Storytelling Sunday #3: the summer of 1987

Hello Storytellers,
For those who would be interested, yesterday, our dear Sian had a blog post here. If you want to read it, you can find it here. Again, thank you Sian for the blog post and for hosting such a cool monthly feature on your blog. Here is my contribution for this month:

The Summer of 1987

I remember putting my right foot into an anthill and the stinging pain I felt. I also remember the buzzes from the mosquitoes and craneflies at night that kept me awake and led me to sleep in my grandparents’ bedroom sometimes. I remember my first swimming lessons, the giggles as we took a stroll in a barouche in old paved streets, the old farmer’s market with living poultry...
 These sensory memories remind me of my vacation near Toulouse in the summer of 1987. I was 7. My grandparents had rented a house next to a farm and we spent a month there, exploring the region, visiting castles, museums, and religious buildings, and learning more about the French painter, Toulouse-Lautrec. I was too young to understand half of it. But all I can remember, overall, is the special light in that region. A special orangey light that colored everything. The landscape, the façades of buildings, the sky...
Evening walks meant special conversations with my grandparents. Though my grandparents had to drag me to come along, I remember those walks by the light of the sunset. What could we talk about then? I wish I could rewind the movie to find that out.
 Everyday, I would bring peelings to the sheep and stare at the cows and horses for long moments. I had never been close to animals, so I felt privileged to share a small portion of their life on a daily basis. Our landlords were a very old couple with their 50-year-old daughter, Eva (the lady on the left in the picture). They had a shepherd dog named whisky, a favorite beverage of the father as our daily “apéritif” showed us. I had found a nickname for the landlady, I called her Mamie Nova (like the dessert brand) as she looked like a sweet Granny. They didn’t have any grandchildren, so they made sure I spent the best stay at the farm. And I did.
These vacations are deeply rooted in my memory because they were the only positive experience that happened in 1987. It felt like a much-welcomed breathing moment. I will never find the right words to thank my grandparents for taking me away that summer. It breathed some life to my bones. They took me away from a then unhappy home, a school full of bullies, and a year of successive injuries, to wrap me in a comfy blanket of love and expose me to the many wonders of the world. Again, thank you from the bottom of my soul for bringing so much color and love into my life.    

Happy Sunday!

Sabrina S.


  1. That's a very moving story today Sabrina. All the colours and textures and the light have lodged it in my memory - and I can relate to it, too. Later on in 1977 after my story for today, we had to go and stay with my Grandparents when my Dad got sick. That's lodged in my memory too..

    Thanks for joining us today!

  2. What a lovely story. I think family stays, away from the typical day to day, can be so restorative and healing for children. I know they have been for my daughter.

  3. A Lovely well told story Sabrina.

  4. A lovely story of a special time, your grandparents sound wonderful.

  5. What lovely memories you have of that summer & how very lucky to have grandparents that were able to shed some happiness into that year for you. Enjoyed reading this today!

  6. I can picture the orange light and you and your grandparents on your evening walks :) You were truly blessed to have such sensitive, loving, wise people in your life.

  7. Special grandparents like yours are the best treasure a child can have. I too was blessed with grandparents such as yours. Life would have turned out very different without them.

  8. so glad you have such wonderful memories from a difficult year and such great memories too xxx

  9. What a lovely atmospheric post - thank you for sharing it with us. I too am glad you got a break from a difficult year.

  10. What a lovely summer to remember, even if it was a bit of refuge. Clearly you were surrounded by love in that unusual light of Toulouse.

  11. What a very poignant story and how important it is to remember those special times and cling on to them for dear life when often there are difficulties around us. Your grandparents are wonderful.