Raymond and Huguette celebrate their 60 years of marriage in the town hall of Menton

Sixty years (and four months) after their union, Raymond and Huguette Varotto found the wedding hall. On Saturday, under the auspices of the Menton couple painted by Jean Cocteau between 1957 and 1958, husband and wife celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary. In memory of December 26, 1961, at 11:10 o’clock, when Jean Rondelli had made their couple official before the law.

The memories of this wedding organized the day after the Christmas holidays are mixed with the memories of a hectic past for Raymond, born on 2 June 1935 in Nice.

“I’ll be 87 years old. I lived through the war with the Boche in Alto Pessicart. My father almost passed it. He had been reported, but someone got in the way. He was part of the Passive Defense”, He explains. Indicating that his family settled in Castagnins, Menton, around 1943-1944. This is where Raymond will start setting up a daycare with his father, a horticulturist. But…

“He was walking in front of my house”

“I was called to Algeria in March 1956, when snow fell in Menton”, He explains. Pulling out of an album full of photos of his military years, a small snapshot of him in the Biovès gardens covered in white gold.

Raymond joins the 3rd battalion of Zouaves (from the Berber Zwava, soldier of a French infantry corps in Africa., Ed). Forced to remain in place for two years, changing cities regularly, the Mentonnais mainly carries out train escorting missions and opening the platforms at night. He becomes a radio operator.

While browsing through period photos, Raymond encounters one that shows him surrounded by other uniformed men in front of three dead boars. He claims to have gone hunting with the pilot of the ghost plane that bombed Nice in 1944; Today I regret not having thought of asking him questions.

“In January 1957 I had amoebas and was hospitalized. In February I had a shrapnel on my head. I almost got married there, but I received a letter from my father asking me to come back because my mother was worried. Io was finally released in March 1958. “

Upon his return to Menton, Raymond took over his father’s daycare. And he meets his future wife, Huguette Cardone – born on 11 July 1941 – who then lives a little higher up. “He regularly walked in front of my house “Raimondo smiles.

The wedding will wait, though. Following a floral red thread, the Mentonesi left for Paris to work in a fabric workshop for the creation of artificial flowers.

Eventually he was offered to become a representative of women’s lingerie. “I’ve managed four departments here. Then I returned to the City of Menton, to the green spaces “, underlines the one who will realize in these years the stay of the orchids at the Palais de l’Europe. And he will hold several terms of president within orchidophile associations at various scales.

“I did several orchid baptisms when we found a new variety.” Sometimes giving the name of the city of Menton, sometimes that of the city of Nice, sometimes that of Baron de Rothschild or Prince Rainier.

“One day, an orchid friend in Guadeloupe informed me that someone wanted to set up a nursery there. We went there. I was fired after eight months, so we bought something with my wife.” Before settling in Pézenas (Hérault), ten years later. Then to return to Menton.

Raymond recalls being president of the French Souvenir in the town of Lemon and one of the founding members of the UNC.

“I made sure that steles were erected for the harki in Pézenas and Sospel. It’s normal, they fought for France …”, highlights the multi-medal military. He is also very proud of his Zénith d’or, a medal – one could not be more civilized – for volunteering.

“For me it has always been first and foremost work. But Huguette understood that. It helped me a lot. She was assistant treasurer during the Orchid Festival, she did the labels and catalogs when we set up the nursery in Guadeloupe. And then. . he put up with me! “

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