The Washington Post

Editor’s Query: Tell us about a time when ... you were proud of a parent

I found the letter after my father’s death in a battered tin box in his attic. It was written in 1945 in French to my grandmother by a family he’d befriended during World War II in Belgium. Funny how things fall into place: My friends were moving to Belgium, I’d been studying French and then I found the letter.

I went to Belgium and asked my friend if the village of Wanze was nearby. It was. Off we went, not at all clear on how I’d find the writers of a 46-year-old letter. Other things fell into place: There was a tourist office, a persistent clerk and a phone conversation in French. She’d located the family. Yes, they were still in the village and, having been told of my quest, were expecting me.

Mimie greeted me with a warm hug and tears, as if I were long-lost family. In her hand she held photos of my father, taken that cold winter.

“Oh, you were able to find the pictures so quickly,” I remarked. “But, of course,” she said, “ I look at them often.”

She and her family shared vivid memories of my father, Richard Vigeant, the generous Army cook, who’d brought so much joy to the long-suffering locals with treats such as coffee, milk, soap and a turkey he’d managed to “procure” for them.

“Your visit is an answer to our prayers,” they told me. “We’ve finally heard from Richard.”

Renee Domogauer,

College Park

New query: Tell us about a time when you realized there was no turning back.

If you have a 100 percent true story taken from your own experience concerning the above query, send it to or The Washington Post Magazine, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Include your daytime phone number. Recount your story in 250 words or fewer.



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