Herve Mommmeja-Marin & Yvonne Chancellier (Argeles. 2010) Herve Mommmeja-Marin & Yvonne Chancellier (Argeles. 2010)

Tante Yvonne is Herve's maternal great-aunt....the last member of her generation in the family.  She's a lovely, bright-spirited, and funny woman, whom I first met on my first visit to France with Herve.  And, yes, she and Herve have definitely got the same, family nose.....

My favorite anecdote concerning Tante Yvonnne involves my first visit.  Having offered to take out the kitchen trash, I was directed to go down behind the house (actually, two tall, narrow, conjoined, 18th century-or-earlier houses in the Old District) and into the alley.  I got there, emptied the trash bag.....and was wonderstruck/befuddled.

The entire alley (Argeles is scarcely more than a large village) was, on both sides, absolutely COVERED with lush banks of enormous, blooming acanthus plants....as far as you could see to both ends of the alley.  I knew acanthus only as coddled&cherished specimen plants in American gardens.  Turns out they're absolute WEEDS in the Languedoc.  I went back in the house and began blabbering about how MANY there were.  Tante Yvonne rolled her eyes and bascially said "Oh, I'm sorry....I need to have something DONE about all those weeds...."

 I was reminded of the time I and my friend Suman (she was born and raised in the Punjab) were at a garden store in North Carolina, and she saw the price-tag on a pot of hanging bougainvillea.  She also raised her eyebrows quizzically, and she flatly informed me "You BUY this stuff?.....when my sister and I were growing up in Delhi, we were sent outside to chop down bougainvellia when we'd been bad....."

As ever, one man's trash/weed is another man's treasure.........

Watercolor, oil pencil, pastels