Family Histories

A French Connection

By Bob Grylls

It was early in the year 1967 and I was not in love at that time. In fact, this dry spell had been going on far too long. It was the year Elvis married Priscilla Beaulieu, the first Super Bowl and our country's Centennial. The highlight of my week was driving to one of the many hotels (bars) in Fort Coulonge with my friends and almost getting a pretty Quebec girl to dance with.

Bob Grylls with unknown girlfirend, 1967.This night, a couple of new ones were there, increasing our possibilities. One in particular captured my imagination. Trying unsuccessfully to make eye contact, I finally went over and sat at her table. I first noticed how attractive she was with her long dark hair that complemented her hazel-green eyes. Then I realized how little her command of the English language was. Fortunately, one of her friends acting as an interpreter took care of that for me. We soon hit the dance floor, cuddling and whispering like nothing else in the world mattered.

We continued meeting for some weeks until permitted to call on her at her family home. It was located on a road called Chem. du Bois-Franc. It was a long road leading up into the hills between Davidson and Fort Coulonge and with one of the steepest slopes, I'd ever seen.

That night I met her parents, her grandparents, her brothers, sisters and more. They all looked at me suspiciously but I didn't retreat. I sensed pressure there because I wasn't the same faith. Ironically, I was getting the same pressure from my family because she wasn't. On one occasion that I picked her up for our date, I slipped off the road on the way down. An uncle of hers happened to come along. He retrieved a team of horses to pull me out.

Things gradually went downhill after that night until we finally were out of touch. She wasn't out of my mind though. Despite so many years, I remember her, her smile, her touch…

…But I cannot remember her name.