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Future Lovers.


For my single mother, finding a school to send me and my brother to in New York City wasn't an easy task for her to take on. She didn't want to send us to a public school because in the 80s, Manhattan public schools had a terrible reputation for being dangerous. She also didn't want to send us to some snooty uptown private school...for obvious reasons. 

Being a second-generation Italian-American, she naturally decided on the Catholic school that was around the corner from our apartment, which was convenient for my brother and I to take ourselves to and from school. We could actually see into our classrooms from our living room window; a feature that my mischievous brother didn't exactly relish in. (He was caught several times ditching class to play Nintendo and drink Yoohoo with his friends by a peeping Sister Kelly, who took pleasure in calling my mother to report his sins.) 

Being relieved from the nuns who had been my teachers since pre-school, to my delight, my 3rd-grade teacher was new. She had just graduated from Fordham University, came from French-Canadian origins but was born and raised in New Jersey, and was younger than 60. Miss Michaud, unlike the tight-lipped, permanently miffed Sister Kelly and her clan of prunettes, was fun and hip. She listened to her Smiths, Talking Heads and Suzanne Vega records after school while grading papers, and always wore the cutest looks that 1989 had to offer. 

We got along well, Miss Michaud and I. So well that I was able to convince her to let me cast and direct a makeshift play interpreting "The Little Mermaid." Auditions for the production were extremely cut-throat, and poor Nadia Caldone who always had streams of snot dripping out of her nose, and also kind of smelled like pee had had her heart set on playing the part of Price Eric. Ignoring the fact that her request was beyond ridiculous, I had to be professional and look at the bigger picture here. Putting aside the fact that Nadia was a girl, did she fit what "we" were looking for in a Disney Prince? No, and she was offered the position as the special effects coordinator (flickering the light switch) and music supervisor (pressing the play and stop buttons on the cassette player). Perhaps it was a bit cold, but I stand by my decision that she just didn't fit the part, even if she did want to steer the production in a progressive cross-dressing direction. To keep things simple, the class stud Marco Vasquez was cast as Prince Eric.

When we were not running through the demanding "Under the Sea" musical number for the millionth time, we were creating costumes. We made fins and seashells out of construction paper embellished with turquoise glitter, boats out of cardboard boxes, and wigs out of stringy yarn. After our intense and final tech rehearsal, where my cast was losing steam on me due to my alleged demands and threats that if any of them were working for Madonna they would all be fired on the spot, I was ready to open the show. The first and second-grade classes were invited and it was a smash success! The standing ovation we received would be my first and last taste of critical acclaim in show business making my grueling rehearsals worth it. Perhaps I should have added this "production" as my directorial debut to my CV. I may have had better luck out in Hollywood had agents known about my theatrical victory. Hindsight, folks.

Thanks to Miss Michaud's passion for her profession, 3rd grade was a special year for us all, and no one wanted school to end. My mother, who pronounced it "Mee-shawd", picked me up from school on my last day of 3rd grade to find her 8-year-old daughter in total disarray. I had grown so attached to Miss Michaud that I couldn't accept the fact that I wouldn't see her for an entire summer. My mom, who didn't want to impose on this poor girl had gently asked if she would consider a summer pen pal with me. Miss Michaud agreed, and we exchanged our addresses with the promise to write each other that summer. This woman really was a saint. She couldn't have been older than 24 with her own life, problems, and situations, and she actually took the time to write me several times that summer. I remember what I was doing at the age of 24 and pen-paling a little girl certainly was not one of them.

The last time I saw her was right before my family moved us out to Long Island. As life experiences began to lightly pepper over my teenage life; things like going to high school, the horrors of puberty (discovering that I have an Italian girl mustache!), expressing my artistic side with my Courtney Love phase (Italian girls shouldn't go blond!), and the joys of having a boyfriend, my thoughts of Miss Michaud became less and less a part of my reality. It wasn't until a year ago today that she had returned to my conscience, and I have been looking for her, wondering where she works, if she ever got married, and if she has children. 

What happened a year ago today that triggered old memories of my favorite teacher? 

A year ago today I met Aurelien....Aurelien Michaud.  

Not one to look into coincidences and making them mean something deeper than they are, I couldn't help but smile and look back fondly on these memories when he first told me his last name. When I shared his last name to my mom, her eyes began to water, remembering how special Miss Michaud was to me. So I guess it wasn't just me. To think, there was a little boy in France with the same name that I was going to meet over 20 twenty years later, and who in a way was going to change my life just makes me think. I can't help it. Maybe all of this was really supposed to happen.

So here's a Happy Anniversary to us, even if we have to virtually clink our champagne glasses via Skype! 

What happened a year ago today?  

33 comments:

  1. What a strange coincidence... but such fun that Seb's name reminds you of you third grade teacher. I love that you did a play. I wrote, directed (aka Bossed Around) and choreographed a play in third-grade too based off of the book "Matilda." It was called "Matilda's Earth Day." 1992 was a big year for saving the animals and rain forests i guess so I was all about it. I also listened to KD Lang and Bonnie Rait with my mom in 1992- so maybe we just had our own problems. Like you, my classmates hated me but the parents thought it was cute. I think I still have the VHS tape at home in Pittsburgh. Such a great story! x

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    1. It really is weird. The real name is not a common French or English name, so it was weird. It has been a pretty big deal for our family. Even my brother was shocked.

      Hahahah you were a little bitch too!!! Good! I'm glad it wasn't just me! If I met the 3rd grade me right now, I would NOT like her..at all! I guess we both had high expectations...not too far off from the present! : )

      Were you "Constant Craving" KD? Hahaha that song cracks me up! ..and I totes get the Bonnie! She's fierce!!!

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  2. Oh and PS again, Madonna's Future Lovers is one of my favorite songs of hers.

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    1. Yessssssss. This song. The opening song of the Confessions tour!!! I have goosebumps thinking of how amaze it was!!! I loved that tour!! Thank you so much for getting it...as usual! : )

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  3. AnonymousJuly 03, 2012

    Aw, what a lovely post! GM

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  4. Imagine another virtual champagne glass raised high in the air. "Here, Here. I would like to propose a toast - to Seb CLAIROUX and Ella Coquine!" I'm so happy that Seb walked into your life and swept you, the former cut throat director, off your feet. Some things are just meant to be!

    I'll be walking around Paris singing "Under the Sea" in your honor today. Seriously...that song is stuck in my head now!

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    1. Thank you MK! Yes, I guess some things are meant to be. :*)

      How addicting is that song?! It's annoying as all hell but it sure gets stuck in your head! It got in mine when I read a blog post of yours not too long ago! ; )

      Thanks again!!!! xo.

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  5. I don't think I ever got that attached to my teachers hehe. I bumped into my old Italian Teacher who goes to my friend's church. I haven't seen her in like 5 years, now she's married, she's a mum and unfortunately she's been diagnosed with MS or something like that.

    A year ago I was married to C, Our Sidekick was coming to hang out on a Thursday after school and sometimes more times. The idea of him living us was a bit of a joke (I kept saying how I wanted to rescue him from the situation he was in because it wasn't helpful for him). Little did we know that 3 months ish later he would be living with us - at first sleeping on our sofa and then there would be a whole shuffle and we'd be our own little family in a way. I always thought I'd be a Mum the natural way first but fostering is just as crazy and you skip all the dirty nappies and puke lol.

    Crazy how life changes in one year let alone five lol.

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    1. You know, we create your own family and at our age, our family is our crew of friends, or house guests! A lot can change after a year...but after 5? That's a lifetime!!!

      I'm sorry that your Italian teacher has MS. How unfortunate. One of our family friend's mother was diagnosed with MS and it was just heartbreaking. Really. I feel for anyone who has this deteriorating disease. :(

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  6. Happy anniversary! Very cute reading about your first meeting! I was a Catholic schoolgirl too (and it's not just Italian ladies who have to keep waxers on speed dial, unfortunately)

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    1. Thanks Gwan!! Good to know that it's not just me. I feel ridiculous getting threaded, waxed and plucked. It like grows in every week! Damn having dark roots!!!

      Just to let you know, I have never seen a Gwan-stache in your photos! You must be on top of your beauty! : )

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    2. I do my best (most of the time), let's not start calling it a Gwan-stache though, ha ha!

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  7. AnonymousJuly 03, 2012

    Happy Anniversary you two! What a beautiful story. I was wondering what this story was leading up to -- how sweet!!!!!

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    1. Thank you! Yeah, the story was a bit random at first. Thanks for sticking around for the actual point. I tend to blab a bit. Girl can't help it! : )

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  8. Happy Aniversary then!
    ....and don't worry too much about the Italian Girl moustache :)))
    Thx for joining my little blog...

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    1. Hahaha! Thanks April!

      ...and of course! I'm excited to make a new blogging girlfriend!

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  9. Happy anniversary!!! And what a coincidence on the name!!

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    1. Thanks Shannon! No, really, it's such a coincidence. The name is not common at all!

      Ah so you're going to Chicago, okay...lucky you! I too haven't been to the consulate in a while and have some questionable things in my passport. The best of luck to us both! Bise.

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  10. Goosebumps! It's fate Ella. That's what it is :)
    And when I was in 3rd grade at Catholic school, my teacher was the coolest one; her name was Sister Barbara, she was in her twenties and wore espadrille wedges, had long flowy skirts and feathered hair. Coolest nun ever!
    Happy anniversary to you two x

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    1. I think so. I didn't want to say it, in fear people would think that I look to deep into things, but really it was weird when he told me his last name.

      I need to catch up on your side...I hope everything is okay.

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  11. AnonymousJuly 04, 2012

    I wish Independance Day was a bank holiday in France to celebrate our anniversary every year ! I Love You Ella. Thanks for changing my life everyday...
    SEB

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    1. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh;)

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    2. AnonymousJuly 07, 2012

      How lovely!!

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    3. Babe!!! I just saw this!!! xoxoxoxoxoxox!!!! Je t'aime.

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  12. Darling, there is no such thing as a coincidence...;) More on that later:)

    Happy anniversary!:)

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    1. You think? I go back and forth on that one. It goes back to my 'I Heart Huckabees' thing. Is the world cold and random, and nothing is as deep as we would like them to be? Or do coincidences mean something?

      I'd love to hear your take on it. :)

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  13. Aww, happy anniversary!!

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    1. Thanks Sam! What a year it's been!! Good and bad. :)

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  14. AnonymousJuly 07, 2012

    What an excellent post! I do wish I had more time so I could read all of your past treasures. One day, as they're really such fun.

    I went to your school every day as a small child because the daughter of the Galician lady who raised me (Mami is what I called her) went there. Marta, who was about 5 years older than me and my idol, was a very good student and I remember thinking that if I could only become a Catholic and go to OL of P I could be just like her. Wearing a uniform and the doll of all the severe nuns with her hair carefully tucked behind her ears. Now that I think about it, though, I'd've probably socked her one if we'd been the same age.

    Anyway, thanks for your post - and I'd be right behind you barring the cross-dressing snot-nosed Nadia.
    And of course, most importantly, HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to you and Sebastien!

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  15. Actually this story is about Saint Francis Xavier where I went to elementary school before Our Lady of Pompeii! The elementary school is no longer (the all boys h.s is still on 16th though) and is now a private school. Weird. I didn't know schools could just close down!

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  16. This is the sweetest story! Happy Anny, you two!
    xo

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    1. Thank you Miss Lovely!!! I need to catch up with you. It's been way too long!!! xo.

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