J’ai passé mon enfance dans le coin.

J’ai passé mon enfance dans le coin.

zhay paa-say maw nah-fahss dahl KWAA. Click below to hear this.*

I grew up around here.

I know what you were thinking. What a naughty child, to have spent her childhood in the corner! That’s one long time-out!

But, as you can see, it’s nothing like that. Dans le coin means around here, or as we say slangily, in this neck of the woods (even when there are no woods).

In French, to grow up is grandir. But that’s what you say to your nieces and nephews when you haven’t seen them for a long time and you can’t believe that they are now taller than you: Comme tu as grandi! (How tall you’ve grown!)

But this is a different conversation. You are taking a friend back to where your roots go down, to where you spent your childhood. And that may cover quite a bit of territory: your house and its backyard, the woods behind the house, the street where you went sledding in the winter, your grandmother’s mysterious dining-room closet, your grandfather’s piano, the willow tree you climbed in the summer to escape your siblings and read Robert Frost…

So you say J’ai passé mon enfance dans le coin, not ici, here, which draws the compass too tight. Your childhood is much larger than that. I won’t give away the interesting final scene of La Délicatesse, but remember this.

*Some mobile phones, such as Blackberries, won’t display the audio player. If no player appears, here’s an alternative link to the audio file:



2 responses to “J’ai passé mon enfance dans le coin.

  1. I recognized all those interesting places except the willow tree. I guess that was at the farm, though I don’t remember your reading Robert Frost there. Love, Maman

    • It was indeed at the farm, down behind the house, near where the paths to the crick started. It had a “pilot” seat and a “copilot” seat, very comfortable for sitting in. And Frost’s “country” poems suited the mood and the landscape.

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