What Do Paris, France and Miami, Florida Have in Common? Moi!

Do you have wonderful memories from your youth?

Certainly everyone must have. But for those who may not be so fortunate, I’ll share one of mine about the time I was almost transported to Paris, France. 

Growing up in Miami, Florida is a wonderfully multicultural experience. Hanging out in Downtown, Miami is the best fun ever for kids who have no money. The bus ride only cost ten cents (back in the day). If you had an extra twenty-five cents you could stop by Woolworth or McCrory’s and buy a quarter pound bag of cashew nuts and share it. That’s what my late sister and I used to do. We thought we knew all about downtown and that there was nothing we had not seen that we did not want to see again and again. But one day we decided to be adventurous and travel a little bit further than we usually did. We turned down a street and we were immediately transported to Paris, France. Of course, we were still in Miami, but it sure felt like we were on the streets of Paris.



Paris,France (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were people sitting and eating at a sidewalk cafe. There was an artist painting a picture. He was a light-skinned man, but his complexion had been kissed by the sun so there was a hint of bronze color. Not very tall with a trim slender build. He was wearing a black beret, as if he were a soldier; a black T-shirt, and black pants. When he noticed that I was admiring his artwork, he looked directly at me. He had the most amazing blue eyes and a dazzling smile. He was about to say something, when my overprotective sister grabbed my arm and started dragging me away. “Let’s go! We have to catch the bus and get back home!”  I could have protested but she was right. It was getting late. Downtown was fun during the day but not a safe place for two young girls at night. No matter. That day a memory was created that I would always cherish and it has a little mystery.  Wonder what the man was going to say to me.

Was he going to ask me if I liked his painting? Was he going to ask if he could paint my picture? Was he going to try to pick me up? He looked French and I imagined that was something French men did when they saw young girls. Give me a break! I was about 12 years old and watched a lot of television. Anyway I’ll never know what he was going to say to me.  From that day, whenever we would go on our outings, my big sister would insist we stay on the safe streets.

french artist

Paris, France is on my list of places to visit at least one time in my life. Realistically though, it looks as if that may never happen. Oh well! There’s always virtual travel via the Internet. When I dream of Paris, I see a city for artists, poets and lovers, oozing with diversity and great food! Because of that one day when my sister and I decided to turn down that one street we had never been on before, I like to think that Paris is like Miami, only French. So that means – technically – I’ve already visited this fabulous city and could scratch it off my list. But I won’t!


* * * POST NOTE:  No sooner than the 2015 new year had begun, we were all saddened by an horrific event, the massacre at Charlie Hebdo.  Can no  longer think of Paris through the eyes of an innocent child.  It is now interrupted by the memory of this tragic event.   #CharlieHebdo


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