If you meet Annick and Dédé for the first time, you will soon be invited to their home. And just like when you go to your grandparents, you’ll often be left with aluminum foil cakes or trinket that testify to the past. A couple filled with true generosity of heart and love realized a dream at dawn on their 80th birthday.
No one had scheduled their meeting in advance but in 1965, in a small alley in Jeumont, near Valenciennes, Annick, 16, met André, 17. They were face to face when Dédé jumped a wall during his vacation. as a young pastry chef. He will go to school.
“I saw him jump off the wall and land at his feet on a cloud of flour. I laughed, we talked and there it clicked! We promised to meet again the next day.“
At that point, none of them knew it was the first day of the rest of their lives. Annick and Dédé have not separated from each other for 57 years.
Both come from working families where a sense of work is the rule of a good education. When Annick brought Dédé home, her grandmother trembled a little, but she quickly whispered in her ear that she had chosen him carefully. It has to be said that she threw it away with her big smile and her beautiful blue eyes. A year and a half later, on April 18, 1966, it was marriage and the blow in the drawer. Don’t want to wait … Laurence arrives four months later.
Annick: “We were pregnant before the wedding, can you imagine … Our time … We had no pills, no ultrasound, we took it as a godsend!“
They were both holding hands.
Annick has learned to fix hair but prefers to go and do household chores. Dédé remains a pastry chef but without conviction. It was counting that without persuading his wife, he decided to take the plunge to become independent. Their own employers. And bam, at the end of February 1968, when the cobblestones were flying over Paris, they bought a bakery in Maubeuge. He’s in the kitchen, he’s at checkout.
“At that time we had nothing left in the store. People thought the war would return. We had the impression that the same thing was repeated during the first incarceration. But in any case it was at home and we were as happy as anything, especially since at the same time our second daughter arrived. Sylvie was born on June 12th.“
Another time …
All was well, but without warning André was diagnosed with a fairly severe asthma. Wood oven, flour, hot and cold, recurrent bronchitis, is too much to imagine going on for a lifetime. For what he hadn’t said until then, André, was that mechanic was his thing. And it should be recognized that the level of tools and difficulties and endings are high levels. Do you need anything? Call him, he always has a solution and the screwdriver with it.
“I have mechanics deep down. I even made a car! An old French formula. Annick bought me the plans. I work hard to learn. I read a lot of manuals, books, but the cars seemed too big for me so I rode a motorcycle. I contacted Motobecane and became a dealer.“
We were in February 1974 when their store opened on rue Marcel Aymé in Hautmont. From flour to motorcycles there is only one step to take: courage and desire. And we can’t say this choice was wrong because the business has lasted 30 years. He’s at the workshop, he’s … At checkout!
And all these years, Annick has always remembered this teacher she had when she was younger. She is from Var and always talks about the Côte d’Azur to her students in class.
“He said it so well that I dreamed of it. I looked at the palm trees and the sea. The sound of the waves, the sound of cicadas … One day I will live there.“
Dédé agreed “I don’t mind but I’m an only child and I don’t want to leave my parents. I’ll leave then, okay, but not now.“
But when in 2004 will retirement come?
“Well, we were happy, we owned our house, we took good care of it. But after 10 years the atmosphere and decoration became quite a heavy burden. We were busy but the friends were gone. The parents were no longer there and the girls left far away in the North.“
Enough for decision making. This Côte d’Azur that his mistress told him like a child is now the place of their retirement. Away from the depressing weather and rain.
“When we locked our house in Saint-Remy-du-Nord we were very excited. We love it for sure but what awaits us is more exciting. While we were renting, we lived a bit in the boxes, but we always passed in front of an apartment in Antibes that I really liked. And one morning we saw a sign for sale there. We immediately lived there with furniture from the previous owner. We did the work. It’s like we’re back to the days when we remodeled our bakery.“We have to recognize a courage in them because they were both 73 and 74 years old when their actions reflected the face of student life.
So, since July 2021, Annick and André have left their northern region they love so much to fulfill their childhood dream. Now they live in an apartment with the sea on one side and the mountains on the other. And especially their two daughters with them living in the same residence. The decoration is great for implementing all the projects they have in mind.
“Cycling, discovering the small villages of the region, having a lemon festival in Menton or going to Italy. And then look at the mimosa! The people here are nice and since we have not yet reached the occupied land, we are immediately welcomed.“
Maybe an unknown regret? That’s no grandchildren. The topic was never discussed but there were looks that weren’t deceptive. To see them speaking, inviting, and helping all the young people in their new home, there is no doubt that this void will be filled immediately.