Reflections on Notre-Dame by Andrea Cherkerzian Dennigan ‘96
When I was about ten years old, I wrote on the basement wall of our family home: “Andrea is dying to go to Paris” inscribed inside a heart. I’m not sure where this obsession with France comes from but I’d like to think it’s because my Armenian ancestors stopped in Marseille before finally arriving in America.
At age eighteen, Winsor and The Saltonstall Family enabled me to fulfill my childhood dream to embark on an adventure of a lifetime by studying at the Sorbonne and living with the Du Pasquier family upon Winsor graduation.
Specifically, Notre Dame represents, in all of its historic beauty, one of the first moments I had in Paris. I arrived in the city with open arms and great expectations and, indeed, Paris exceeded everything I could’ve wished for. It is tragic what happened to the beautiful church, but the memories will never be forgotten in our hearts. As a Saltonstall Scholar, it is my wish to pass on the beauty of the French culture and language.
Twenty-three years later, I teach my two young boys French and tell them my stories of Paris, including of Notre Dame. By doing this, I am continuing to honor the monument in all of its glory in the heart of Paris.