We were neighbors after all.  I also told her if she really needed anything to just ask.  I wanted us to get off to a good start and I could tell that she was a little embarrassed at falling for the government’s idea on how to make a friend.  Chloe confessed that she was a little tired from all the moving and thanked me for the note.  She asked to borrow my pen.  Chloe nearly ripped the paper into two pieces and wrote down their names and number also.  She had beautiful penmanship!  I read over the names and spoke them aloud.  Francis, Chloe and Marie-Claire Underbridge.  Chloe explained that Francis was out of the military now and she had met him through her work in the Resistance.   Vache sacree!  I wanted to know everything now but understood that there would be time for us to talk again soon.

I asked Chloe if they had food for dinner and she confessed that three American casseroles had already been delivered by other neighbors.  That sounds right; I warned her that more were coming.  Chloe explained that they were surprised by the abundance, but it didn’t shock me.  We’re good people here on Calista Court.

Chloe would learn that in time.  She thanked me for the sugar and I stood at the front door and waved as she left.  Welcome to Monterey Park, Madame!

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