An Opportunity to be Better - Chapter 9 Page 4

One of the most remarkable moments of the afternoon followed Hervé's introduction of his father. Gérard delivered a speech in English, despite not knowing the language! Hervé had written the words to be spoken phonetically, complete with jokes!

Hello everyone.

And thank you for your warm welcome. My name is Gérard Torlotting. I am the first assistant to the mayor Mr. René Girard. I am in charge of all projects in infrastructure for the village of Fèves.

(People indicated they understood.)

I am also the little boy on the picture taken by Mr. Utley during his visit. I would like to introduce to you my wife Solange
(clapping), my daughter-in-law Christine (clapping), my son Hervé (clapping), and my grand kids Emma and Paul (clapping).

I do not speak English, but I am planning to say a little welcome. So please bear with me. Let's see what phonetics can do for us today.

I hope that my son is not making me say bad things. I am not sure if I should trust him. If you leave the room before I am done, I will then know that it was a big mistake.

Gérard Torlotting delivering his speech in English

Joking on the side, we would like to thank all the people who set up this ceremony. Thank you to Gloria Freeland, her students and Art Vaughan. And thank you to the people we are meeting today. This was a wonderful opportunity.

It is with great pleasure and happiness that we represent the people of Fèves as well as the mayor of the city. Everyone, including the school and association, has expressed a lot of interest and a true excitement to get in touch again with Morganville peoples and Manhattan and true sistership in the future.

In November 2014, we will celebrate the fact that 70 years ago General Patton and his troops freed Fèves from the German army. We will organize a dinner and we would like to invite you to join us. Also, the people from Fèves asked me to organize a trip to the USA with a stop in Morganville, Kansas in 2015.

So, thank you again and we look forward to a long relationship between Morganville and Fèves.

When Torlotting was finished, Vaughan recognized Cathy Haney for her contributions over the years in keeping the story alive. She responded by inviting any members of the audience who had participated in the play or pageant to come forward. Ten did and each was asked to explain what part they played in the show.

The Torlottings meet pageant participants. (l-r) Ann (Oetinger) Parr*; Gary Oetinger*; Bob Condrey*; Linnea (Oetinger) Nikkel*; Jay Mellies*; Paul, Gérard, Emma and Solange (Parisot) Torlotting; Barbara (Roenigk) Hart*; Mary Ann (Carlson) McAdams*, Pearl (Chaput) Woellhof, Scharlotte (Lewis) Knitter*; Lois (Pierson) Eggerman*; Avis (Canfield) Zinn*. (*) pageant participants

After pageant participants had explained their roles, the formal part of the program was declared over and those present returned to looking at the displays, chatting and taking photographs.

Left: Morganville Mayor Rundell (left), is presented a framed photograph of Fèves by Hervé (center), and Gérard Torlotting. Right: Morganville (left) and Fèves gift pictures

Cellist Anne Clark
and Emma Torlotting

KSU's Dr. Birgit Wassmuth
chats with Hervé Torlotting.

It was dark outside by the time the visitors headed back to Manhattan with a feeling it had gone well.

Upon arriving at the hotel, the adults quickly went inside as the temperature was dropping. But the weather didn't seem to hold Paul and Emma back as they enjoyed frolicking in the snow, something they were quite unlikely to see again soon. That night, Manhattan set a record low of 4 F degrees. But inside, the mood was warm and conversation went on for several hours.