La Petite Mendiante (the little beggar) by William Bouguereau, French 1825-1905
I saw some of these Eastern young ones doing just that while my husband and I were on the Pont des Arts which is well known for all the "love locks" tied there. The children and even older teenage girls (mostly Romanian, Bulgarian, etc.) indicated that they could not speak, that they were mute and made hand signs asking people to sign their names on clipboards on their phony "charitable" petitions and give money to "starving orphans back home." A couple of these "mute" girls would encircle the tourists and pick their pockets and bags. When the police appeared they suddenly got their voices again to warn their accomplices and they all scattered. I was so surprised I did not even take a picture. An earlier year while in Paris, I saw some kids snatching a purse from an older German lady in the Metro, going up the escalator. I am not trying to stop you from taking a trip to Paris, au contraire, I think everyone should go there at least once in their lifetime, but stay on your guards as you would in any other large city.
When I am depressed, I do not think about these disgraceful developments in Paris. I feel that just as some beautiful women, Paris is victim of its beauty. It is the price to pay for success. Instead I try to remember our apartment in Paris. I can visualize the sitting room where I slept on the sofa. As you came in you could see the large marble chimney with the piano on the left and the French doors on the wall going into the dining room. A large painting from a Dutch master was hung over the chimney. On the right was a curio cabinet. I do not have a photo of this room but the vintage picture below gives a good example of it.
My father would often come into the room to play the piano, usually Chopin. Frederic Chopin (1810-1849) was born in Poland and at 20 years of age immigrated to France. He never saw Poland again. My father immigrated to France also when he was in his twenties and never saw his native Turkey again (he was Armenian, which is why he could not go back.) Below is a photo of my father, dated January 1935, when he was in his twenties. In the back he wrote "A mes Parents, respectueusement" (to my parents, respectfully.)
Maybe my dad felt a connection with Chopin. He often played the piece below called "Tristesse" which means sadness - it is Chopin etude 10, op 3. In the video below it is played by Freddy Kempf, a British pianist born in Croydon to a German father and a Japanese mother. He now lives in Berlin. I listen to the music and I can see myself in our Paris flat once again, and I am happy.
Chopin reminiscing on Poland by Jan Styka, Polish, 1858-1925