I THE MEETING
It was on a sunny morning in the spring of 1928, on the Boulevard Port-Royal (Paris, 5th District), where my family lived: my mother, my father, my brother who was 5 years older than me, and myself, in a small ground-floor apartment where beloved turtledoves fluttered in total liberty, that Flora Scales with Miss Poulingea was going to Montparnasse and met me.
“Painting was her refuge, her passion, her reason – her intelligence.”
I was playing among the trees of the wide boulevard, alone. I was four years old.
This small, carefree boy that I was then, blond, with curly hair and blue eyes, drew the attention of these young women who were in love with life and dreams.
They were both tall, slim, full of the joy of life, faces lit up with beautiful smiles…
Thus came about a meeting, a friendship, a journey, lives which were going to finish sadly in 1985…
If the meeting was happy, spontaneous, enchanting, dazzling, our separation was more uncertain… the train left from the St Lazare Station, my godmother in a lovely orange-coloured coat, her black hat sitting assuredly on her head, her face pure and smiling, with an ample gesture of her gloved hand, said this goodbye which we all knew – herself, Christiane and I – would be forever … no tears, … just goodbye.
For three years, I was permanently looking for sign of life, something which would speak to me of her. Communications between France and New Zealand were interrupted and all messages remained without reply.
How could I from so far away, in difficult administrative circumstances, with foreigners, contact someone who had loved me like a son, who had saved me from my solitude, guiding my destiny, who had helped me to survive?