I Am Famous the World Over

and I have been for some time, decades really.

My friend Brigitte, over at Brigitte’s Banter (go read it, she’s a gifted writer and one of the very first blogs I followed), suggested that I write about my time studying in France back in 1986. I spent one semester at the University of Dijon which I believe is now the Université de Bourgogne. I wanted to go to the Université de Pinot Gris but I didn’t get in. Ba dum bah! I’ll be here all week!

So here’s a story that began when I was in France but continued on for years after my return to the States. That’s what we travelers of the “Continent” call it when we come home. We are back in the States. I also say that in Hawaii which annoys the locals. “Uh, we are a state, hellooo!!!! rather, Aloha!”


When I was in France, I met a Frenchman (18-year-old so actually a garçon). His name was Stephan (and it probably still is). He was from Paris but stationed in the air force near Dijon. I guess that’s what he was doing there. I met him at our (my ‘merican study group) favorite boîte, Café des Grands Ducs. He LOVED me at first sight. He was cute and I was 20 and thought having a French boyfriend would be super-chouette.

Me at the hospice in Beaune. Cool 80's jacket and an interesting perm.
Me at the Hospices Civil de Beaune. Cool 80’s jacket and my Jon Bon Jovi perm.

From what I remember and through our rather broken communications as my French wasn’t perfect nor was his English, I believe he was from a fairly well-to-do family. His mother was in corporate for Budget rental cars. I remember this because he said “boojeeta” for Budget. He appeared to have been quite pampered in life. Being French, he was very much into public displays of affection which allowed me to make out with him in front of my American pals. I’m sure they were very comfortable with that and thought I was très chouette. He was most affectionate and adoring which got very irritating quickly so I broke up with him. He cried and wrote me letters. It was all very melodramatic. But I did what I had to do because well, he annoyed me. And I also really liked Tom in my study group and I didn’t think I stood a chance with him if I kept making out with a French pilot in front of him.

Years and years later, I was at the beach on vacation with my family. Michael, a family friend was over and telling us about his trip to Paris with his brother and sister the previous month. He told us that they were sitting in a café chatting and a Frenchman joined the conversation. The Frenchman asked where they were from and they answered Portland, Oregon. And the Frenchman said,

“Oh I loved a girl from Orygun. Her name was Maggie O’Connair. Do you know her?”

Then Michael, looked at me and said, “Was he referring to you?”

Yes. Yes, he was and that is why I am famous the world over.


57 replies to “I Am Famous the World Over

  1. Well, it just figures that you had a French pilot fall in love with you and then he’s still pining away decades later. It’s like kismet. Or karma. Or the French word for that. Nicholas Sparks would be all over this, Mags. I mean, seriously — when I can I see the screenplay?

    And you may want to consider this as an ongoing series.

    (btw, love the Bon Jovi do — I can see why flyboy would fall in love with you.) Thanks for the shout-out, Mags.

  2. Like Lily, I also love this story, Mags, and am now inspired to share my New Year’s Eve English Channel crossing tale. Of course the ending is not quite as sensational as yours, but still… it’s fun to dig out the old pictures and pretend I still look the same! LOL!
    No wonder the Frenchman loved you — look at you! What a hottie in your green surplus jacket. 😀

  3. I forgot all about this as all I remember from hearing about Dijon is Thom, Tom, Thom! Great story and a good thing to be remembered for instead of some of the other “lovely” escapades of life. Do keep sharing and have a wonderful weekend.

  4. I love this story. I am also French and practically half Chinese and have also fallen in love with a Maggie O’Connor from Orygun. Small world, indeed.

      1. 80’s fashion is like no other. And the Bon Jovi hair didn’t hurt either. How could he resist indeed. Tiffany, Debbie Gibson and Boy George all can’t be wrong….. ha ha ha.

  5. my life is very boring compared to all of you– your rock the perm, but then again, we all did in the 80’s. Mmm maybe I’ll have to post my own perm of the 80’s. haaa NOT

  6. What a great story! I worked in Paris in the 80s as an Au Pair girl, but I don’t have anywhere near as delightful of a story. Well, unless you consider the Turkish toilet I had outside my tiny bedroom delightful…

      1. I never did get the hot water they promised me, and it took 4 months to get electricity in my room. I used a flashlight until then. I was up on the top floor of the apartment building with the rest of the ‘servants.’ I had a small sink in my room–no hot water–but had to share the Turkish toilet with the rest of the floor.

        But you know what? It was Paris. I was young. I didn’t care!

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