My Paris

(this blog is written in the third person, as are all Paris blogs)

PANAM… MAIS OUI MADAM

Panam is colloquial for Paris. And no one sings better than Leo Ferré when he romances Paris in his song ‘Panam’.

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He also sings the songs of French poet, Louis Aragon. Notably: ‘Elsa, Mon Amour Ma Jeunesse’ written for his beloved wife, Russian-born Elsa Triolet.

This gets us to ‘la jeune fille’. We all noticed a slight accent when she spoke French.

When asked where she was from she’d say: “Je suis lettone.”

“Ah, bretonne,” would come the reply.

No one knew much about Lettonie those days. The assumption was that she was from Brittany. Go figure.

As for the name: Ilze.

Comment? C’est quoi?

Ilze.

Ah, Elsa. Ah oui—Elsa, mon amour ma jeunesse!

So we all called her Elsa. She liked that, especially when we added ‘mon amour ma jeunesse.’

She didn’t tell anyone that back in… back in… uh… Flaketown…or… er… Scragsville or simply back in that place where there is no there (to cite Gertrude Stein) kids would tease young Ilze by calling her ‘Elsie the Borden Cow’. How weird. But that’s Flaketown for you. I prefer Paris. And so does she.