Smith W. Moseley
Incident in Normandy
It happened in Chateaudun whose prime attraction is the old chateau dating from the time of Louis the Fourteenth. I had explored it thoroughly and was looking for new adventures.
With a musette bag of items for barter or ingratiation I strolled the streets of the little French town. On a side street I found a neat little restaurant and, on impulse, went in. It was a moment to long be remembered.
Within I found Madame, the proprietress, and her daughter Michelle, who condescended to be the waitress. Michelle and I were destined to become great friends.
I made a number of visits to that restaurant and cherished the growing friendship of pretty Michelle and her mother. Came a day when Michelle was not there. Madame waited on me and hung around my table trying to make conversation with her meager English and my meager French.
It soon became apparent that Madame had an objective. She invited me to lunch on Sunday. As much as I hated to, I had to decline. Allied forces were pushing the Germans back somewhere around St. Lo and our group was near to move to a new base. Very likely, all personnel would be restricted to the base on Sunday. I tried to explain this to Madame, "Le Commandants faire de restrictez moi... etc.”
Madame wasn’t giving up. She explained that on Sunday the restaurant was dosed. I would be the only guest. Again I endeavored to assure her that it would be a great pleasure for me... “Mais Le Commandante demandez moi...”
Madame was frustrated but not defeated. She had one more argument to offer and she dangled it like a gem. She said, "Michelle???” The way she said it made the scenario complete: only she and Michelle. "The American Sergeant is fond of Michelle? Michelle is very fond of the Sergeant. She will be hurt that you do not come... Even now she is in the country buying things for oh so good lunch.”
After more than fifty-years, I still regret missing that lunch ...and Michelle.
Smith W. Moseley (better known to one and all as ‘Smithy’) served the whole tour with the 559th Bomb Squadron. He was more to all than a Squadron photographer. He has also been active in the 559th Bomb Squadron Association, and, among many other things, always produces fine group pictures of attendees and their wives.
Editor’s note: This piece submitted by Smithy is included in die History because
it tells a story about what happened to many of us when we were far away from
home. We were starved for feminine companionship and hardly ever had the
opportunity to even see girls, let alone meet, dance or visit with them.
It is supposed that many of the English, French and other European girls thought American boys would be a good “catch,' as men of their war-torn countries had a bleak future, even if they survived the war.
I met a lovely Irish lass in Belfast and we became quite dose. Also, I met and dated a girl from a visiting French Revue in St. Quentin. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the troop had to move on before we had an opportunity to improve the relationship.
C’est la guerre ill