Connecting with memories of Noel Krauss in New Caledonia
|Noel Krauss is second from the left in this undated photo, in the home of Jacques Fonce, his friend for many years in Noumea, New Caledonia. The photo is at least 30 years old. Shirley is on the left, and Jacques is on the right.|
Our visit to the capitol of New Caledonia (Nouméa) was a pleasant surprise. Caroline's mother, Lisa, had reminded us that her uncle (Caroline's great-uncle), Noel Krauss, had spent time in New Caledonia, and that Lisa still exchanged annual holiday cards with one of Noel's friends there. We tracked down his email, exchanged a few messages, and voilà! Eighty-seven year old Jacques Fonce met us at the Nouméa cruise terminal at 8:30 sharp.
|Jacques and Caroline meet for the first time in Nouméa.|
Later, Jacques' grandfather became mayor of Nouméa in the 1920s. Jacques met Noel while he was attending a course on biological control at the East-West Center in Honolulu, and they continued to interact throughout their professional careers.
Jacques gave us a guided tour of Nouméa, including showing us where Noel lodged (a starkly simple room near the police station downtown... apparently Noel was not one for luxury). There are some beautiful beaches and beachfront areas in Nouméa, with pedestrian and bike lanes. Jacques took us to his home, one block from the beach, and we met his companion, Shirley.
Jacques and Shirley shared stories of their times with Noel in New Caledonia and with Beatrice, Lee, and Lisa in Honolulu. One story that surprised me was that Noel smoked. I didn't know this (perhaps he had quit by the time I met him). Apparently, he smoked a lot, and rather than removing his cigarette from his mouth and knocking off the ashes, he just let the ashes fall where gravity pulled. So his shirts always had little holes where the ashes burned through!
|In Honolulu, Caroline's Aunty Bea is at the head of the table, and to the right is mother Lisa, and a younger Jacques Fonce.|
|We found Nemo!|
|Lunch with Shirley and Jacques.|
|Note the unique scute pattern and head shape of the hawksbill sea turtle on the bottom of this photo. "Tortoise shell" products usually imitate this species. I think the turtle on the top is a loggerhead.|
|Poster seen on our walk along the beach.|
|Caroline talking story with Jacques Fonce.|