Growing up, my neighbors down the street were the Aguerres. Tony is French Basque, Jeanine grew up in Santa Rosa and their daughter Monique was my best friend. Because as a child, you often want to be like your friends, have what your friends have, etc., I wanted to be French. I asked my mom to buy me books in French and as a 5 year-old, I was already learning the names for body parts, foods, clothing and animals (mind you at the time, my pronunciation was way off).
Years later, after studying at home and abroad, I was fluent, and now when I go to the Aguerres, Tony always speaks to me en français. Yesterday I had lunch with the Aguerres and promised to bring along my accordion so I could play them my Piaf tunes. I gave them a mini-concert in their sun room. As Tony was leaving to go back to work, and I was plucking away at the keys and buttons, he stopped and said to me, "J'adore l'accordéon."
"Moi aussi," I replied.