the young french bride

by Sharon Santoni

A couple of weeks I ago I shared the imaginary correspondence between a very traditional mother and her soon-to-be-bride daughter.  Today the daughter is setting up home and maman would like to lend a helping hand…

Ma très chère Charlotte,  how I miss you ma chérie … I think of you during the day, wondering how you are getting on in your new home; wondering if I should come across to see you and lend a hand  …
Of course, if you needed any help with cleaning or tidying then I would bring Marie-Jeanne with me, I’m sure I don’t know how I would have managed in this big chateau if I hadn’t had her help over the years.
Why, only yesterday, once she had finished cleaning all the silver, and I suggested she did the copper saucepans too,  I said to her “I can’t believe how much has to be done to keep a big place like this spick and span”.  Not that I ever get much conversation out of dear Marie-Jeanne , she’s forever rushing around, I’m sure she should take more time to relax ….
But back to you and your home my dear, I wondered if you’d like my second set of silver.  I’m sure that Philippe would like you to host some dinners and entertain your friends, and that silver does make quite a show you know.
Let me know what you think, and when I can visit
your loving Mama.
  ~~ oOo ~~
Chère Charlotte
Yes, of course I have heard of IKEA, but I didn’t think I’d know anyone who actually shops there!  
 How sad darling, that you and Philippe are on such a tight budget.  Why ever won’t you let me give you some porcelain and the silver I mentioned.  Or rather why ever won’t Philippe come to work in Papa’s firm, I’m sure that your papa would be perfectly happy to give him a good job with a fine salary, and then you could live …. well, you know … as you should.
Darling, if Philippe worked for Papa, then you could stay at home and maybe … start planning a nursery …..
your mama who wishes to help
 ~~ oOo ~~
All right Charlotte, please don’t go on at me like one of those raving feminists  on some horrible television show.  Even if I don’t understand why you want to work, I will accept it.  In my time no young wife was expected to busy herself outside of the home, and of course we needed time to visit our dress makers and to  take care of our appearance, and to have luncheons with other ladies too, and that  was always most time consuming.
Things have changed I know ….  it’s just that I get a little bored at home; I had always imagined that once you were married, we’d spend so much time together while your husband was at work.
your morose mama
  ~~ oOo ~~
My darling,
what a lovely surprise it was to see you both this weekend, and how well you both look.  If only the days hadn’t gone by so fast.  Even Papa said how much he enjoyed talking with Philippe after dinner, and he hopes you may come back more often.
I am most amused by this computer that you brought for me darling.  Do you think I’ll be able to make it work?  And you told me I had to look at your page, or brog, or something similar.
I showed the computer to my friend, la Comtesse d’Isigny, and she agrees with me that you must be doing very well to have three  w’s before your name!
  ~~ oOo ~~
Ma petite Charlotte
I am getting very good with The Computer, and I have to say how I admire all you have achieved.  Looking at your pictures I can see that you and Philippe are building a wonderful life together, I shall no longer try to tell you how to run things darling.
Just one little thing …
You showed the picture of your new chairs, and said they were distressed ….  they certainly didn’t look at all happy …. darling, isn’t there something we could do to make them feel better?!  
Otherwise I have a perfectly good pair of Louis XV, they have been in the family forever, and they don’t feel – or look – the slightest bit distressed,  please let me know if you would like them … 
your mama who wants to spoil you 
 ~~ oOo ~~
(Thank you for indulging me with this little bit of fun, to be read out aloud, preferably in quite a posh accent!   )[blank]


Razmataz October 11, 2012 - 1:45 pm

Very good Sharon. I can picture it all as I read it.

Francine Gardner October 11, 2012 - 1:46 pm

You have no idea how I enjoyed reading this little bit of french life!!! I can so well relate to it, except for the "chateau part" as i grew up in a large house in the Bordeaux wine area countryside, but certainly not a chateau.
The difference is that I took the silver, the chrystal, the antiques, the linen and put everything on a containeur to America. Please keep writing….

Chicatanyage October 11, 2012 - 1:59 pm

Lovely story. Very entertaining.

Laura's Rose Garden October 11, 2012 - 2:26 pm

I read the story to myself and YES! I used that accent!!! Too funny!!
Cheers! Laura

Roxane October 11, 2012 - 2:30 pm

That brightened my Thursday morning!

Jennifer October 11, 2012 - 2:43 pm

That was priceless, thank you!

Susan October 11, 2012 - 3:01 pm

Love the story!

I have the image of the table set with all the blue and white ginger jars on my cubicle wall at work – I just love the elegance of it!

Have a wonderful weekend, Sharon.

a breath of fresh air October 11, 2012 - 3:24 pm

Very good 🙂 and was reading outload in posh voice from the start.Amused in Scotland.


I Dream Of October 11, 2012 - 3:59 pm

Sharon, I love it! "Distressed chairs!" That had me laughing my first laugh of the day. Thank you! XO

Stacey Snacks October 11, 2012 - 4:47 pm

This should be in your book!

I hope she is wearing Chanel, and not wearing vintage clothes along w/ the distressed chairs!……tsk tsk!

PURA VIDA October 11, 2012 - 4:55 pm

Wonderful wonderful words and photos!!! so cute!

WhiteWhispers2u October 11, 2012 - 6:26 pm

How fabulous! As I can relate I have three daughters myself too, whom have moved out and I often feel the same way.
Had to laugh out loud about the Ikea statement as my girls think it's the best place ever.Ugh! Some are good treasures some the gas off is insane for months.I have tried to tell them it can't be good for you!
They are slowly learning themselves that Mamma knows best! ~Cheers Kim

Suman October 11, 2012 - 6:28 pm

This is simply brilliant, Sharon! The 'three W's' made my day! 🙂

Nell October 11, 2012 - 7:05 pm

Je suis française alors les arts de la table font partis de ma vie. J'aimme beaucoup votre argenterie

Sondra October 11, 2012 - 7:10 pm

Loved reading this. I, too, am a mother of a soon to be bride. So Delightful..It must have been fun to write.

Sandy @ You May Be Wandering October 11, 2012 - 7:40 pm

What a delightful post! It made my day! Thank you!

rosaria williams October 11, 2012 - 7:40 pm

What a delightful way to re-create a story.

The enchanted home October 11, 2012 - 9:39 pm

Great post and such a wondeful story…I caught so caught up in it I nearly felt I was there….ho how I wish I could click my heels and be transported to France! This is so great…please turn it into a mini series or a regular sitcom, I would be a big fan! Love it…….

Yvonne @ StoneGable October 11, 2012 - 10:55 pm

What fun to eavesdrop into a very private conversation (through letters) between the french accented mamma (that is how I immediately started reading the letters) and her very modern new bride of a daughter!
I hung on ever word! Especially since I am the mamma to a daughter and son-in-law who are trying to strike out and make it on their own!!!

Lorrie Orr October 12, 2012 - 1:19 am

So much fun to read! Thank you.

Melissa October 12, 2012 - 7:20 am

Love your 'Mamma'. Why couldn't my Mamma have non-distressed LouisV chairs and second best silver to pass on to me! I would have said 'Yes'in a flash.
I must style myself '' on my emails to my boys ;). Thank you for an amusing read.

kabayoz October 12, 2012 - 7:58 am

This a fun read. The first installment Maman wasn't pleased with Charlotte's choice of a small wedding. Now Charlotte is thwarting Maman's offer to give her some of the family silvers and those lovely Louis XV chairs. Preferring to shop at IKEA and refusing part time housekeeping help. What's wrong with Charlotte? LOL

debbie October 12, 2012 - 8:50 am


So funny. I imagined poor Marie-Jeanne exhausted and having to fit in more cleaning into her busy schedule while mother and daughter sipped tea and arranged flowers. Good on Charlotte for being a modern women who isn't depending on family. Phillipe and Charlotte are following their dream. Later if it doesn't work out they can always go hang out at the chateau and Phillipe can work for her Dad.

Glynis October 12, 2012 - 9:55 am

How could Charlotte possibly refuse all of your lovely 'gifts'!
Great fun to read. Thank you.

Ideezine October 12, 2012 - 3:43 pm

Great story to be told. Love the different versions and great read for all. Happy Weekend!

Reply October 12, 2012 - 11:39 pm

This was such a fun diversion! I hope you continue the 'correspondence'!. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

CARRAMAR October 14, 2012 - 1:39 am

I loved this. I laughed out loud.

Joasia October 14, 2012 - 8:45 am

I always enjoy your blog but this one really made me laugh.
It's quite common to hear actual conversations like this here in the Cotswolds.
Although I don't usually leave a comment , just this once, BRAVO !

Mary O'Ruanai January 1, 2013 - 12:30 pm

I'm tending to think that I don't live in the same world as the people who contribute to this blog.

Anonymous April 4, 2013 - 3:03 am

Love this and I also say BRAVO! Carol P.


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