The beginning, I come to the « Ferrari's ».
The years « 33 ».
Week-ends in « Oberkulm ».
A house in «Chamoson ».
An apartment in
« Meyrin ».
The begining, I come to the « Ferrari's ».
It was June 27 Th 1971 when I took the train
Meppel - Geneva, in order to go to a new position with the American
company « Control Data »,
computer manufacturer, who had an activity
at the « C.E.R.N. »
site, in Meyrin, close to the Swiss - French border. It
was the next day as I arrived at Geneva railway
station Cornavin, and that without any useful
knowledge of French. Lucky
enough that Geneva was and still is an international town and I could
make myself understand with some German and some English.
It was then the afternoon of the same day that I phoned the
responsible person of « Control
Data » at « C.E.R.N. », who came to
pick me up the next day.
have gone the the « C.E.R.N. » site for the
presentation, one of the staff members helped out to look for a
furnished room, which he found at the Ferrari's, who lived at the
house shown on the right.
family Ferrari rented already other rooms to people of
« C.E.R.N. ». Besides my room,
there were three more rooms rented out to people of « C.E.R.N. ».
I had the second room from the left side with the
fourth room was occupied by the couple Ferrari them
selfs, even then when the husband slept frequently in a
corner of his workshop on the first floor.
garage in basement was furnished as a room where the whole family
lived during daytime, unless they had to work in their
workshop on the first floor. Then they had there an
high precision turning workshop.
second photo is taken from my window and shows a part of the city
have asked them whether they had any family link with the famous
Italian automobile constructor, but they answered that they would
have liked that that was the case, but unfortunately NO.
picture show the Ferrari's turning and mechanical
workshop, it was there where they worked during the day-time and
it was, as you can see on the pictures, even for 1971 not very
Les years « 33 ».
This number is a little special. For those
who did live or still do live in Geneva, this was the number of the
trolly-bus line Geneva - Cointrin. For me on the other
hand, this means Hôtel - Restaurant 33. Then one
of our secretaries found for me a two room
unfurnished apartment in the building next to Hotel 33, which became
already quickly my meeting point for all the people living in the
picture shown here is a more recent one, but this hotel had already
the same aspect as in the time I lived next door.
A lot of people, as well the ones who lived in the near,
as the people working at the airport, and the other people working at
companies there, were getting their
noon dinner here. I was working that time very often
evening shift from 4.00 pm up to 01.00 am, and it was also here that
I took usually my noon dinner with the other people. I
had a lot of friends there and knew also a lot of other people, and
it is from this time that I have my best souvenirs of my Geneva time.
When it comes to souvenirs , then I do have a very
special one. One day, August 16th, 1977, I
came as usual to take my “renversé” (read half
milk, half coffee, in a big glass) and read the Swiss-German scandal
newspaper “Blick”, did I find the waitress down in cries.
What happened ? she just haired
the announcement hat Elvis died. Even when this was not
so very good news, but this should not be a
reason to break down in cries.
When I came very later back here to see a friend of
mine, I have haired that the family « Dupont »,
where maman ran the business with her son
and her daughter, had sold the hotel to a big holding.
The result; nothing left of the old times, no friends, nobody,
nothing. Since then, I did not return to the area
where I once used to live. What is left now, are the
souvenirs, all the stories told by a man with a surname of
« Rocambole », the ladies hairdresser
surnamed « Pénélope », who
came always to say us hello and to drink her tea
with-ice (yes you read correctly, hot tea with ice cubes in it!!!) in
a hurry. And not to forget the afternoon card players,
with of course « Rocambole », who did
not need to work all the afternoon, « Fritz »
an employee of the airport postal service, the local postman from
whom I have forgotten the name and « Patricia »
a good looking representative in the twenties,
who lived with her boyfriend in the same building as I did.
Week-ends in « Oberkulm »
It was during the period I was living aside « 33 »
that I came across some Swiss-German magazine, which had some strange
questionnaire in it, and which happened to
be a computerized partner search thing. Those things who
were supposed to find you the ideal partner. Ok so far,
I did fill in this crazy thing, sended it to the indicated address
with a dozen swiss-francs. Thereafter was nothing left
than wait and see.
Yes indeed did I receive a list with a dozen names,
addresses, and so on. First I contacted some of them,
most of them were of the Zurich region and the surrounding
regions, but nothing serious came out of it. It was a
lot later, when I decided to send the
everyone of the list a new years wish card. The result
was that with one of them a more and more frequent contact has build
make long story short, her name was « Susi »
and she lived in a village called « Oberkulm »
(map on the right), where she helped to take care of her parents
farm. Her father was that time a cattle-merchant
and had himself also important cattle too. Their farm
looked a lot like the ones we usually see on postcards.
It is like this that I was spending during nearly a year
very often the week-ends in « Oberkulm »,
to be with her.
She did leave me a souvenir that I will not easily
forget, than one day our postman knocked at
my door with a very urgent parcel, coming from the “canton
Argau”. Inside this parcel I found, after
opening it, a fresh baked bread, like the ones she used to make.
She made me a bread and did sent it by express
mail, so I could get it the same day ! That she could do
this, that surpassed me completely and
still does now.
After a while it became slowly clear that certain
incompatibilities existed, specially the fact that even then that I
was a farmer sun, I was not a farmer and I did not feel like becoming
one. Besides the fact that her parents preferred
rather a local farmer instead of me. We decided then to
stop this relation, we promised to keep contact, but I stayed without
any news from her, and I did not do any better, she stayed without
news from me to.
A house in « Chamoson ».
It was in the same period of time that I and some other
colleagues started to, more or less seriously, look for some house
for sale. Some for permanent living, and some others
just for the week-ends.
day I have got across an add in a
specialized newspaper, offering a “chalet”
(mountain-house) to be finished (picture on
the left) in “Chamoson”
in the “canton du Valais”.
It was rather expensive for me, but one could finish it
either immediately, but of course also
finish it later.
So the decision was taken, and after a lot of financial
struggle, I finally succeeded
in buying this “Chalet”. Now I had to finish
On the moment I bought it, most of my colleagues thought
that I have become crazy, but time showed that this decision has been
the right one, especially when the house was finally
finished in 1980.
I lived up there from 1980 to 1985 only the week-ends,
and full time, since 1985, the time I have taken a job as systems
analyst at E.P.F.L. site in
Lausanne. I lived there up to the time I have left
Switzerland for “La Normandie” in France in 1995.
In other words from 1980 to 1995, making up a total of 15 years.
« Chamoson » remains a story on itself who has
the merit to have it's own web page, but for the moment being the
first priority was to gather enough money to finish my house little
by little, so far my financial situation
would allow it.
For a rather long period I have been working nearly
exclusively the evening shift, my
colleagues from whom I had taken over the evening shift preferred
in fact to work only day shift, and I
preferred the evening shift because of the
shift allowance. (I did not need to get up early!!!).
Anyway what was looking to be, at least in the eyes of
my colleagues, a big mistake, showed to be a good investment, which
was good to have when I badly needed it.
An appartment in « Meyrin ».
After 6 years I did quit the apartment aside « 33 »
and changed for an other apartment a little further on for a couple
of years. One day I accidentally came
across a new building at « rue
des Bugnons », still under construction, where
visited a show room apartment. There still were some two
room apartments left, which I could offer myself with my modest
budget I had.
It is like this that I have bought a two room apartment
on the 12Th floor. But I did unfourtunaty not
live there for a very long time, then the time to work in Lausanne as
system analyst was about to come up.
I have still lived in my « Meyrin »
apartment for some time, but I was most of the time already
physically living in « Chamoson »
where live was (and still is) more pleasant as it is in a 13 stories
The building was initially ran by an “sindic”,
as sort of representative of co-owners, but after lots of struggle
of any kind with those people, we, the co-owners decided that we
would do this our selfs, and that with
considerable money savings.
It was a lot later, somewhere in the year 1986, that I
rented this apartment out to « Petra »,
a colleague's daughter, who needed an
apartment at that moment being. I was living in
« Chamoson » for most of the time anyway, which
became hereby my permanent residence.
This situation remained until a had to sell
my « Meyrin » apartment, around the end of
1989, the year « Control Data » decided to
close his agencies in the French part of Switzerland.
It was with the sale of my « Meyrin »
apartment that my
« Geneva »
time has ended.
Some important events of that era (de 1968 à
First man on the Moon.
Elvis Presley died.
Israel by surprise.
No car driving at Sundays.
I.B.M. announces a « Personal
Sadat goes to Israel.
The killing of Sadat.
To know more about:
(Or the way of live in Central Switzerland)
Hôtel « 33 »
Click on the links.