These are pictures of my Tonton’s house, he bought it from my grandfather sometime in the past but the house has been the family home for as long as I remember. My mother was born in this house, as was her youngest brother. My Tonton made all the changes in the interior whereas my cousin, his son, has made all of the exterior changes because he now runs the family business, Pepiniere Bontemps. A nursery business that my Tonton started himself with the help of my grandfather back in the 1950’s, I believe. My Tonton is very proud of the business and I am very proud of him as well, it is not easy starting up a business and it isn’t easy keeping a business alive for more than a few years, let alone over fifty years.
The house isn’t the same as it was when I was younger. Actually I always got a kick out of the changes because my Tonton would take me on a tour to show me the newest and latest improvements and how much they cost. He wasn’t ever bragging, he was just proud of the fact that through his hard work, he was able to have these amenities towards a better lifestyle.
The thing that strikes me every time I go to stay is how much smaller everything is now that I am an adult, when I was a little girl, I was convinced that the house was as big as an estate. It’s not, but for a little girl with the big family that I have, it felt like it. I have tremendous memories of the best smelling kitchen in the world thanks to one of the greatest cooks in the world, my Tantine. Her cooking is my comfort food, her soups, her pates and everything else she cooked for us. I would say that the two of them, Tonton and Tantine, are the heart and soul of the family. As long as they are still with us, the rest of the family will always come together for a family reunion and do the family business of catching up and remembering that we are all connected somehow. Facebook is great but it pales in comparison to the family celebrations that Tonton and Tantine have organized and gotten us all to do facetime in person.
These pictures are full of nostalgia for me, the areas which are now dominated by plant containers for sale used to be various plots of planted trees, a vegetable garden, a strawberry patch and two grassy areas with beautiful flower gardens in the middle. The house and gardens were more of a showpiece rather than a garden center. There is an actual nursery about 40 minutes away in Langon, specifically in Castets-en-Dorthe, if anyone ever wants to visit a lovely nursery. My cousin wanted to make the home property more accessible to the local clientele and he has established a flourishing local commerce in the past few years. I know that my cousin is doing everything possible to do his father proud and it is hard in these economic times, I am proud of him and all the work that he has done and is doing.