Séries L et S
LANGUE VIVANTE 2
Série L Durée 3 heures – Coefficient 4
Série S Durée 2 heures – Coefficient 2
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Bac 2010 – Série S – LV2 Anglais – Métropole 10ANV2ME1
But the best of all the stories were, naturally, the ones told by my mother’s father, since after all he was the only one of my relatives who’d made the remarkable trip to America and has been old enough at the time to have anything to rememberabout it. How was the trip to America, you want to know? my grandfather would repeat, chuckling softly, when I interviewed him about his life. I couldn’t tell you, because I was in the toilet throwing up the whole time! But of course this self-deprecating joke, meant to suggest that there was no story to tell, was part of the story of his coming to America, a story, as I knew, that had manychapters. In no particular order, I remember, now, these stories: the one about he and his sister, my glum Aunt Sylvia, whom he always called Susha and whose name appears on the passenger manifest, now available online through the Ellis Island database, as Sosi Jäger, had travelled “for weeks” to get from Lwow to Rotterdam “where the boat was waiting,” he would say, and being a child with little knowledgeof the world, I would be impressed, back then, to think that such a big boat would wait for these two young people from Bolechow, a false impression that my grandfather did little to correct; and then how, after the long trip on the train, from Lwow to Warsaw, then Warsaw through Germany to the Netherlands, they almost missed the boat, because the girls had such long hair. Because the girls hadsuch long hair?! I would exclaim. The first time I heard this story, which was so long ago that I can’t remember when it might have been, I asked the question because I was genuinely perplexed; only now do I understand how sophisticated a storyteller my grandfather was, what a brilliant tease because the girls had long hair was, how it was intended to make me ask just that question, so that hecould launch into his story. Later on, I asked it simply because I knew he wanted me to. Yes, because the girls had such long hair! he would go on, sitting there in the webbed garden chair on the broad stoop outside the front door to my parents’ house, surveying the neighbourhood, as he liked to do when he visited, with an expression of lordly satisfaction, as if he were somehow responsible for thesplit-level houses in their many odd colors, the neat lawns, the spiral topiaries pointing to the clear summer sky, the silence of this weekday noon. And then he would tell me how, before boarding the big boat that took him and my perennially disappointed aunt to America, all the steerage1 passengers had to be inspected for lice, and because the girls, including my twenty-two-year-old great-auntSylvia, had such long hair in those days, these preboarding examinations took a very long time, and at a certain point my grandfather (who today, I suspect, we would describe as suffering from severe anxiety, although in those days people just said he was “meticulous”) panicked. So what did you do? I would ask, on cue2.*
And he would say, so I yelled Fire! Fire! and in allthe confusion, I took your aunt Susha’s hand and we ran up the gangplank and got on the boat! And that’s how we came to America. He would tell this story with an expression that hovered between self-congratulation and self-deprecation, as if simultaneously pleased and (now) slightly embarrassed by the youthful audacity that, if this story is not a lie, had won him his trip to America. Daniel...