Before I talked to a living soul, I felt welcomed and at home in this village - and as if someone was looking after me here. In fact, it was partly the experiences of two other American soldiers from WW II that led me to believe that Lonlay l'Abbaye was exactly the right place to buy a French house.
For weeks, they sheltered at different places, and were introduced to a variety of persons. It was hard for them to know who to trust. One lady in Beauchêne let them sleep in her chicken coop to hide from the Gestapo, and fed them well during the day. Then they were on the move again.
At one point, two men from Lonlay l'Abbaye, Alexander Gueston and Rene Leray, bravely led the two soldiers with a group of French citizens who were also evading the Germans. Sgt. Porter was helping to carry a baby. Germans were approaching, so they had to hide. Sgt. Porter hid in a ditch under a bush near the road with the baby. Had the baby cried, that would have meant discovery and perhaps imminent death. You can read the relief in the report as Kalbfleisch writes "the baby never made a whimper."
Someday perhaps I or my family members will encounter the descendants of Alexander Gueston and Rene Leray, the men of Lonlay l'Abbaye who aided these Americans so long ago. Or meet someone related to Yvette Dubocq, the educated woman from Beauchêne, who hid them from the Gestapo. I am glad to know their stories. The bond between the French and the Americans is one we cherish, and for good reason.
"The wrong of unshapely things is a wrong too great to be told;
I hunger to build them anew and sit on a green knoll apart,
With the earth and the sky and the water, re-made, like a casket of gold
For my dreams of your image that blossoms a rose in the deeps of my heart."