Sunday, June 07, 2009
france - 1969 part 9

Thinking about my time in France.....we did so much in that three week period....Each day was packed with going to so very many places and meeting people---so many interesting and fascinating people, like David Douglas Duncan....One evening, we went to David and Sheila Duncan's home for dinner, in Castelaras, a place near Cannes.This picture above I 'stole' from Getty Images...And this is how David Douglas Duncan looked when I met him---the picture is from 1969.....As I write this, he is now 93 years old and still married to the beautiful Sheila. Here they are a gathering....This is a picture I found on the net, too.....They are an amazing couple, and he is probably the most famous wartime photographer alive. He documented three Wars, starting with WW2....His incredibly sensitive photographs of that war and the Korean War and the Vietnam War were all included in a number of different books---it was his very personal view of these Wars that struck the hearts and minds of people.. He was a Life Magazine Photographer, too. But he is also known equally for his very long close relationship to Pablo Picasso. These two "artists" had a very special and unique friendship and there are at least four or five books of the pictures he took of Picasso over the many years of this deep friendship. Extraordinary books---and one of them, "Picasso's Picassos" is a true work of art in every way. No one else ever had this kind of access to the most personal Picasso....And this particular book is the only one that contains so very many paintings that Picasso had never shown at that time. Part of what makes this book so very spectacular are the exacting reproductions of the colors in each and every painting.This Duncan-Picasso friendship was, I believe, the connection that the Duncan's had with Daddy Joe. I took some pictures of the outside of their home there in Castelaras, that evening we were there for dinner---it was such an incredibly BEAUTIFUL setting.....I must admit I didn't feel comfortable taking pictures inside, considering that David is one of the greatest photographers,! The Duncan's moved here to The South Of France to this very home, in 1962, at the urging of The Picasso's. This is the home they still live in....You know, in all honesty, I don't think I fully understood at that time, the great privilege that was mine, meeting this extraordinary man---this extraordinary couple..... Above, a slightly closer look at this wonderful home...It was late afternoon when we got there----Well, actually closer to early evening really.....I love that staircase over on the left of the picture above.......Above, a closer look at that magnificent staircase that led up to the front terrace and the front door.......In retrospect, this was one if the true true "Highlights" of my trip. Such lovely flowers above.....Meeting David & Sheila Duncan was a
fantastic experience in every way. Both of the Duncan's are "artists"....and one could really see that in the choice of their home and it's lovely interior and from the wonderful dinner that Sheila cooked for us. A great great evening, to put it mildly..... These are the steps and stairs going up to the house starting at the street level..I couldn't get over how high up the actual house was....I found this next picture on the net...It is David Douglas Duncan with his doggie, sitting in almost the same position as my picture above.....Sheila Duncan took this picture of David in 1993.....I love continuity! (I believe he wrote a book about this sweet little dog...He had written one many many years before about Picasso and his dog Lump).....That special evening that we spent with The Duncan's, if memory serves, was a late one...not so much for me because I was, and still am, a night owl....But for Daddy and Olga...well, it was late. As I recall, we didn't get home until almost midnight....A truly unusual and rich evening, in every respect...These are wonderfully creative smart bright people, and I loved every minute of the time spent with these wonderful dear people......

Those three weeks in France have stayed in my memory very clearly because of the fact that we covered so much territory and with so very many people.....
Whether going out for Lunch or Dinner, or whether people were coming to the house for a visit or for cocktails and dinner.......Or whether we were swimming in The Med of an afternoon, with friends or just alone......Our days were very full..... In the picture above is entryway to the staircase going down to the roadway from the house to where we has to cross this well traveled Highway to go swimming in The Med..... And in the picture below....a closer look at this pretty staircase, just before you began the walk down them..... I just loved all the beautiful flowers cascading down the sides....And another shot taken from the deck above..... And then below, seeing these stairs from the other direction from about halfway down...... It was so pretty here at 'Lou Miradou'.....As I was saying.....whether we were visiting people or out shopping in Old Antibes..... Or in Juan-Les-Pins, where there were lots of lovely shops with beautiful summer clothes......

Or whether we were visiting Galleries and Museums, or going to all these beautiful little Hill Towns, or to the Dentist, or on The Grand Corniche...or to Castelaras----where The Duncans lived, or in Cannes, Nice, St. Tropez, Vence, St. Paul de Vence, etc., etc., our days were packed full with a richness unmatched at any other time in my life....I loved being around creative people and beautifully created places, too. And here in The South Of France, because of all the people Daddy Joe knew or met....that was happening each and every day.... In a way, it exhausts me to think about it now. I know there were 'downtime's'....quiet times for reading and just sitting and talking, and times of contemplation, too,.....but, mostly, it feels like we were "on the go" most of the time. I know while it was happening it didn't seem as if we were doing all that much. I guess from my vantage point now at the age I am now, well.....I know I couldn't keep up that kind of pace anymore....How Daddy Joe did it kind of amazes me. He was almost 71 years old! And he most certainly was like the Energizer Bunny all of his life....but still.....
And this was him in his "relaxation" mode, yet he was deeply stimulated by all the Artists.....As I have said before....His relationship to Art and Artists was 'the best' of Daddy Joe......One evening we had dinner at a lovely restaurant close by to the house right there in Antibes, called La Bonne Auberge....It was a lovely place....Very warm and friendly and welcoming.....What I remember most about that particular restaurant was the fabulous Chocolate Souffle....! It was so delicious that a night or two later, we went back there, just for dessert!Another night we had dinner at Anne and Louis LeBrukey's home---the couple I had met for the first time at Aimee and Margurite Meaght's dinner party mentioned in an earlier post. They lived in one of the charming Hill Towns, and that dinner was very memorable, too, mostly for me because she made a fabulous Chocolate Mouse for dessert---Never had I tasted such a sublime dessert in my life. I asked her for her recipe, which she graciously gave it is below, though I had to do some heavy figuring to get the correct amounts in ounces.....I also asked her for the name of the Chocolate she used.....It was Menier...and she said it was really nothing special---that I could pick it up at any market. Well, I did! And I bought a dozen or more bars to bring home with me and every time I had a dinner party I made Anne's recipe of Chocolate Mouse, using this fantastic chocolate.I don't think it is the same anymore....I read that the Nestle Company bought them out and well.....they changed the recipe quite drastically, sad to say. For years after that memorable trip, )And before the Nestle Company took them over, every time I knew someone who was going to France I would ask them to bring me back as many bars as they could carry of this exquisite.....I was more than happily hooked!

More To Come.......

Note: I'm still pretty much in shock and not myself at all....I may never be myself again...At least that is how it feels right now....I want you all to know how much your kind and loving words have meant to me and continue tp mean....the Blog World is truly extraordinary in the anount of love that comes one's way---especially in times of deep deep distress....I thank you all, with all of my heart.....I'm hanging in as best I can, and knowing you are all out there sending me such beautiful positive thoughts has helped me immeasureably.....

Anonymous Mar
had this to say:

Enjoyed reading Part 9 of your French Adventure. Such lovely memories and great shots, I am always amazed about your memory for wonderful details and love how you have kept "souvenirs" from that trip.
Sending you a big hug and hoping you feel some comfort soon...

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 5:31:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, your series of France are amazing! What a remarkable person you met and what a gorgeous places you saw! Those photos are priceless.
I would like to read the book Picasso & Lump. I think it is a great book.

I am glad you post!
Have a nice Sunday!

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 7:26:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Our continued thoughts and prayers, dear.

Your France posts have caused me to remember more of my honeymoon there, especially this weekend, the 65th anniversary of D-Day. I may have to dig out the old photos.


Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 8:59:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Those desserts and chocolates look absolutely decadent and divine! I don't blame you one bit for having asked people to bring it back to you... I love how she said "it's nothing special"... thing is, if it's not in the U.S. it IS special. :)

I'm so glad you took as many pictures as you did. Now you can look back at them and even though you no longer have the energy you once did, reliving the trip through your memory is fun, too, and easier!

I'm still so sorry about your loss of your friend John. I'm so sorry that you're hurting so much.


Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 9:35:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Beautiful. I love Lump. I am vitually tasting the mousse as it melts in my mouth. French in my blood, my 102 yr old great aunt is French, but she never got to visit there.

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 9:37:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I have been enjoying your memories of your time in France all those many years ago, love all your souvenirs and your photos. You are so lucky to have met so many talented and interesting people while you were there. And the memories have stayed with you for a lifetime, how wonderful.
I am trying to remember where I was in 1969.... I left England to move to Canada in 1966, and I think I went back to England for a holiday in the summer of 1969.
I truly hope that you will be comforted soon, and that time will heal your wounds.

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 1:52:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi –

I enjoy your post and the gorgeous pictures you share with us all. At times I feel as if I am right there along side of you. Your memories, descriptions and photos are fascinating! I love the French Adventure!

Please let me extend my heartfelt sympathy to you for the loss of your dear friend John.


Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 2:25:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

fie upon Nestle for gobbling up all the world's great choclate!
Everything in this post is wonderfully intersting, but it's the CHOCLATE I can almost taste!

If you're missing your friend John, I reommend a Coward-ly moment or two--right out of "Bittersweet". Go out on your deck (ala Jeanette MacDonald) share something wondrful...there's a full moon this weekend...just like in the movie....and tell...nay, sing "I'll see you again".

It really works...My husband's up in Pearly Gates Estates, but I can still share with him.
the fat lady

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 3:56:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Lovely photos and posts, as always!

I just got caught up and read the last couple of posts. I'm so sorry about your friend. Even if you can understand it, it doesn't make it any easier to accept. (((hugs)))

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 4:09:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Dear Naomi,
His home was incredibly artistic in every detail... the pictures you showed were utterly lovely, so harmonious and well-planned in their details, the staircease, flowers, all of it - truly a photographer who 'saw' and created, both with his camera and his vision for his living environment.

As far as still feeling shell-shocked, Naomi - it has been less than a month, I think. Grieving is a long process, a layering of emotions and memories, of loss and change and it affects how you see yourself and believe about the world and what is true and what isn't...

Please be more gentle with yourself in acknowledging it...

True emotions are not gotten over in a few weeks - or even a few months, not when someone has been so much a part of what is held sacred to you.

Suicide leaves such a deep wound. There truly is no preparation for it, and so much can no longer be said... And some people you simply NEED to talk to - even when they are gone, and cannot in human form anymore...

Think of him, Naomi, hold him dear to you in your heart, and know that if you ask and are open to hearing in that quiet uninterrupted space of souls communicating, in some way the energy of his presence will come to you and be felt...

That may sound like gobbledy-gook, but it isn't.

Grieve, Naomi, and don't think there are rules for recovery that you have to follow. There aren't - there is only your heart and its experiences...


Loving Annie

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 5:42:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh I love the shot of that narrow street. I just want to jump right into that photo and go exploring the streets and shops.

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 7:17:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a gracious couple, Naomi. And the flowers are amazing. I so enjoy reading these stories; I hope you continue to post them. And I am sending you more good and healing thoughts.

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 7:26:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I love the Duncan's home! It looks lovely. I love the stone walkway that meanders! All those glorious flowers are so pretty! I think it's fantastic that you can recall the details of your trip and you still have so many items from then!! That truly was a great time in your life to meet such interesting and creative people. I'm real happy you have shared it with us in Blogland too!

Still thinking about this time of sadness for you in the loss of your dear friend. Hugs to you my friend. Give Sweetie a hug too!

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 7:33:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

How does one get over that kind of shock? Time will help, of course, and the love and encouragement from all your friends. I still think of what you're going through and know that I haven't stopped transmitting positive vibes and praying for your peace and comfort, my friend. One day it will hurt less, I promise.

Now onto this beautiful post. Is it Part 9...already? Where'd the time go? lol

I could sit here and read stories and look at pics of France forever. You have me wanting to browse through Picasso's Picassos so I can peek at those unknown paintings. The Duncans sound like a wonderful and interesting couple, and it would be a treat to see his photos as well. You certainly surround yourself with highly creative people, Naomi...then and now.

Your father had an incredible amount of energy and drive for a man his age. I can see where you get your zest for life. I feel as if I knew Daddy Joe from all I've seen and read about him lately, and it's an inspirational feeling.

Btw, I love the staircase photos on this post. They're simply amazing!!

Thanks again for sharing your memories of a time well spent with your dad in one of the most beautiful and romantic countries of the world.

Take care, my friend. :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 7:51:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I've said it before, but I have to repeat how great it is that you've saved all these mementos and photographs. Thanks for taking us along for the adventure of a lifetime.

As for your loss, I can tell you the one thing that helped me after my father died. I imagined that he could see me and knew how much it would hurt him to see me so unhappy. It did take a long time but eventually you smile when you think of a lost loved one instead of cry.

Sunday, June 7, 2009 at 10:38:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, I have so thoroughly enjoyed your South of France adventure, that I really don't want it to end! The stories, the pictures, the feel of it is so wonderful. It is a place I have always longed to visit, hopefully one day.

My thoughts and prayers are with you, so sorry for your loss, I hope the words and condolances of all your blog friends can bring you some peace.

Take care.

Monday, June 8, 2009 at 2:58:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wish i could take your shock and pain away Naomi.....

thinking of you.....on this really wretched part of your own journey and sending love.

Monday, June 8, 2009 at 8:56:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

The stories from your trip have been marvelous, the photos bringing it home even more so. You did have a remarkable experience and thank you for sharing it with your readers.

It is hard to lose a friend that is that deep and it does take time. I hope you soon feel better but give yourself that time to grieve. It's never good to deny those healing times to ourselves or try to hurry through them. Life takes what it needs and that is a terrible loss.

Monday, June 8, 2009 at 8:57:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

you always share your stories so graciously ... and the pictures are stunning ... even tho' you are going through a sorrow ... may you feel God's touch near you ...

Monday, June 8, 2009 at 12:20:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Thank you for your comment, Naomi. The Mennonite meeting house is definitely at Altona (only one o) but it may have been pronounced "Altoona" in days gone by. There are graves in the cemetery witten entirely in German. And of course, many of the Pensylvania pioneers spoke German.

Monday, June 8, 2009 at 12:45:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

David Douglas Duncan was a VERY attractive man and to be so talented. Also love that he stayed married to same woman and loved dogs. What a wonderful man.
The stairway flanked with flowers was very lovely and a wonderful idea.
I hope you have someone to share your grief with. Prayers for you and those who loved him.

Monday, June 8, 2009 at 2:09:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Naomi, I have loved seeing all your old photos and reading about this trip of a lifetime. You were very lucky and privileged to have that experience.

Monday, June 8, 2009 at 4:56:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

It seems like you fit in sooooo much in such a short amount of time.

Those mousse look and sound yummy!

Monday, June 8, 2009 at 8:33:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

your memories of France are so vivid, like they were just yesterday... so I know your shock is hard to not think about all the time.. and the older we get the harder it is to get through these times.
Hugs to you Naomi..

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 3:18:00 AM PDT 

Blogger PI
had this to say:

Oh those desserts Naomi- it's too cruel. You are a lesson to us all to capture the moment and I am sad that I came to photography late in life. Still I can live the South of France experience again through your posts although your time was much more glamorous and exciting.

I do hope things get a little more bearable for you. Just try to take it easy - pamper yourself and don't do anything you don't want to do.
On Jimmy's comment box:-
I read Leah's comment which made me think of you. I tried to copy it but got a message - ' Don't even f-----g think of it.'
Have a look if you feel like it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 4:27:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Dear Naomi,

I am thinking of you right now and despite the pain and anguish you are going through, you still keep us posted, thank you.

We are here and you know that you friends here in blogsphere is giving you strength and love.

Be strong my friend, be very very strong.

Big Hugz dear Naomi.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 7:55:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:


Your blog friends from around the world all love you Naomi - that's why we come back all the time! Keep your chin up.

I can't believe how on what a fortunate life you have lead. You have lost and meet, dined and enjoyed the company of so many fabulous people from around the world - it is so great that you can share your stories to us in the blog world, rather than keep the memories and treasures all to yourself. Thank you for that.

I very much enjoyed Part 9 of France. Awesome. It is such a pity you cannot return 40 years on. They way you write it is like you just went there yesterday - your memory is amazing! I have trouble remembering what day it is, let alone what year it is!

Thank you for sharing. Again.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 at 10:02:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

believe me when I say:
You really wrote the scrap-book I did not from that time of yours in Southern France.
I'm really impressed how well you remember even details.
And all the wonderful people you did meet. Must have been most inspiring, since you so well can write about it as you do.
And Vence - you know I have a friend there - and St paul de Vence, still the same. But the coast: very different.
First time down there, in 1966, as a student, we stayed in a Lemon garden. Today it's Large buildings all over. Marinas, Hotels, Restaurants, Bars, etc etc.

btw. Sorry once again to be a very bad commenter: It's work - 14-16 hours a day. After all, it's better than have no work at all;-))

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 5:50:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

As usual the photos and recollections read like a best selling novel. I think we all appreciate living vicariously through your wonderful memories.

I'm sending you my prayers and thoughts as your get past the pain of what you know and remember about your friend I'm convinced his greatest wish is to remember the good times.

Hugs and my deepest sympathy..
Dorothy from grammology

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 7:25:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

well you do have some wonderful memories to take your mind off the pain.
Those chocolate souffles look delish, I am drooling

Wednesday, June 10, 2009 at 8:43:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Blessings to you. Through your photographs I now understand how one of my best friends chose to be an expat in France.

Thursday, June 11, 2009 at 9:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

The Duncan's home is charming and gorgeous. It looks like a painting!
I'm glad to know that chocolate has been something you've enjoyed for many years. You and I are kindred spirits in that regard!!!!


Now, on to part 10...

Friday, June 12, 2009 at 6:55:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

What a magical three weeks you had, Naomi! Almost surreal in many ways. To THINK of the people you met and were exposed to! I can only imagine the incredible energy that was flowing about. SO many artists and creativity.
I'm enjoying your series here tremendously!
You have a remarkable memory and thank goodness you saved such treasured souvenirs to now share here with us.

Monday, June 22, 2009 at 2:05:00 PM PDT 

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