To Papy Choux with love!

World War 1

On November 11th we celebrate the lives of the 18.5 million brave souls who fought for our freedom in the tranches of WW1.

For our family, it is also a special opportunity to remember our dear “Papy Choux” (grandpa cabbage). He was my great-grandfather. We gave him his nickname because he was an avid gardener and planted more cabbage than anyone else in town.

World War 1

Papy Choux was one of the Lucky” ones, as he lost his leg quite early in the war and was sent home in the Summer of 1915. He was a farmer in the Dordogne before the conflict started. He obviously couldn’t keep on working on the farm with his injury. That’s when he decided to move his family to the Bordeaux area and started the wine trading business we still run today.

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Papy Choux lived a long and happy life and died of old age at 98 in 1981. I feel so lucky to have known him. He told me so many amazing stories…

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Here are a few pictures of the old farm (and the lady who rented it from us after the war), Papy Choux himself and the 15th Dragon Company on the eve of their departure posing in front of one of my grandfather’s mercantiles. The hospital pictures are of him between the time he was injured and the time he actually came home. I also took a few shots this morning at the remembrance ceremony of some local men who participated in full uniform. They looked very smart indeed. Some of them were smiling which was quite fitting as people thought the war would only last a few weeks and left with high spirits…

World War 1

Thank you Papy Choux for your courage and all your love. We think of you often and we miss you…

36 Comments Add yours

  1. daniellajoe says:

    Very lovely post!!! beautiful family..
    Happy New Year 2015, I hope this new year bring you all the best 🙂

    1. My French Heaven says:

      Thank you so much Daniella! I wish you all the best for the year to come!

  2. chef mimi says:

    Beautiful post Stephane!

  3. Wonderful Photos ..they tell us many things!

  4. trendycook says:

    What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing.

  5. Love the feelings when reading your post ❤

  6. Dina says:

    This is a wonderful tribute to your Pappy Choux! 🙂 ❤

  7. Loved the post, and the sentiments behind it!

  8. What an amazing story. So happy to have found your blog. I was in France just two years ago and the beauty of the country has never left me.

  9. gypsygurl64 says:

    As always, your posts inspire me! Thanks Stephane for sharing your memories. You are indeed fortunate to have known your great grandfather!

  10. So out of all the horrors and sacrifices eventually came, for your family, something good – your family wine business. WW1 changed much in Scotland. Estates and large farms no longer had the manpower to run them, and despite some women stepping into positions then (my grandmother delivered mail) that was the start of enormous changes in the countryside in the way lives were lived.

    Two of my grandmother’s brothers were killed – one in France and one in India. A third brother died in the influenza pandemic shortly after the end of the war.

  11. Scharlyn says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. These vintage photographs are so precious and add so much such a wonderful tribute!

  12. skd says:

    Nice golden memories 🙂

  13. Marie Keates says:

    Wonderful photos and memories on a special day. I was thinking of my Pappy too, in fact I wrote a post about him http://wp.me/p5c8JE-l0. He was fighting in the trenches in France and he too was wounded and sent home. We all called him Pappy, his children and grandchildren, and I often wonder if this name came from his time in France when his eldest son, my Father, was just a baby.

  14. Linda Duffin says:

    What great pictures. They brought a lump to my throat as I remembered my own grandfather who fought in WWI. He too was injured but survived, although bizarrely his old shrapnel wounds killed him in the end as he developed thrombosis late in life. He was a lovely man and I was very lucky to have had him in my life. Thanks for sharing your memories.

  15. I love your stories of your family and their history.

  16. Angeline M says:

    How wonderful that you were able to know your great grandfather, and hear his stories. These photos are priceless. So beautiful!

  17. So sad the losses suffered..my oldest sister’s dad as killed in the 2nd WW…he is from the US, and buried somewhere in France. Mom was 19 when they married, had a baby, and widowed….all in less than 1 year…just cannot imagine…thanks for sharing your family story and photos.

  18. sabine says:

    A very touching glimpse into your family photo archives, Stéphane. I admire you for storing all these memories, they are so priceless…

  19. Beautiful photos old and new. It was such a lovely scene in our village yesterday too, where quite a few young families were there with the old, and the new Mayor gathered the kids around to hear the names of those ‘Mort pour la France’ – with many of the family names still familiar in the playground today. Important community stuff which we appreciate whilst living here.

  20. sara says:

    I have missed your posts – and scrolling down, looking at these images, I know why: you capture our shared humanity and find magic in the mundane. A gift indeed! Thank you for sharing with us xo

  21. ladyredspecs says:

    We also remember 11/11 in Australia. Your photos are wonderful as always Stephane, Papy Choux was lucky! I believe we should acknowledge the horrors of war as well as remembering the maimed and fallen. This year we were asked to also remember the large number of young Aussie servicemen who have returned from active service in Afghanistan and have subsequently committed suicide. The stats are very disturbing!

  22. What a wonderful tribute to your Pappy Choux! Enchanting photos, too!

  23. Thanks for sharing this wonderful story, Stephane. WWI is the forgotten war in so many places. One of the things I loved in France was seeing the memorials to all the WWI and WWII soldiers killed by the Germans. We should never forget!

    janet

  24. Carl Johnson says:

    Incroyable!!

  25. A lovely tribute to your dear Papy Choux. What a courageous man he was, and obviously a great family man too. Thanks for sharing your precious family photos, Mélanie. Your local men at the remembrance ceremony look very smart indeed, and I love that they smiled for your camera. 🙂

  26. Jodi says:

    Great tribute Stephane! Have missed hearing from you!

  27. Fabulous family photos, and wonderful tribute.

  28. And of course it is true, given the horrifying casualties that the French suffered, that your grandfather was very lucky indeed to lose his leg which almost certainly saved his life. My Grandfather (I confess he was German!) had his shoulder blown apart in 1915 and was sent off the front lines as well. Later he met my grandmother who was mourning the loss of her fiancee in the trenches. What a terrible war that was, but then they all are. It made me happy to see Papy Choux smiling as an old man.

  29. dfrantz1953 says:

    Lovely tribute! I did not know that other countries remember Veterans Day like we do in the United States! My 27-year-old son is a Captain in the United States Air Force. I am so proud of all those who served and serving!

  30. anniedm778 says:

    How wonderful that you have these old photos. If only we could hear their stories. We are celebrating here in the US too.

  31. Clanmother says:

    Thank you!! thank you!!! A profound and moving tribute. We are remembering thIs day in Canada along with you.

  32. Francesca says:

    Such a great ost. Poor Pappy Choux, losing hhis leg and considered ‘lucky’ but I guess he was. Now we all know him too. Lovely man.

  33. What a lovely tribute. We are also remembering our soldiers in Canada today.

  34. Wonderful post and photos. How great that Pappy Choux lived to such a good age. Thank you Stephane.

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