How to say crutch or crutches in French

vouloir dire & what does "Tanguy syndrome" mean in French?

Lighthouses in Brittany (c) Kristin Espinasse
My computer is still in the fix-it shop. Sorry to not be able to add the usual audio/sound feature. It'll be back soon -- in time to bring you more authentic pronunciations from Jean-Marc. Don't you love his voice? (photo of lighthouses in Brittany. A little tiny more about Brittany--or the Breton language--in today's column, where we talk about the name "Tanguy" and much much more...)

vouloir dire (voo-lwar-deer) 

    : to mean, to signify
    : to want to say


Qu'est-ce que je voulais dire? Je ne sais plus. J'ai un blanc de mémoire.
What was it I meant to say? I can't remember. I've drawn a blank. 

Qu'est-ce que cela veut dire? = What does that mean?
Que veut dire ce mot? = What does this word mean?

French Expression: savoir ce que parler veut dire = to be able to take a hint 

A DAY IN A FRENCH LIFE... by Kristin Espinasse

Were you a Twixter or a Kidult?

In the car on our way back to Castorama (this time for garden supplies--yeah!) I listened to a telephone conversation between Jean-Marc and the ferronnier. The men were talking about a large glass fenêtre we hope to incorporate into the front of our house.

After Jean-Marc described the squares-and-iron type of window, the ferronnier said he understood the style we were after: atelier d'artiste he called it. That should be possible to do, he assured us, only he had another question. Unable to remember what it was he searched his mind:

"Qu'est-ce que je voulais dire? Ah oui!...

As Jean-Marc continued driving and chatting with the artisan, I made a mental note to share the qu'est-ce que je voulais dire expression with you as it is something I hear so often. Perhaps it is not so much an expression as it is a very common conjugation of the verb vouloir dire which means "to want to say" among other things. The French say this at the end of a back and forth conversation when getting distracted from a follow-up point (or, I have sometimes noted, to soften the blow--as when my son says: "...qu'est-ce que je voulais dire? Oh yes, can you give me 10 euros please?)

Moochers aside--and changing subjects completely now--there was indeed something I wanted to tell you today. It was about another expression I learned....

After Monday's story about the pirates who moved onto our olive farm, Alyssa wrote in wanting to know the meaning of the French name "Tanguy". Did it mean "tan guy"? (I had to chuckle, having never made the obvious connection). Alyssa, I've just looked up "Tanguy" and learned it is of Celtic origin, from the Breton tan (fire) and ki (dog). Tanguy signifies a chien ardent or dog warrior. Wikipedia goes on to say that, since 1940, 14,617 Frenchman have been baptised by this name.

Next I saw Sarah's note in the comments box. Sarah wondered whether Tanguy was pronounced tanh-ghee . (Yes Sarah--tahn, like tonsil and ghee, like geek: tahn-ghee. Note: our Tanguy is far from one of those!)

All this to say that from that discussion I googled the name and learned a funny and popular modern expression. Urban Dictionary gives this definition:

Tanguy syndrome is an emerging phenomenon across the world that started in Canada....  It takes its name from a French-speaking film's young male character who spends his days at his parents' tanning, not working at the ripe old age of 28!

(Hmmm, maybe Alyssa has a point? meantime Wikipedia seconds the definition in its entry Le Phénomène Tanguy):

Une nouvelle expression est ainsi apparue pour désigner la classe d'âge de ces jeunes gens : la génération Tanguy. And so a new expression has appeared to designate the age group corresponding to these young people: The Tanguy Generation. 

Surfing the net for Tanguy, I also learned some funny vocabulary like les célebataires parasites, a term coined by Masahiro Yamada to describe a recent trend in Japonese society wherein twenty-somethings (25 and older) are not marrying--prefering to live with their parents and enjoy a worry-free and comfortable life.

And I learned we have a similar expression in English: boomerang generation, used to describe young people who leave the nest... only to return soonafter! These "rejeuveniles" or "twixters" or "kidults" or even "kippers" (kids in parents' pockets eroding retirement savings) as they are called may repeat the process a few times. (I admit I'm one of those having returned to both my mom's house once and my dad's house twice! And does moving in with one's sister count too? Yikes! I was one of those "parasite singles"!)

Bon, between artist's windows and parasitic bachelors today's essay got all off topic! I'll sign off with a question, as I'm curious to know about how YOU left the family nest: 

  • How old were you when you left home?
  • What was your first pad / apartment / home like?
  • Did you have a roomate?
  • How much was your rent? (if you feel like sharing...)
  • Any other memories about your first chez soi or home of your own?

Thanks for sharing your answers here in the comments box. After writing about my life it is a pleasure to read about yours! Click here to read what readers are saying.

Re that window we hope to build: I found a perfect example in this post at Lynn's Southern Fried French blog. Look at the second picture, with the cat! We love the window seat, too!

French Vocabulary

le ferronnier = iron worker

la fenêtre
= window

un artisan
= skilled workman, tradesman, craftsman (just add an "e" to the end of artisan(e) to make all these feminine)

bon = well then 

How to properly pronounce French words? Read this inexpensive book!


Cycling in Paris (c) Kristin Espinasse

127 Things to do in Paris! Thanks for continuing to share your excellent tips on where to go and what to see in France's most beloved city. Click here to see the latest suggestions.

Pronounce It Perfectly in French - with exercises in sound discrimination and accurate sound creation. Order your copy here.

 Thanks for forwarding this edition to a friend or twixter or kipster or just a cool or well-meaning homebody.

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Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Eileen - Charlottesville, VA

Hi Kristin,
I enjoyed your post today! This reminded me of the movie Failure to Launch about a thirty-something slacker who suspects his parents of setting him up with his dream girl so he'll finally vacate their home.
I love the word "kipper"...that one got me giggling! I love the photo of the window and the cat.
I was married young, so went from my parent's home to my husband's. I wouldn't recommend that, but it has worked for us for 31 years!

Herm in Phoenix, Az

Being a farm boy and the only son, I stayed on the farm as was expected. At 24, I was drafted into the Korean War and was assigned to NATO in France. After the service, I returned to the farm, but quit at age 30.

In the following 2 ½ years I got an electronics engineering degree, got married at age 32 and moved to Arizona. We bought a house (payments - $115/mo) 2 months later. Life was simpler then!

Sharron and I recently celebrated 50 years together!

Sara Madden

 How old were you when you left home? I didn’t leave home! I lived with my Mom and she left! I had a baby right before turning 19 and my mother got married at the same time. She moved out when the child was about six months old. Talk about growing up fast!
 What was your first pad / apartment / home like? I lived in my childhood home when my mother moved out. The house was paid off but we still had to pay taxes and the second mortgage. A few years after that, I lived in an apartment that I like to refer to as “the hovel.”
 Did you have a roommate? My older sister lived with me a couple of weeks after my mother moved out.
 How much was your rent? (if you feel like sharing...) I have no idea. See above, but I don’t know what that is. I am sure I would kill to pay that kind of rent nowadays.
 Any other memories about your first chez soi or home of your own? I loved having my own place! I thought I was so grown up back then. God, I was so young and dumb! Youth is wasted on the young!


Left home at 17 for college in Toronto and was so homesick.....but couldn't,go home because they had thrown a bon voyage party for Xmas of that year came home and couldn't,t wait to get back to Toronto, thought home had become so small!!!!
Moved back home after 5years in Toronto and have been travelling ever first job paid $6000.a yr and think I could do more with the $6000.than I did with my $85000.00 some 40yrs later when I retired!!!!!!

Julie Farrar

I'm making notes of these phrases today because they will come in so handy on my next trip over. And I'll be sure to listen to them.

As for the questions. I left home for college and never came back for anything except short school breaks because I had jobs at school to pay my bills. I was earning a big $250-300 per month and paying my bills. When I got married I earned a whopping $560 while my husband was the rich one at $750/month. My roommates were whoever could pay half the rent. I wasn't looking for a best friend. The first apartment my husband and I had could have fit into our current living room -- and it included a dog, a full drum set, and all the books of two people in graduate school.

We've made it clear to our kids that we don't believe in that boomerang life. We want them to figure out how to make it and we want our house back. If they had a real crisis they could stay with us, but we expect them to be out there working at something - anything - and figuring out what it takes to live like an adult.


I was on my own at 19 to attend a college of which my folks didn't approve. I was also just married. My wife and I found a basement apartment for the princely sum of $16/week (yes, quite a while ago, in the late 60s in Michigan). We lived there for several months before we upgraded to sharing a house with two other students.

It was the first time I was truly "on my own" with no parental safety net. College tuition and my loans were completely on me as I'd applied as an independent student. Rent, utilities, food, and everything else were on my wife and me. Looking back, all we had was our optimism and commitment that we'd have a better life following school. Most of it all turned out quite well... except for the marriage. But my 2nd wife and I have just celebrated our 28th year of marriage, so it seems like there's value in not giving up .


I left home at 20 to move to NYC to finish college. Graduated one year later and moved into a one-bedroom apt. with 3 other girls. Four girls in a one bedroom, one bath apt. That was an interesting summer. We divided the $235 monthly rent by 4, so $58.75 each. But that was a lot of money then. We all only took home, after taxes, about that same amount weekly. We were poor but had fun.

Judy, Western Canada

Hi Kristin, loved your post today. Definitely in Canada, kids are staying home longer, or returning home more, than they did when I was young.
I left home at 18, moved in with my brother, my best friend and my boyfriend :O) into an apartment that was about $6-800/mo back then, in the 80s. It was a large building with a pool, that I don't think I ever used. We (my boyfriend and I) then got our own apartment, and subsequently got married 2 years later. We're still together, 30 yrs in August.
My kids took their first 2 years of college from home, and then moved out for their university years. So far neither has come back. I think it's because my husband has taken over the cooking. ;O)


I too married early (17) and we moved to simple apartment together. Now, 36 years later I have to say I would do it all over again as we are still having fun growing up together.

Pamela in Tacoma, WA

I was 18 when I left home and moved in with my boyfriend. This was very daring in 1970 and only happened because my parents didn't like him and gave me an ultimatum: him or them. We had a 1 bedroom apartment in a low-rent district because I was a student and he had just graduated from college. We stayed together for 3 more years! And, no, I didn't return to my parents' house when we broke up. It was understood that once we moved out we were welcome to visit but not reside. And I did reconcile with my parents after the break-up. I don't regret a minute of it.


Big phenomenon in Europe: Hotel Mama - kids staying at home way into their late 20's....NOT good. There have been studies done on "wasting your twenties"; you can never make it up again, economically, emotionally or otherwise. Our generation couldn't wait to get away from home, but that was a more restricted era, the 60's. Since then kids have all the freedoms they want, including sex in their parents' homes, so why move out?

joie blair

Went away at 17 to college. Came home at 18 for college. Left again at 20. Worked, went to Europe for 6 months at 25. Followed boyfriend to Oregon, came home at 27. Lived with parents, then sister for 3 months. Rented house, bought same house at 34. From college to now I have had OMG.....over 20 roomates, some doing more than one stint here and that does not include the brother, girlfriend, dog and fish staying for 5 months. In the beginning I needed them to help pay half the mortage. They got half a house for that. I haven't had any real roomates for probably close to 20 years. And it is not nephew will be staying with me with dog for a month because his mother did a house swap in Colorado. He is home because he can't find work in Oregon where he lives, but can here. My place just always seemed to be the home where friends could come until they moved on to the next phase of thier lives. So, I guess I have provided a safe haven for many over the years. Some stayed a week, others a couple of months.
I can't remember how much I made in my first real job. (Not counting swim instructor and lifeguard.) It was not much, but I can remember telling my parents how proud I felt to be able to pay my own bills.
So if anyone needs a place to stay here....sorry, I am booked for the next month;)


I basically left home when I went off to college, staying in the dorm for two years and visiting my parents during summer holidays. Then they moved farther away, and I moved into a house that I shared with other college kids all year round. I continued to share various lodgings with other people my age until I finally got my own apartment. I did very briefly move in with my parents after a divorce, but it didn't take long for me to make other arrangements once I got settled in my new life. No moving back anymore; my parents have both moved on out of this world. And I never had children, so I don't have to worry about that.

Genevieve Saffren

I was 18 - I moved to a furnished "single", utilities included, in west Hollywood that costs $85 (!!) a month. My dad helped me pay the rent as my step mother wanted my out of their house. My roommate was a pet rat named Mike (after my boyfriend). I never moved back home and married at 22. We're still married (not to Mike) 44 years. :- )

Alicia Deavens

Hi! Love the post!! I was 18 when I left to go to college. I counted down the days until I could finish. I had grand dreams of traveling and living abroad. When I graduated from college, returning home was not an option... my mom & Dad said they wanted me to live far enough away that they could call it a visit or a vacation when they would come to see me. After my dorm room, I worked as an intern and had a roommate in a small apartment in Texas. After 3 months, I was hired by the company and I paid my own rent of $350.00 with no more roommate. She had been good but the company moved her away. I had a bag cell phone ... ha ha ha...1992!! One of the best things a girl could learn: pay your own bills and take out your own trash. I learn to appreciate my father and mother, and now appreciate my husband! Though I don't live abroad; I have gotten to travel and hope to travel more!!!

Kristin Espinasse

Enjoying every story. I am getting a new perspective on the upcoming empty nest years!

Karen from Phoenix

I moved out at 21 to marry. It will be 35 years this July. We lived in someone's basement for three months before first moving from NY to VA then to AZ.

My "boys" have come and gone. They are both out of the house now. Sometimes I wish they were still here. I love them so.


Alyssa Ross Eppich

Hi Kristin!
First, thank you-I am happy I was able to provide a topic for today's article-and on a very interesting word, too!
I was out of the house at 15, to boarding school. I never lived at home full time again, being home only during the summer until college, and then I simply stayed at school and worked in the library there. After college, I moved to Boston, sharing an apartment in Newton Center and Newton Upper Falls with at least 2 other roomies at any one time-I seem to remember my part of the rent ran at about $175.00 back then-very cheap for Boston. I volunteered at the French Library, which allowed me to read and speak with other French aficionados. We had our own French language puppet theater there and we had a chorus, as well! Anyway, I remember it all fondly. Wish it was so easy to keep up my speech today-the reading is easy!



I love todays post - please call me, I just talked to Heidi...!



N Vandenberg, San Antonio, Texas

It was hardly a home of my own. It was the dorm/suite at college shared with four other girls. My parents gave me $200/month and it covered everything(books, room and board, tuition) including flights home. Of course this was 1965. Things have changed!! But I loved it.

The window sounds lovely. Fire dogs - that is a new one. Happy day, Nancy


Hi Kristi
Like some of the others I left home early married (17). First house was a little cottage (more like shack ) be we liked it and it was cheap although I can't remember the rent now all these yrs later. This was in Canada and we had 4 kids made several moves over the yrs...including one to New Zealand where I am still living (with 2nd husband (married now for 38 yrs) and another (5th) child. Inow have 10 grandkids and 6 great grands!! MOST of them are here but s few in Canada sadly. I was bereft after my youngest left home (at 18) to go to University and also move in with her boyfriend...but that didnt last and she is now happily married and has 3 little girls and lives closeby .I've had 2 trips to Paris and hoping for one more (this time to see more of France) And check off another on mu bucket list...L
ove your blog ! Anne

Bette Goode

Hi Kristin! I left home to go to university when I was 18yrs. old. I chose a school two time zones away from home, and I was miserably homesick the whole first term. I lived in residence as all first year students were required to do and had a roommate who is still a friend. After second year, I shared an apartment with three other friends. I cannot remember how much the rent was, but I do remember that we all chipped in $5 per week or $20 US per month for food. However, this was in 1965-1968. I think that our last year together we all had to put in a bit more as food prices were a bit higher. We had the very best time together and are still in contact. We've had a couple of "roomie reunions" and are planning another for this year. I did go home to live with my parents for 6 months and the experience wasn't so positive. My parents and I stayed on good terms, but I learned that it's good to go home to visit but not to live there again. You know that expression, "You can never go home again"? For me, that was true. Once out of the nest, I didn't want to go back.


Hi Kristi,
Your email went to my spam today! My district periodically does this to your emails and I wonder when I don't get them in the morning. Glad to pull you out of there! I left home for the first time at the age of 16 when I became an exchange student in Belgium in the town of Sint-Niklaas. I was gone for a whole academic year and was a little homesick at times, but have always believed that it was the best year of schooling I ever had. I had to work like crazy, but knew I could do most anything I put my mind to do after that. My family spoke Dutch and I had a brand new language to learn. I am happy that Jackie is planning to go to the States this summer to spend some time. It is a fantastic experience and will open her eyes to many things in life!

Pat Cargill

Let's just say that I walked in cap and gown across our high school graduation stage with my left hand holding my SUITCASE and my right hand reaching out for the SET ME FREE! WHOOOheeee- diploma! I couldn't get out of my home/hometown fast enough! Was living in Charlotte 2 weeks later. First home was a 2 bedroom/1bath apt with three girls. 1965 -broke, dumb and happy. 2013 -1965 = 48 yrs ago...egads!!!

James D. Smith

Left home for France at 20, as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Returned home just before turning 23, then left for six months of basic training. Left for good at 25 1/2 when I married: definitely had a roommate, and we've been together for 42 years. Our first home was married student housing, and the rent was $80 per month, including utilities.

Leslie in Portland, Oregon

My two children (now 32 and 28) left home to go to college and have never returned to live in our home. One lives in Seattle and the other in NYC. I miss sharing their daily lives but I'm happy for them--they have created their own wonderful homes.

I too left home to go to college. After college, I returned home to earn money for six months and then left to travel and work in Finland, the USSR and Europe. Then, after one month at home, I left home for good,going to flight attendant training in Miami and then moving to New York City to fly for Pan Am. My two roommates and I each paid $300/mo to sublet a 3-bedroom apartment with tall windows on the second floor of a brownstone 1.5 blocks from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (We found this apartment through the New York Times classified ads 2 hours after landing in NYC.) Needless to say, we were very lucky. While I wouldn't choose to live on the Upper East Side now (even if I could afford it), it was a relatively safe place for 2 naive Westerners and a young Frenchwoman to live in 1970-1972, when New York City was very different than it is now.

Bill Facker

My two best pals and I walked out of our high school graduation, jumped in the car and immediately drove from Colorado to Texas in a '56 blue and white Chevy (we heard the girls in Texas were beautiful)... WITH our graduation gowns and hats on. I've never lived at home since ... and the girls in Texas were beautiful!

Diane Young

Quit college at 19 during junior year to marry. Returned home at age 20 after marriage failed. My father read the want ads to me at breakfast every morning and I got a job. Paid $10 a week rent to parents. Married again at 22 to the great joy of my parents, who had visions of being stuck with me. Second time around, love was definitely lovelier and lasted 53 years until husband passed away.


Hi dear Kristi,
SO enjoyed today's post and the gorgeous pictures! Loved hearing about your young(er!) life!Also just totally tranported me away to Brittany and times far,far away!
I was 18 when Rod and I married; our first apartment was in Paris, across the street from Parc de Prince. It probably wasn't that stellar,but looked like THE best place on earth!Especially to newlyweds! I was a student at the Sorbonne and when we were transferred to Beograd (work related,airlines)I attended University of Beograd. We lived with relatives. (one word: WHEW!) After that we were tranferred to Montreal for two years and it was a really happy time. Now, 48 years later, the less easy times have become 'the good old days'. Wouldn't trade any of it for anything. Funny how the mind works,isn't it?
THANK YOU for a chance to recall all of this!
Love, Natalia XO


I had friends who moved back home after moving out, and I was determined not to do that. So to my parents' extreme dismay, I quit college to save up (I REALLY wanted to move out!).

I was 21 when I moved to an apartment, on my own, no roommate. Rent was $285, my monthly salary was $650. But I soon got a new job paying $900/mo. I thought I was rich! Then I went back to school and had no money again. My parents' were so relieved when I eventually graduated.

I LOVED living on my own, but when I returned to school a year later, I had to get a roommate. (I could write a book on my roommate horror stories.) My favorite feature was building's swimming pool, which I used often, especially since the apts. weren't air-conditioned. That part was miserable during the sweltering So. Cal. summers. But that was minor compared with the benefits of having my own apt. It was a mish-mash of borrowed and cast-off furniture. I laugh when I think of the dreadful couch. But I loved every minute. Plus, I made friends with the woman next door, who is still a dear friend today.

I never moved back home, but I'm afraid my kids might. (My son is 21 and my daughter is almost 18.) Living on your own is so much more expensive now! Thanks for letting me take a little trip down memory lane.

Sarah LaBelle near Chicago

I spent one quarter (a ten week term) in a dorm, then for my second year of university (until graduation) moved into an "urban renewal" apartment, doing some work myself and getting the chance to choose the colors for the walls painted by the landlord in the rehabbed, huge apartment. Two roommates (not always the same two), as the place had three bedrooms, huge kitchen, dining room and living room. The whole time we were there, the rent was $50 each (initially $150/3, then stayed at $50 each when just two were there -- the landlords liked us). It was an oral lease, which my lawyer uncle told me was a good thing. We had to pay for the heat, using old fashioned gas-fired space heaters. I started learning how to seal up windows right quick.

My older brother was still communting from home to the same university campus. My parents did not understand me leaving, as I never did sleep at their home again. But they never contributed a cent to my college expenses, either. There were four more after me, so they had enough on their hands, I guess.

The name Tanguy is great!
As are all the stories you found emanating from the movie Tanguy. Guess we should all look for that DVD. It is so funny for a fierce warrior name to morph into the name for the young adults who will not live on their own !

Thanks for telling us the correct pronunciation. Now to get my brain to keep remembering its Celtic roots, not its American appearance.


Hi Kristine, wonderful post!
I guess The Urban Dictionary is confused a bit, Tanguy's definition has nothing to do with Canada though. There is a hilarious French comedy Tanguy with Sabine Azema and a main character (her son) named Tanguy who perfectly fits the KIPPERS description and probably coined the Tanguy syndrome name.

I moved out at 18 as a full time student then switched to a correspondence course to work and be independent. I've got my PhD anyway.
When my firstborn son left the nest at 17, the first year was euphoric for him and absolutely dreadful for me. He is 21 now and pretty much independent already. But I can't imagine the time when my pre-teen grows up and leave the nest. I know, I know... but unbearable still.

Kathy Shearer

I grew up in NJ in the '60s and once launched off to college, you were not expected to return except for brief visits. That suited me just fine....After college, I entered VISTA (domestic version of Peace Corps) and my first apt was over a store in a tiny town in rural Northeast GA. My roommate and I were given iron bedsteads from the local jail. Seriously. My parents came to visit and my mother reached for the oven door, and it came off in her hand. Well, the place had character...Moved from there into public housing, which was a big step up. Married a year out of college and lived in three different rentals until 1971 when we bought our Back-To-The-Land place -- 72 acres, a barn, woodshed, garden, outhouse, and a house without indoor plumbing, for $5,000. Had to borrow every penny. But it was worth it.

Marianne Rankin

I lived with my mother and grandmother for a year after I finished college, to save money, but I paid real rent, although I didn't pay extra for phone or laundry. I moved out when I was not quite 23 years old, into a one-bedroom apartment by myself. It was a nice place and included access to a small swimming pool in the summer. It had no dishwasher, but did have a large walk-in closet. My uncle co-signed the loan I'd gotten to buy a little furniture; most of what I had was hand-me-downs. My rent was $160 the first year, which sounds like so little now, but on a salary of about $7,000 a year, it seemed high enough. I also had moved right around the time of the wage-price freeze invoked by President Nixon, so I'd just doubled my expenses on the same salary, including the furniture loan, a car loan, and a student loan. I ate at Mom's at least once a week so I could get a bit of free food, read to my grandmother, and watch TV (I had neither a TV nor a record player, only a radio).

The above sounds very Spartan, but it was good training for later. I didn't earn enough to qualify for a credit card (MasterCard and Visa were very new at the time), and the only one I had was Exxon.

I never moved back home, even when unemployed. Nor did I ever borrow from my parents (who didn't have a lot to spare, anyway).

I think it is much harder for young people to move out today, both because some costs exist which didn't then (you pretty much have to have Internet, a computer, and a cell phone, none free - even TV costs money now), and because RENT in particular is just astronomical. And jobs, particularly full-time jobs, let alone positions with benefits, are hard to find. My son is 21, works part-time at a minimum-wage job, and will probably be living with me for at least 2 more years; he couldn't possibly live on his own, and maybe not with a roommate, either; no apartment would rent to someone who earns so little. It's a different world. Even if my son could move out, I'd still be providing his health insurance, which is usually not available to part-timers, and not really affordable to many young full-timers. I hope it will be easier for Max and Jackie than many American youth. Yet I remind myself and my son often that we have all we NEED, which is what matters.

Marianne Rankin

The $160 rent I mentioned was per month.

suzanne dunaway

I left a note on the dining room table explaining that I could not fit in with the Houston, Texas society life I grew up in and that I was headed for Berkeley!! Then I left with three friends in the middle of the night and headed west toward the U of Berkeley and the magic, pain and glory of the sixties-seventies revolutions. I never looked back. (Well, I did not cut off my family, but it was a shock to them, that's for sure; but think about this: it was their upbringing that gave me adventursome spirit and a wish to be only myself and follow dreams. As Peanut's Schultz says, "Be yourself--all the rest are taken."

suzanne dunaway

I paid 50 bucks a month in S Francisco for an apartment with a view of all three bridges at the top of Vallejo St in hippy North Beach. A dream....Then 50 a month in Berkeley in a house by Maybeck that was long and skinny, like a rairoad car but beautifully built.

Karen Girondel

Tanguy, from the eponymous 2001 film, is a 28 year old who lives at home with his parents who wish their nest were finally empty! A fun film to watch and practice French at the same time!


On dit plutot :"un trou de memoire", je crois...


I left home when I married one month after college at age 21. My only roommates were those I shared with in college dorms.

Our first home was one side of a duplex and the rent was probably about $75 a month. ? I remember it had a fireplace which we never had when I was growing up. It also had a "guest bed" that resided inside a closet in the dining room, of all places!


How old were you when you left home? I was married at 23yrs.
What was your first pad / apartment / home like? My future husband and I bought a house one month before the wedding. I moved in after the wedding.

How much was your rent? (if you feel like sharing...) The cost of our first home was the same as a mid priced car today! And we needed to put 10% down! We have never been rich, but we are very frugal people.

Any other memories about your first chez soi or home of your own? It wasn't our dream home, but it was a good move for us. We moved five years later.

We raised six children, and two came back for about 8yrs. It was too long, but circumstances prevailed. When they moved out, at different times, we were all much happier. They live in different areas. We get along very well, but they needed their own space. And quite frankly, so did we.

Mara in Wisconsin

My older daughter bounced home from college due to health issues. We didn't charge rent, but made it clear that she was to return to college and finish when things were under control again. She graduated in 2010, and moved out that fall. Recently she admitted "I have learned that 'being an independent adult' is more restrictive than I had imagined." Time and money are both limiting factors, of course, when you have to travel to a laundromat and cook EVERY DAY! Although she did take a turn at cooking when she was at home. She has a roommate; their rent is more than our (four bedrooms, 2.5 baths) mortgage! It's good to see her when she comes here (1.5 hour drive), and yet we're glad she's not a constant presence.

Mara in Wisconsin

On the Celtic connection of the name Tanguy:
Dictionnaire genealogique des familles canadiennes : depuis la fondation de la colonie jusqu'a nos jours par Cyprien Tanguay is a major source for those doing French-Canadian family history. Many colonists were from Brittany, Normandy and other sea-faring regions, so no doubt the source of this surname is the same.

Sandra McHugh

I live in Quebc and I laughed so much when I saw that you referred to the Tanguy expression that originated in Quebec. It is so common that no one would even question what it means, even if you don't know the TV character. We also use it to describe those adult children who live at home and expect their parents to do all the washing and cleaning. And yes, I have accused my children of being Tanguys ....

Bert Pigg

Hi Kristin:

I got my first place of my own when I was 19. I was a hick from Dallas who was accepted to drama school in London, and I rented a bed-sit for 14 pounds a week (it was 1978). My bed sit was in Putney and, to this day, is absolutely the skeeviest place I ever lived. The bathroom (down the hall) was so gross, I never used it. I took all my showers at school. There was an old war pensioner who lived on the floor above me. He must have been dying of emphysema, as he would hack day and night to such an extent I thought he would cough up a lung. My next door neighbor was an alcoholic Scotsman who would pass out every night while playing the first side of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon. It must have been the only album he owned and his record player had to have had an automatic replay feature as Side One would drone on and on incessantly. I've never been able to listen to the album since. I only lived there for about 3 months, and, while it was gross and disgusting, I have fond memories of the young man I was and the good times I had during my 3 years in London.


I truly enjoyed the playfulness of your post! You had a great mix of life episodes with french language to match. Tres amusant! But.... have you put un grand projet on the backburner?
It will all come together, as you are writing and entertaining and that mix lasts an eternity!

Cate Salenger

I left home at the first chance I got which was for college. 18, $75 a month, utilities included, for a one bedroom studio with no kitchen facilities. I never went back despite my mother pleading with me from time to time.


Having been raised by my grandparents (they raised 12 children and then 3 of us). My grandmother died when I was 10 and my grandfather when I was a Senior in HS. I left home at 18, moving from near Brownsburg, Indiana to Temple Terrace, Florida to attend a 2 yr Jr college there, transferred to Western KY U, in Bowling Green, KY to finish my studies (beautiful campus btw). At both colleges, I lived in dormitories. But my first apartment move was in Bowling Green, after graduation. I moved in with a friend from church, Becky, into an old house near campus. We each paid $62.50 per month for this run down, drafty apartment, lol. I didn't even have a bed, I slept on the carpeted floor upstairs. But, it was fun, we shared cooking & cleaning chores. Becky was from South Africa, so there were lots of fascinating stories for me to hear and new foods to experience when it was her turn to cook. I also got my first car while living here, a yellow Ford Pinto that lived up to its color, unfortunately, lol. The shocks were bad, so it bounced around town. Becky didn't know how to drive, so she bought a new used car and we took a "training" trip to the Smokey Mountains. Picture me in the curvy roads of the park, yelling at Becky to drive on the "right" side of the road (she was used to the left side in S Africa)! I'm ever so grateful I survived the trip!

Yvette  (Antioch, CA)

I stayed home until I was 20. I signed up for the Marine Corps to be independent. I got married in the service to one of my classmates, who was in the Navy. Our first home was $650/mo. (1988) It was an apartment in Escondido, CA. (2 bedr/2 bath)

My family is all living with me, now. My daughters are going to Jr. college, along with my son-in-law (ex-Navy). My mother and grandson (3 yrs old) live here, too. And it's true that retirement savings won't be growing much. We are shopping for a car this weekend. In 2006 a used car was $3000. Today's comparison is $6000. But I'm glad to be able to see my grandson grow up these past two years. It's a blessing!

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