Chronicles subscriber Ben Beach, the best maintainer of old friendships that I have ever known, alerted me to the fact that our fellow Crimson comrade Joyce Heard lives in Aix, an easy 90-minute drive on the A8 Autoroute from Cannes. I hadn’t seen or heard from Joyce since the early 70s, when it was sometimes a challenge to serve as Night Editor, because tear gas wafting into the newsroom from Harvard Square made it hard to see the copy. Joyce later earned a Rotary Foundation Journalism Fellowship for what she assumed would be a one-year stay in France. Instead, except for a couple of interludes including four long years in Belgium, she never left, working in journalism and public relations. This is in large part due to Jean-Marie Jacqueme, whom she married in 1984 and who three years ago retired as owner of a restaurant in Aix. Joyce and Jean-Marie spent seven years converting a 300-year-old barn into their artful three-story home near the center of Aix. They also own an apartment just outside of Aix, one in Paris, and another which they bought last week in Marrakech, Morocco. All are available for rent, including the barn house.
So here was Joyce Heard, a calmly competent Radcliffe girl I remember from 14 Plympton Street, making her way through the Aix-en-Provence Saturday market in flawless French as we filled two straw baskets with roasted chicken, goat cheese, pepper cheese, olive paste, and pears while catching up on 30 years of life’s brilliant surprises. I felt time’s speed and depth at the first sight of her face in the doorway of the old barn. I knew her instantly, precisely as she was then and is now, but now somehow more herself than ever before. Jean-Marie’s elfin energy and gentle wit kept us laughing much of the meal, which covered many topics, including the question of why the French are so thin. He stood to carve the chicken with a chef’s authority and style. Deb, Darlene and I returned to Cannes well-fed and entertained. In addition, I carried with me new appreciation of the gift of old friends.