From 1979 until 1983 I lived in France with my mother and stepfather. Somewhere in the centre of rural France, where no highways went, where old people lived on small farms without toilets.
This is my mother, probably aged 30 years with our neighbors, Monsieur Robert Debelut and his housekeeper Marie Louise, who was an excellent cook and who had wobbling teeth that she cleened with a knife (!). He was stiff from arthritis and would defecate standing up behind the shed. Beautiful blackberries would grow there. His pants would always have dark stains. Marie Louise would give me a piece of stale brioche every day after school that I would feed secretively to her dog on a leach. She emptied the chamber pot on her front stoop. In Summer the smell would mix with the blossoms of the wisteria that grew abuntantly above her door. In the pouch around her neck, my mother kept her pills against anxiety and depression.