Easter Sunday, 1934, fell up the first of April, which also happened to be a feast day known as April Fish. Mimi’s mail was filled with the usual Easter themed greeting cards depicting crosses, chickens, rabbits, eggs, and lilies, as well as humorous images of fish: children playing with them, pretty girls kissing them, them wearing human clothes. The cards were neatly arranged in a row on her mantlepiece.
To a child who is afraid of the dark, a familiar place can be filled with hidden terrors when night falls and the lights are turned off. The child tosses and turns and hides under the covers. When the lights are turned back on, reality seems a gaudy imitation of itself and the child has a hard time keeping his eyes open.
The main hangout for the kids of Mavis street was the “El Mercado,” a mini-shopping plaza of little quaint shops located across the street from the Model Market, only a five-minute walk from those small middle-class houses we all called “home.” In the middle of the “El Mercado” was a modestly tiled water fountain which served as the hub for a fish restaurant, a jewelry store, a travel agency, a rattan furniture store, a tobacco shop, a barber shop and a large toy store. Inside my favorite store, old Mrs. Sund’s toy store, were many tables filled with an assortment of cheap plastic toys, most of which were manufactured in Japan; other toys that were not so cheap like “Robot Commando,” “Mr. Machine,” and “The Great Garloo”; a plethora of various kinds of candy, and of course, baseball cards.
Catharine finished up a letter in reply to one she had received from Agnès, who had sent it from Cairo, where they had arrived last week. They had taken the long way to Egypt, traveling through Italy and Greece. Along with her previous letters and postcards, Agnès had sent her mother a Fortuny silk scarf from Venice and a medal blessed by Pope Pius XI from the Vatican. In this most recent letter, she described how she and Kit were going to take a camel ride into the desert to look at the pyramids. Catharine reminded her in her own letter that she should not go out into the sun without a hat or parasol and that she should drink plenty of water; too much sun and dehydration were the worst things possible for the complexion.
Can you even imagine what is like to fall from the sky and see the stars right in front of you? It was like an adventure, feeling your eyes fixed on mine. I was hoping that you had the same feeling, but your wild nature gives me chills. Your smile said goodbye to me and you've become part of my dreamland.
January into February 1934 had given the people who came into La Première Etoile plenty to talk about. There had been Stavinsky's supposed suicide (or assassination as many were calling it). They were all repeating Le Canard Enchaîné's quip about Stavinsky having a "long arm" if he could have shot himself from the distance that the bullet which killed him came from.
Charles attended mass one Sunday afternoon in the middle of January. During that mass, a boy and girl were to be married.
Sarah Brady dropped by the Prideaux home for cocktails during the afternoon before New Year's Eve. Adèle was out, visiting a friend of hers who had just had a baby, but had Charles wish Sarah a Happy New Year for her.
Then, one rainy afternoon, I met him by chance on the street near my house, and he got himself under my umbrella to say hello to me.
The reason why Augustin had not written was because he had not written was that he had fallen seriously ill with something that was going around the cell block.