I am the daughter of Mary Jo Salchak, a Francophile.
You may not realize that such a thing can be passed on by birth, but as I learned to speak my native tongue, I also learned words like "parce que" and "pourquoi" and said "oui" instead of "yes" whenever possible. Even though there isn't a drop of French in our blood, it got in anyhow.
You may also be unaware that my mother's passion in high school was French language and culture. She followed this passion through her undergraduate studies, creating a French major at a university that didn't even have enough classes to support such a thing. Adding an Art History minor allowed her to receive a diploma in something that fed her soul, and she has described to me more than once, a content and unselfconscious smile playing across her face, the feeling of thinking in another language: I begged her to read "Andre FranÃ§ois Villeneuve" over and over.
She never went to France.
Mom had kids, instead, and a husband with his own creative bent, and it just never became a priority to follow through with what seemed like an obvious endeavor. She always told people, when asked what she wanted her kids to be when they grew up she would look at them with a baffled expression and say, "happy!" She gave that to us, but never followed through on her own heart's call. In '89 I had the opportunity to travel in Europe with a handful of my high-school compatriots and two fearless chaperones, while she stood by and held down the fort.
And now all the kids are grown, Dad has left the planet, and Mom thinks her dreaming days are over. Or smaller. Or something.
But I think we can prove her wrong.
This year she turns 65 (don't tell her I told you!), which she would mostly like to ignore, and I say, "Let the Wild Rumpus Start!" (She read that one to us, too!)
Will you join me? Can we make it happen?
We (her children, Darcy, Dereth and Daniel) are asking Mary Jo's friends and family, well-wishers, and other impish good sports to drop a Euro or two into the proverbial hat and surprise her on her birthday with an all (or at least most) expenses paid trip to the land where her heart lived, once upon a dream. We're currently hoping we can collectively raise enough to get airfare, lodging, and a few extras for she and Darcy to travel for 10 days to 2 weeks in Paris, and one other city of her choice.
This will be a surprise, so while we encourage, entreat, would be ever-so-grateful to you if you share this with those you think might be willing to chip in, we do hope you will keep it absolutely HUSH-HUSH. Please share this only as a in a private message on Facebook, or possibly a private event, or via email. We really appreciate it! We will be unveiling at the end of June "“ by July the cat will be out of the bag. We will try to get photos or video!
Remember - No sharing on your Facebook page! She will see it!
And Darcy will blog the trip with photos, so you can be a part of the magic as it happens.
Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
This will blow her mind