Can anyone please tell me what happened to the old colonial house on Severn Road called Normandie. It used to be on Number 22 Severn Road, right next to Number 20.
"Normandie", 22 Severn Road, belonged to very good friends of my parents, Norma and Bertie Rasmussen. It was a spectacular house and I was often a guest there as a child. The last time I visited Norma and Bertie was in 1988. As far as I remember, it was also a haunted house. Apparently, the ghost of the former owner - who had committed suicide - walked around the attic at night. I believe the house has now been pulled down - such a pity.
Apologies, but the house was not owned by Bertie and Norma. It was owned by Coy a French gentleman who was a good friend of my father. We lived at 16 Severn Road. I believe that Coy took Bertie and Norma in when they fled Shanghai because of the Japanese invasion. They then just all kept living together. When Coy died Norma inherited the house. I mean no disrespect to Norma or Bertie, Norma was kind of a grandmother to me.
I believe you are right. I also knew Coy very well - I used to go over and have French lessons with him and I knew that the three of them had lived together for years. I adored Norma. The last time I saw her was when she was living in Italy with her daughter Kiki but unfortunately I do not have any contact any more. They were all very good freinds of my parents and I knew the house well. Would love to see Norma again.
I am glad that you also have such lovely memories. It was such a lovely house and a shame it was destroyed. After all these years I still live on the Peak and go past the driveway occasionally. The strange thing is that I have never met anyone else who remembers Coy. I still struggle to spell his last name as my French is so bad.
I will tell you a funny story about Coy. My father was about 45 and Coy 80. My father asked him "When do you stop worrying about your kids?" And Coy said "At 50". My father replied "Well I only have 5 more years!" to which Coy said "Not when you are 50 but when the children are 50!"
As you may know, it is a difficult question as to whether Coy ever had a son. He was a kind man and I think he did his best.
Lucky you still living on the Peak. I now live in Bremen in Germany with my German husband. The last time I saw Coy was in 1988 when I went to Hong Kong for a visit with my husband. It was also the last time I visited "Normandie". They still had that fabulous grand piano in the sitting room and the view, unforgettable to both sides! I used to walk to "Normandie" every Saturday morning for my French lessons. We lived at 86 Peak Road in front of the Peak Police Station at the beginning of Gough Hill Road. At that time, I was at school at St.Pauls Convent School, by the way, recommended by Norma!
P.S. I know about the difficult question of Coy having a son - only a feeling
It did and didn't end a happy tale.
Wish I knew more but this forum does not seem the appropriate place to discuss these things - too private.
Happy to talk. May I have your email?
By the way, "Normandie" was in fact haunted by the former owner. Norma confirmed this to me and, although this sounds crazy, I also had a strange exprience there. It was during my French lessons, the door handle went down although nobody was there and the dog, who was sitting in front of the door, started to growl. As a child, I was always a little afraid of the house. One of the last photos taken of my dad before he died of a stroke in 1966 was of the two of us standing in the garden of "Normandie".
email: A.Howell@gmx.net - look forward to hearing from you.
would still love to hear from you, Nick, as regards Normandie. I was very fond of Norma.
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