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Kate Dudding: Voices From the Past: July, 2010

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This is the twelfth issue of Voices From the Past. My goal for each issue is to publish some highlights of one of my historical stories as well as an update on my activities. Please feel free to forward this e-newsletter to anyone you think might be interested.

Passionate Poetry

It seems as if I've always known about Julia Child. Her PBS cooking show The French Chef was on TV when I was going to college in the Boston area -- she was considered a local celebrity. But I never saw her in real life nor learned much about her. Then recently I saw Julie & Julia. After seeing that movie, I wanted to know if her husband Paul really loved her that passionately. I had always found her appearance rather unusual and her voice decidedly strange. In the movie, Paul clearly found Julia very attractive.

So I started reading, first My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme, then Appetite for Life: The Biography of Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch -- both wonderful books that were delightful to read. Much to my surprise, I discovered that Paul wrote poetry, often about Julia.

Photo of Paul and Julia Child, day they were married Sept 1, 1946 Here's a poem he wrote for Julia's 33rd birthday, the year before they were married:

Birthday, 1945.

How like autumn's warmth is Julia's face,
So filled with nature's bounty, nature's worth,
And how like summer's heat is her embrace
Wherein, at last, she melts my frozen earth.
Endowed, the awakened fields abound
With newly green effulgence, smiling flowers,
Then all the lovely riches of the ground
Spring up, responsive to her magic powers.
Sweet friendship, like the harvest cycle, moves
From scattered seed to final ripened grain
Which, glowing in the warmth
of autumn, proves
The richness of the soil, and mankind's gain.
   I cast this heaped abundance at your feet:
   An offering to summer and her heat.

Photo of Paul and Julia Child This is the poem he wrote 16 years later:

Birthday, 1961.

O Julia, Julia, cook and nifty wench
Whose unsurpassed quenelles and hot soufflés
Whose English, Norse and German, and whose French
Are all beyond my piteous powers of praise
Whose sweetly rounded bottom and whose legs,
Whose gracious face, whose nature temperate
Are only equaled by her scrambled eggs
Accept from me, your ever-loving mate,
This acclamation shaped in fourteen lines
Whose inner truth belies its outward sight
For never were there foods, nor were there wines
Whose flavor equals yours for sheer delight
O luscious dish! O gustatory pleasure!
You satisfy my taste buds beyond measure.

"She melts my frozen earth" and "O luscious dish! O gustatory pleasure! You satisfy my taste buds beyond measure." -- yup, Paul was certainly passionately in love with Julia.

Here is some more information about Julia and Paul Child.

News about me

I am thrilled that this story, Come With Me and Be Free , on my second CD, People Who Made a Difference: Volume 1, won a 2010 Storytelling World Honor Award in the category: Stories for Pre-Adolescent Listeners.

Thanks for reading this issue. I’ll be sending you some more story highlights in a few months.


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Copyright 2010 by Kathryn Eike Dudding. All Rights Reserved.


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