afternoon in the summer of 1998, while working on the computer and
listening to NPR, Leslie heard that plans were underway to move
Jim Morrison's grave. Buried at Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris,
Morrison was one of the two graves Leslie wanted to visit, the first
being Piaf's. She had always wanted to go to Paris, but had never
taken the initiative to put that desire in motion. But according
to the information she was hearing on the radio program, time was
suddenly running out.
have to get to Paris before the end of next year," she thought,
"but I certainly don't want to go alone. John! I'll call John."
And so she called John. Leslie and John (deColette and deJean) had
been friends since the ninth grade at Audubon High School. They
met in French class and became fast friends, after John's book report
on Edith Piaf. Everyone in the class was assigned to do a report
on something or someone French. John, enlisting the help of his
cousin Al, did his report on Piaf. And thanks to Al's contributions,
John brought in an LP and played a few of her songs. The first time
Leslie heard Piaf was as she sang "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien".
She says that she's never been the same since. John and Leslie have
been friends since that day.
left for New York soon after his escape from high school, and John
and Leslie continued their friendship, although they saw each other
less and less with every passing year. They'd occasionally see one
another on a holiday, or chat on the phone, but their relationship
had been reduced to a few cards or letters over a years time. So,
when Leslie got the idea in her head that she had to get to Paris,
and that she had to get there with John, she wasn't even sure if
she had his current address. So she looked him up on the web and
sent a postcard to that address. On it she wrote something like
"Hi Jean, it's Collette. If this is John, you'll know who I
am, if it isn't, sorry to bother you." She put her phone number
at the bottom and crossed her fingers.
weeks later the phone rang and much to her surprise and happiness
it was John. They talked, they caught up and Leslie told him about
her plans for Paris. He was onboard with the idea right from the
start. They picked out the day September 16, 1999 and agreed to
stay in contact and to make plans in early Spring. John came down
to visit Leslie for Christmas, and they felt like no time had passed
since they had last seen one another. Paris seemed like an even
better idea than it had before.
as September approached, John made all the arrangements, which left
Leslie with plenty of time to try to figure out how she was going
to pack all of her toiletries. By the 15th, each had all of their
affairs in order and were ready to begin their long-awaited trip
to Paris together.