The period between Christmas and New Year is an opportunity to provide an update and move forward. I do not know how much time I have left to live. What is certain is that, despite the passing of time, I try to stay as often as possible in contact with the world around me. Many of my friends are dead, but GA has offered me the opportunity to meet new friends.
Going through my old blogs, I found a text written in 2008 and I updated it. For all those who do not know me yet, here's the text.
I got lazy for some time. I find it hard to write the rest of my story. For readers (not many!) who are interested in, this will allow them to wait.
My birthdays :
0 = 10th of June 1929 :
11 years after the end of WWI, the war is forgotten, the world is expanding, peace among the nations thanks the "SDN, the "world leading senate" in Geneva. Everybody is enjoying freedom and getting rich, speculating at the stock market in Wall Street. Nobody is expecting the crash of the Black Friday,
Arrived in Geneva 3 years ago, my father is beginning his career in the film business as a young clerk, working in a distribution company and travelling from theatre to theatre all around the country. Not very adapted to her life in a foreign country, my mother, away from her German family, is happy to have a lot of friends among the German community in town. And here I come.....the first (and last) child in a happy family.
10 = 10th of June 1939 :
It’s a beautiful summer, but a lot of clouds are coming at the horizon. Every nation around us is preparing the next coming war. Here in Geneva, we are sure the great French army will defeat the hitlerian bandits.
I'm playing at the beach on the lake of Geneva, with a lot of Friends from the middle and upper protestant society. I have problems with some my friends. Jew..., what does it means? I'm the same boy as my friends, I'm not different, I don’t understand why some children in the school call me dirty names, the same I heard during my holidays with my grandparents in Germany!
20 = 10th of June 1949:
I just ended my last year at the "College de Calvin". Enough with latin and greek! Now I have to begin a practice period of 9 months as a future engineer, in a well known factory of the electrical industry. Waking up at five, working 9 hours a day. What a change ! I'm now a member of a Jewish socialist youth organization, anxious to follow the news of the fights in Israel, trembling about my elder friends who went to Israel to participate and regretting to not have the courage to go myself.
30 = 10th of June 1959 :
Happily married, with 2 sons and a 1 year old daughter, after 2 years in a small town in the middle of the Swiss Alps, I'm beginning a new career as a consultant engineer with a professional organization of the coal und oil industry in Lausanne, a nice town at the lake of Geneva. My marriage with a girl from a strong catholic family brought me a lot of problems with my own -Jewish- family; these problems were well solved with the arriving of my children but I will never forget the experiences I made with the "fundamentalists" of both sides!
40 = 10th of June 1969 :
I'm now working more than 60 hours a week, with 2 jobs : on one side expanding my own consultant company, with clients in western Europe and Maghreb, and on the other side managing with my father his own film distribution firm, with famous French actors, who become my friends, travelling a lot, and as an hobby spending 3 months a year in the Swiss Air Force as an Intelligence officer. As my youngest son says : "who is this man who comes from time to time to eat with us ?" Working too hard, running after the lost hours, giving the priority to business instead of family, I know I'm loosing the meaning of life but at present I don’t find a solution.
50 = 10th of June 1979 :
10 years later, the solution came from itself! My two main consultant companies in Paris and Geneva are bankrupt. I had to sell my house and lost a huge amount of money. Now I have time to concentrate my business life, on one side managing with my wife the film distribution company I inherited from my father, on the other working as an independent consulting engineer with a few clients who remained "faithful".
We are still together as a family. My eldest son is married, with two daughters, living no far away from us. One son is working with us, managing his own film theatre, my daughter and the youngest son staying at home. Thinking back about the last 10 years, I'm sure that my financial "collapse" saved my family life. As my wife says, it was a choice: "stop expanding or divorce ".
60 = 10th of June 1989 :
I'm now 60, feeling like an 50 years old man, well organized , fit, healthy and happy. Working not more than 40 hours a week, earning enough to cover my expenses and able to help my children, travelling from time to time to France, England or Germany for business and “pleasure”. My eldest son, married twice, has two daughters from his first wife and two sons from his second. The second son, also married has one son and a daughter, and the youngest has just met his partner, with whom he will live 17 years together. Unfortunately, my daughter is "seropositive" since 1984 (from a blood transfusion in Spain), but she is successfully fighting against the plague. She lives now with us, and we are helping. At my birthday, everybody is here, even the former wife of my eldest son : Philippe with his 4 children and his "wives", Gilles with his wife and his 2 children, Catherine with her friend and Nicolas with his partner, 17 persons with my wife and me.
70 = 10th of June 1999 :
Back to Geneva, my home town. Feeling the same as I said ten years ago : "I'm now 70, feeling like a 60 years old man, well organized, fit, healthy and happy." Well, healthy again, because I wasn’t' 2 years ago. June 97, I was expecting a call from the hospital for a surgery to "resolve «a cancer problem. After 6 weeks of "obliged" holidays and an observation period of 2 years, these bad memories are forgotten. I'm now living with my wife (in a small flat (5 rooms) at the uppest floor of an old building in the center of Geneva, with a large terrace full of flowers and my deckchair. Still working, but only with a few old friends as clients, I'm thinking sometimes I should stop, but it keeps me alive and I'm happy to have opportunities to help people with my advices. The birthday party will be celebrated somewhere in a large place in the forest, with a cabin against the rain, because family and friends are too many to celebrate at home. My eldest son, who is now 47, organize it and is expecting about 40 people !
80 = 10th of June 2009 :
Time is passing so quickly, especially the last 10 years. Still healthy and happy. I recovered successfully from a heart attack in 2003, reducing my physical activity but still running twice a week and swimming twice a month. I'm now spending more time to help my wife with her arthritis problems, but still working about 20 hours a week, with my office at home. They were a lot of changes in the family. My daughter decided to stop her fighting against AIDS and left us peacefully in 2003. My eldest son, aged 56, died a year ago of a heart attack, probably because he smoked too much. His two eldest daughters are married and gave both birth to a daughter, who are now 12 and 8 months old. My wife is too handicapped for a large birthday party at home. Thank to Internet, we get regularly posters with photos from the grand- and great grand children. My two ‘remaining’ sons come twice a month for lunch.
If I sum up my experiences, I could say that the years brought me some wisdom :
- to never give up hope in the future,
- to always take time to think and analyze, because each problem has more than one solution,
- to always count first on myself. The others will help, but not at the first place,
- to always communicate, a discussion with well-informed people is often a way to success,
- friendship is a two ways matter. If you need something, you have to give first,
I believe that I'm on Earth to realize a goal. Which one ? I will only know it at the end, but this faith helped me to overcome all the hard moments I had to live.