My mom just told me she saw the obituary for my Grade 7 French teacher in the paper. Mme Baxter died suddenly on Tuesday.

Paris Exposition: Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, 1900

Paris Exposition: Champ de Mars and Eiffel Tower, Paris, France, 1900. (No known copyright restrictions.)

I started taking French in Grade 6, and took to it immediately. Through university, it was one of my favourite classes. Mme Baxter was utterly charming to the twelve-year-old me. She was French Canadian – or at least her French was Canadian – and her accent was different and sibilant and fascinating. Poor Mme Mackey spent the first couple months of Grade 8 French undoing it all.

Mme Baxter, I moved to Canada ten years ago. I wish your Canadian French hadn’t been overwritten all those years ago. It would have served me better than all the “proper” Parisian French I learned instead. Rest in peace.