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Springtime in Paris! A first, for Duane and Leola, and they anticipated a famously-beautiful experience. In 1968, alas, riots and a general strike turned the golden scene upside-down and left them in great anxiety. The phones didn’t work for weeks, leaving them unable to communicate with their three hundred missionaries, scattered around France. No gasoline: they couldn’t even go visit missionaries or members. Utilities intermittent at best. They worried in Paris; we read the news and worried, back in the States.

The missionaries, thank the Lord and by His providence, managed quite well: a lot of inconvenience, but nobody got hurt. Beyond that fact, we’ve never actually encountered any faith-promoting stories from the episode. But the folks marinated in anxiety and impotence, in the Seizième.
The disorders ran their course. The lights went on, and the phone started to work. Leola called her children to let us know they were OK. Then the phone jingled in Mission Headquarters: it was branch president Mailhé in Pau, a community about 850 kilometers to the south that President Hart had opened to missionary work shortly before the Andersons arrived. Two branch members were mad at each other, and the congregation was choosing up sides. What was the very green presiding officer to do, please, President? His answer, of course, now that they could obtain “essence” (gasoline): We’ll be right there.

Actually, the trip took two days. With Duane’s missionary assistant, Elder W Mitt Romney, and another staff member, Elder David Wood, they piled into the Mission’s Citroën and headed south. Stayed the night in Bordeaux, where they dined at the home of André Salarnier, a local Church member and a good friend. The next morning, they picked up Bertin and Suzanne Farel, seasoned members and friends, expecting that they’d be able to help to smooth over what we used to call “une histoire.” That morning, before they headed for Pau, somebody snapped this last photo of Duane and Leola.
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