Sat 14 Jul 2012
One of my favorite days of my life was July 14, 1989. I was a young man living in Salem, MA for that summer and decided to have a big party on the grounds of the historic home in which I lived.
The fact that July 14, 1989 was the bicentennial of the French Republic and it falling on a Saturday was all the excuse I needed for a big party.
There are many things that make this day stand out all these years later, but there is one priceless artifact from that time that I treasure most. My mother, who loved the vintage thirteen starred flag I flew on the house for July 4th that year, made me a large French flag when she heard about my plans for a Bastille Day party.
As a gifted seamstress, my mom chose just the right fabrics and colors and created a perfectly proportioned flag – complete with buttonhole grommets from which I could easily hang the flag on the house.
I was so touched by this. The flag was a huge hit and made a pretty standard summer backyard cookout into what I wanted it to be – a festive commemoration of the bicentennial of the storming of the Bastille.
Well, I still have the flag. I have brought it out most years ever since that special day in 1989. This year, my mom is recovering from an illness in a rehab center outside of Boston. I thought that a good way to cheer her up a bit was to hang that flag in all its glory over the barn of her beloved home here in New Hampshire for Bastille Day. Although she can’t be here to see it – she will be thrilled to know I still cherish the flag she made when she sees the pictures.
Of course she will add “I gave up some of my best fabric to make that flag” – but that is why we love her.
The heirloom flag is a nice backdrop for my other Francophile treasures, a cast of one of the gargoyles of Notre Dame which adorns my front porch: