Popcorn, Paris, and Paper Napkins

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9781413466850: Popcorn, Paris, and Paper Napkins
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This is a love story not only between two people but two people and a country. It is a heartwarming account of a young couple as they begin their life together not only in the unfamiliar surroundings of the military but in a foreign country as well. World War II had ended thirteen years previously, and the people of France were more than ready for their "special forces," the Americans, to be on their way. Such are the circumstances when a handsome young private in the United States Army arrives with his eighteen-year-old bride. Neither of them had ventured much farther than the small close-knit town of Cherryville, nestled in the shadows of the Appalachian Mountains in western North Carolina, which they called home. How their families, their town, and growing up in the fifties sheltered them from the realities of the outside world emerges as they struggle to make a place for themselves not only in the army but with their French neighbors as well. Coping with situations that many would have shunned, these two faced with a spirit and determination that one can almost pity, but not help but admire. From being ignored by their French neighbors to being chased out of French places, they were true ambassadors, without ever realizing it, for they were determined to spread their love wherever they went. The lengths the two of them were willing to go in order to win the acceptance of the French people are sometimes comical. They even try, at one point, to attend a French function and "blend in" by not speaking to each other, as neither of them could speak French. The humorous "flashbacks" the girl recalls from her teenage antics during high-school days give the story a lighthearted touch. One such incident involves a group of teenagers trying to get on the I've Got a Secret television show by dancing to a heartbeat. Other times, they are stealing apples and being shot at or racing down roads at high speeds, trying to impress one another. At other times, the "flashbacks" are touching, such as her father showing up, in a boat, during her honeymoon because he missed her so much. There is an episode in which the girl is asked to baby-sit for a fellow soldier's baby girl as the wife is in the hospital. Little does she know that the baby is "colored," or she may have refused. The people back home would not have approved. After keeping the baby for several days, she makes an important discovery; the color of her skin makes no difference at all. There are many poignant events and flashbacks in this novel, such as an incident the girl recalls as the couple is visiting Soldier's Field in Germany. It involves her as a six-year-old child coming in contact with a German prisoner of war in the United States. Her mind, however, cannot comprehend the cruelty of Adolph Hitler when she thinks of all the lives destroyed as she surveys actual evidence of that cruelty in her own "adopted" city of Orleans. The life of Joan of Arc is revealed as the girl realizes that she is the same age as Joan was when she died at the stake. By studying about the places they are about to see as they prepare to travel around Europe, she relates stories to her husband about the places that is like a minihistory lesson in itself. For instance, the story of the Red Cross is brought to light in one of their many discussions as they prepare to go to Switzerland. Everywhere they go and everything they see is described by the girl, usually with a humorous twist. All of these ingredients and more make this a little book that no one would want to miss.

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9781413466843: Popcorn, Paris, and Paper Napkins

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ISBN 10:  1413466842 ISBN 13:  9781413466843
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation, 2004
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