Musee Airborne

Image result for images of airborne museum

My Mama would always say that George’s picture was  in the Airborne Museum in St-Mere-Eglise.  When we visited the first time in 1999, I looked for the familiar picture.  I found it but was shocked that he was just one of thousands of unnamed paratroopers.   This was the beginning of my journey. . . . I wanted to ensure that his story would be complete and correct into perpetuity.  What better place to begin our family trip to Normandy and then to Cambridge American Cemetery was St-Mere-Eglise where George’s and my journey began.
Image result for images of airborne museum
Image result for images of airborne museum
Across the village square from the Musee Airborne, is this little church .  The dramatic entry into the village on D-Day  is immortalized with the parachute and manikin.
Image result for images of airborne museum
This is a tangible memorial to John Steele who was caught on the church roof when he parachuted into St -Mere -Eglise  on the early morning on June 6, 1944.   John hung there limply pretending to be dead  before he was captured by German soldiers.  Steele survived and during his life visited this site many time, always hailed as a hero by the people in the town.  They never forgot  with love and appreciation that St.-Mere-Eglise was the first French village liberated by our heroes, of whom John Steele is one.
Posted in France, history, Musee Airborne, St-Mere-Eglise, Travel, Uncategorized, WWII | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Travel Logistics to Normandy

Today I will share with you our travels to Normandy. This is going to the heart of the  trip for my family. . . . 11 of us. We were on the way to trace the steps of my brother’s time in Normandy after his jump early in the dark early morning of D Day. He made his way to St.-Mere-Eglise and to La Fiere  Bridge. More on that later on.

David and I started in our Montmartre apartment with an Uber called for 6:30 pickup. Image result for uber taxi images

Well, call is incorrect.  You text for a cab but the very first step is getting the app for Uber when you register with your credit card. You can see on your phone if there are Uber Cars in your neighborhood.   You text, needing your exact address and the exact address where you want to go. You are told then how much you owe, it is charged to your card, and the car appears within the time that is on your phone.

The first Uber that arrived  had a problem. . .. severe language deficiency between the driver and David.  He speaks several languages and usually can get by.  A frantic few minutes as David texted for another.. . . Would he be double charged?  A woman driver came and she spoke broken English.  It was good to hear.  We had decided to take the car the whole way to the airport  to the rental car desk instead of going in the cab to the North Station and going on a train as we did when we arrived.  All went well in spite of the city traffic.  We got our car and headed to Normandy.   Car one on the way! ( We were charged only once from Montmartre to Charlels De Gaul Airport, though it was $60. . . .ouch!)

Car two was our son and his family who had been in Paris for a few days prior to  this trip. He had rented a car in the city  and had an uneventful trip to Normandy.

My daughter and her family were landing that morning after a flight from JFK in New York. I was concerned about checked luggage after the ETA of 9:30  and an appointment  at 3 PM at the Airborne Museum in St-Mere-Eglise. Six of us arrive on time to meet Eric Belloc, who is the curator of the museum.

Eric and I had had a number of messages after a visit we had made in 1999 to the Airborne Museum.  I had found Geroge’s picture, the same one my Mama had in the house , smiling in his uniform.   But there was no Paratrooper’s Faith or name under his picture.!  He was just an unnamed DDay paratrooper.

Here is the display now with a letter from Gen. Gavin just off to the left. General Gavin was the beloved General officer of the 82 nd Airborne Division. He loved his men and they loved him.  He learned all their names and never asked them to jump without him jumping as well.  Once and it may have been the DDay jump, he broke his back in the fall but stayed on the battlefield with his men for three days before seeking medical attention.

Eric Bellow came to meet me and shake his hand.  I gave him a copy of the book my Mama wrote about GBT for the family called FROM POLIO TO PARATROOPER as a thank you for helping me and putting up with my endless questions.

Katie and her family arrived too late to  meet Eric  but with many funny stories of driving in Paris and the kids were starving. . . . at least the two teens were.  They had some twists and turns until they found the proper road to Normandy .  We were all together and now on the way to Domain Airborne where would would stay for three night in Normandy.   Off we went to our 16 Century farmhouse complex!    Stay tuned~


Posted in France, history, Montemarte AirB&B Uber, Paris, Uncategorized, WWII | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

India Media Storm Over 10-Year-Old Pregnant Rape Victim

India media storm over 10-year-old pregnant rape victim
7 August 2017  BBC NEWS

An image depicting child abuse

A 10-year-old girl who is pregnant and has been refused an abortion is at the centre of a media storm in India. The BBC’s Geeta Pandey travelled to the northern city of Chandigarh to piece together her story.

“We have seen lots of cases of teenage pregnancies involving 14 to 15-year-olds, but this is the first ever case that I have seen of a 10-year-old,” said Mahavir Singh, of the Chandigarh State Legal Services Authority.
Mr Singh has been involved in a case which has shocked Chandigarh and the rest of India, that of a 10-year-old girl who became pregnant after allegedly being repeatedly raped by a relative.

That relative is now in jail, pending trial.

Image result for No Rape sign in India

The girl in question has been described as a happy child who smiles easily. She’s shy and not very talkative. English and mathematics are the favourite subjects of this class six student. She loves to draw and is pretty good at it. She can’t get enough of her favourite cartoon shows Chhoti Anandi (Little Anandi) and Shin Chan. She loves chicken and fish – and ice-cream.

But on 28 July, India’s Supreme Court rejected a petition – filed on her behalf – to allow her to abort, on the grounds that at 32 weeks, she is too far into her pregnancy. A doctors’ panel had advised the court that a termination at this stage would be “too risky” for the girl, and that the foetus was “doing well”.
The court order was a huge disappointment for the girl’s family.
‘She has no idea what happened’
Indian law does not allow terminations after 20 weeks unless doctors certify that the mother’s life is in danger.

But in recent years, the courts have received several petitions, many from child rape survivors, seeking to terminate pregnancies after 20 weeks. In most cases, these pregnancies are discovered late because the children are not aware of their condition.
A campaign against child sexual abuseImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image caption
In India, a child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes, a child under 10 every 13 hours
In the case of this 10-year-old too, the pregnancy was discovered only three weeks ago when she complained of pain in her lower abdomen and her mother took her to a doctor.
Someone who interacts with the girl on a regular basis says: “She’s very innocent and has no idea what’s happened to her.”
Her parents also missed the telltale signs, perhaps because she’s “a healthy, chubby child”. Besides, they couldn’t imagine even in their wildest nightmares that their daughter could be pregnant at 10.
The child has still not been told about her pregnancy and, for those dealing with her, talking to her is like treading on eggshells. She has been told that she has a big stone in her stomach and the bulge is because of that.
She’s been put on a special diet of eggs, milk, fruit, fish and chicken and she seems to be enjoying the extra attention.
But in recent days, police, social workers and counsellors have been in and out of her house, and a media circus has grown up outside her home.
“She might not understand the exact problem, the gravity of the situation, but I think she has some idea now,” a senior official told the BBC.
No abortion for 10-year-old rape victim
Why an MP wants India to talk about child sex abuse
The Indian girls who survived being raped
Her parents are struggling to deal with the situation. The family is poor and lives in a cramped one-room flat. Her father is a government employee and the mother works as a domestic helper.
Policewoman Pratibha Kumari, who has investigated the case, describes them as a “very nice family, who are so simple that they didn’t even realise what this man was doing to their daughter”.
The parents, she says, are understandably distraught. “Her mother has never talked to me without crying. The father says he feels like his daughter has been murdered.”

Image result for No Rape sign in India


The scale of abuse in India
A child in India (file image)Image copyrightAFP
A child under 16 is raped every 155 minutes, a child under 10 every 13 hours
More than 10,000 children were raped in 2015
240 million women living in India were married before they turned 18
53.22% of children who participated in a government study reported some form of sexual abuse
50% of abusers are known to the child or are “persons in trust and care-givers”
Sources: Indian government, Unicef
What has made their situation worse is that, ever since the news of the rape and pregnancy hit the headlines, they have been hounded by journalists.
“When the girl’s father came to see me, he told me his biggest problem was the press. He said there were reporters outside his home all the time and his privacy was being infringed upon,” Neil Roberts, chair of the Child Welfare Committee, told the BBC.
The media attention has meant the girl is likely to get the best medical care and is entitled to claim financial compensation from the government.
But the unwanted publicity is causing the family immense grief. Many of the reporters went to their house when the father was at work and gained entry claiming to be child workers.
Since the alleged rapist was the mother’s cousin, some even questioned if she was aware of the abuse and, maybe, even approved of it. “How come she didn’t know that her daughter was pregnant for seven months?” they asked.
This has been very troubling for the family, and the girl’s father is angry and bitter.
“I want him to be severely punished. He should get the death penalty or be locked away for the rest of his life in prison. He has admitted to the crime. But he has never said sorry to us,” he tells me in a brief phone conversation.
Before hanging up on me, he asks: “Why are you advertising my daughter’s case? The press have turned this into a business enterprise.”

Campaigners say 50% of abusers are known to the child or are “persons in trust and care-givers”
His anger is justified – even though there are laws that expressly forbid journalists from revealing identities of rape survivors and child victims of crimes, many people have been able to join the dots and identify the family because the alleged rapist’s name was extensively reported in the Indian press. Now their neighbours and his work colleagues know. Possibly the child’s school friends know too.
A local journalist, who met the family in the early days, says the parents are worried sick about the girl’s future and the stigma she will face when she grows up. The father has also spoken of his worries over her health.
Medical tests so far show that her health is “good” though she suffers from “mild anaemia”.
But there are other concerns. The girl was born with a hole in her heart, which was plugged in 2013. Although doctors say it’s unlikely to interfere with her pregnancy, the fact remains that she is way too young to give birth.
Every year, 45,000 adult women die during childbirth in India. The risk of pregnant girls under the age of 15 years dying is two-and-a-half times higher than that for women above 20. Doctors say the risk is even higher for someone who is only 10.
It’s a concern the Supreme Court took on board, but the judges still ruled that the pregnancy could continue.
So what will happen next?
Those in the know say the baby is due by the middle of September and the doctors have decided that it will be a Caesarean delivery. In case of any complications, the birth could be earlier.
Since the girl’s family have said they want nothing to do with the baby, the newborn will be looked after by the child welfare committee until it is put up for adoption.
Medical experts say the 10-year-old is bound to suffer from mental trauma and will need years of counselling from a child psychologist.
“We’ve got our fingers crossed for her,” said a child rights worker. “Can a 10-year-old deliver a child? Could it be life threatening for her? We are praying that nothing bad happens to her.”

Author’s note:  Today, I read that the Supreme Court of India has ruled on permission for the little girl to have an abortion. (India does not permit abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The little girl didn’t know she was pregnant.)   This is a very tough case for me. I am strongly pro-life and believe two wrongs don’t make a right.  That wee baby did nothing wrong and didn’t ask to be born. But this little girl is only 10!  I hope she will be safe during this ordeal and given the care physical, spiritual, and psychological  she needs provided for her.  On the other hand, I am not Indian and would not presume to  interfere except to give my opinion.  I love Incredible India and pray this culture of rape and abuse on woman and little girls, will be stopped. I pray for a trial and justice in sentencing to be a strong message to other  would be abusers.

Posted in India, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Bascilica of St. Denis

The final resting place of the kings and queens of France. Built on the grave of Saint Denis, a Bishop of Paris who died in 250 AD, the royal abbey of Saint-Denis was, from the death of King Dagobert in 639 AD until the 19th century, the burial place of 43 kings, 32 queens and 10 servants to the monarchy. The basilica was raised to the rank of cathedral in 1966.

A museum of sculpture. Featuring over 70 recumbent statues and monumental tombs from the Renaissance, the basilica contains within its walls the largest collection of funerary sculpture from the 12th to the 16th centuries.

Image result for basilica of st denis tombs

The birth of Gothic art.The church, designed by Abbot Suger, kings’ advisor from 1135 to 1144, was completed in the 13th century during the reign of Saint Louis. A major work of Gothic art, this church was the first to place a great importance on light, a symbol of divinity, in religious architecture.

Image result for colored window at Basilica of St Denis

Related image

Gothic Cathedrals are all about the arches and light which enters high in the church encouraging the pilgrims to look to heaven.

St Denis was the monk who converted France to Christianity so he holds a special place in the French culture. It is located in a suburb of Paris.  We had a little challenge getting there by train but the architect pulled it off.  The area around the Basilica has  lots of immigrants who are not Catholic. It will be interesting to see what the result of this clash of two cultures and faith systems will be.

We arrived late in the day , just before Vespers  which is about  30 minutes and often a boys’ choir  singing  prayers.  The acoustics are spectacular with all the notes bouncing  off the hard finishes.

Image result for choir at evensong st denis image

St. Denis is what used to be the national cathedral in a  country which is more secular  now than religious.  It is the buried place for most of the kings and queens of French history.  Today, the French have no use for royalty, either.  Times have changed much in  France and it will be interesting to see what happens in the long run to these beautiful buildings which need much work and money to keep them in good condition.  Will the French government fund this work?  Time will tell.

Posted in Architecture, art, artists, beauty, France, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Notre Dame Cathedral of Paris

Image result for image of Notre Dame Paris

Notre Dame of Paris, is  one of the most famous  Gothic Cathedrals in the world , if not the most famous.  We visited it three times in four days in Paris  so D could get photos with just the perfect lighting.

Image result for image of rose windows in Notre Dame paris

The  spectacular rose windows date back to the 13 century. The construction began on the church  in 1163 and was completed in 1345. It is also known for the use of flying buttresses as seen below. The original design  did not include these supports.  As the building progressed, it became clear that this support was necessary and adjustments were made to include them. It  is possible to climb winding  narrow steps  to arrive on parts of the roof.  We have done that before but not this time.  You can look down from above  onto  the long lines  of waiting visitors who have their bags searched and are waned before entering.

Image result for flying buttress notre dame

On our third and final visit to this beautiful cathedral, we met our son and his family. David was able to answer their questions about the architecture of the church and I walked around with my grandchildren.  I showed them my favorite element of the church, the story relief around the choir depicting Christ’s life. Below,   you can see the risen Christ appearing  to his disciples in the Upper Room and then Doubting Thomas who had to touch Him to believe he was  the risen Christ. The grandchildren  knew many of the stories and I had a grand time telling them the others. Whenever I see these reliefs, I think of the illiterate believer  of the Middle Ages walking around and reading  the Bible stories by seeing the figures on the wall.


Image result for free images of relief in Notre Dame Paris of Christ's ;life

I can’t leave Notre Dame in 2017 without mentioning the reality of the world of the 21st Century. Threats and acts of terrorism have made and  appearance in the most beautiful city in the world.

Image result for images of police guarding Notre Dame in Paris

A man attacked a policeman outside of Notre Dame with a hammer on June 6, 2017.  He was shouting, “This is for Syria!”   Over 600 people were held inside the 12th century cathedral with raised hands until the all clear was given.

As we walked around the church it was obvious  that there was a strong police presence with groups of  three officers together  walking and  all holding automatic weapons.

Related image

A sad image of today!



Posted in Architecture, art, beauty, Designers /Designs, family, France, history, Paris, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

One Last Artist. . . . Pablo Picasso

Image result for image of musee Picasso in Paris

This is the last of the artist’s museums we visited in our four days in Paris.  Michael, an artist friend, told  us  we should go to this” small”  museum and enjoy the  excellent  collection. When we approached this not so small building  we sighed with the anticipation of  tired feet and legs !

Picasso like Dali was born in Spain but immigrated to Paris where so many artists of this period lived and worked. He was one of the greatest, influential and prolific artists of the 20 century. The talent of both men were quite evident when they were very young. Their styles  are quite different.  Dali was a surrealist and Picasso was a co-inventor with Georges Braque of cubism.

“If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general.  If you become a monk, you’ll  end up as the pope.”  a quote from Picasso’s mother  to her son.

Picasso later responded to his mother’s words.

“Instead, I became an painter and wound up as Picasso!”

Related image

Image result for images of picasso's art in Musee de Paris

Image result for images of picasso's art in Musee de Paris

My favorite work by Picasso is not in Paris but in a prominent location in the Museum of Madrid.  The title is Guerica.  It has been given the distinction of being called Modern Art’s  most powerful anit-war statement.

Image result for image of full painting of Guernica

In-fact I used this in a post from  India.

At the end of our Picasso Museum visit, we did walk away with tired aching feet and legs but feeling quite proud that we made it through this “small” museum.  David’s comment was pinpointed and humorous as usual. . . .

“I think Picasso had some weird hangups about the human body!”

Oh I forgot to include this story of the artist.  Once he took a bill from his wallet and signed his name across it.  As he handed it to his friend he said, “Now you own a priceless Picasso! ”

Posted in art, artists, Designers /Designs, France, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Salvador Dali

Image result for images of Dali

Salvador Dali was one of the most recognizable artists

of the 20 century. Much of this was  to his  characteristic flamboyant mustache as well as

his piercing eyes.

Dali was  born with high imagination revealed in the  spirit of his work and his  indulgent,

unusual, and grandiose behavior and stylish work.


“Dali loved  everything that was  gilded and excessive. ”


When he was five , his parents told him they believed that

he , Dali, was the reincarnation of his older brother.

Telling a young child such a chilling idea  became more  “surreal”

when it was told him as he was  standing in a cemetery at his brother’s grave.

Image result for image of musee de Dali in paris

Image result for image of musee de Dali in paris

Image result for image of musee de Dali in paris

Near where we stayed in Montmartre, was this small and unassuming gallery  which is the

largest permanent  Dahi exhibit in Paris.  There is a rather interesting  gift shop as well.

The work was beautifully displayed with the whimsical, playful paintings and  sculpture.

Dali, like many creative and imaginative people, had a dark side to his life which you can

research on your own. I preferred the Salvador Dali  who wished to present , amuse and

entertain the public.

Today, there are lots of “Performance Artists.”  For me Dali was the first or one of the first

Performance Artists  who  now  are  quite prevalent.

Thank you Salvador Dali for the joy and  interest  you spurred  through  your  art and the

permission you gave both for  art and life . . . . . that enjoyment is admissible and don’t take

either too seriously  even if you are a famous artist!

Art is to be enjoyed !



Posted in art, artists, France, history, Paris, Travel, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments