Alone Together

“Alone Together” Artist Statement:
A fourth-floor walkup on a quiet street in Paris. A child is playing with blocks on the floor while a radio is playing. She is Aimee, (ay-may), later called Violette, a small, quiet, brown-haired child with wide eyes.

Sound: a man is ranting, screaming at a high pitch. A crowd roars, again and again, in successive waves. The windows rattle. Somebody swiftly crosses the floor, switches off the sound. It is 1940.

A slightly taller Aimee, two years later, wincing as her mother braids her hair to get ready for school.

“Why can’t I go play with Claudine after school? why not?”
“You just can’t.”
“But why not? Everybody plays outside after school.”
“We are not like everybody. We have to stay quiet. Il ne faut pas se faire remarquer. Do not draw attention to yourself.”

The Convent of St Vincent De Paul. The school principal, Soeur Marie Catherine, is quietly talking with another sister. Both wear the wide wimple and flowing habit. They rise and walk to a nearby classroom, where they stand against a wall, observing as twenty five second graders file in. The students, in a chorus: “Dear sister, we have the honor to salu-ute you”. They sit down, and open their books. The teacher asks a question. Aimee raises her hand, as usual. “Any one else?” No one responds. The teacher sighs.

The good sisters have agreed to hide the child, but Aimee stands out more than is wise. At the end of the school year, Aimee will not be asked to step forward to receive the prize she knows she deserves. Fifty years later, this will still rankle.

There is more to the story – ask us to find out more!

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