Journal December 21-23, 1962

December 21—Having reached another monthiversary in Rennes, I’m looking forward to enjoying a fine manifestation of French hospitality, over the next few days. We’re invited to lunch at the Desquines’ today; tomorrow we go to the Perrots’ for gauffres (waffles, and then some); Sunday we’ll be the guests of President Crié of Le Mans, and then Monday night we’ll celebrate Christmas with the Leroys. Sister Grohan, moreover, has nearly finished the sweater she’s been knitting for me: I should have it before we leave town tomorrow. Everybody’s so kind here, and I’m very thankful.

We did have one striking experience this week. Last Saturday, [223] a man we know came to ask if anybody would like to buy a typewriter, for he sells them: it’s how he makes his living. We couldn’t buy anything from him, but we asked whether he might be aware of meeting-halls that might fill our needs. I’d be surprised, said he, if I couldn’t find something interesting for you; I’m on that road every day. Well, he’s back Monday noon, saying that among his clients one notary might well have what we’re looking for. Then he showed us an item that wasn’t big enough, but said that the notary might be able to set us up to rent a hall belonging to the Hôtel Parisien, but that we’d better hurry, so as to be the first in line. Acting on this information, I called President Hinckley that same evening, asking him what I could do if it appeared that quick action was called for, and he authorized me to sign the lease, if it were to appear that we’d blow [224] a good deal otherwise!

So, the next day Elder Mitton and I went to see the notary, Maître Guerrault, in the little village of Ercé-près-Liffré, about twenty kilometers outside Rennes. Turns out that we really didn’t have to hurry so fast, for the idea of renting out the hall hadn’t yet occurred to the owner: it was just the notary’s idea. But if it turns out that the owner agrees with him, my long search could finally be over! We won’t know anything until January 20.

The SAM of the Rennes branch held its first dance on Wednesday, and it was a big hit. A large crowd filled the Lecoq-Gadby hall, and everybody had fun, if one can trust to observation.

Tomorrow, we’re off to Le Mans again. I hope we find things in better condition, this time.
December 23—[225] This weekend’s travels take us only to Le Mans, where we’ve never yet visited the regular worship services officially. Le Mans has a history of difficulties, and we were a bit concerned and therefore wanted to get first-hand knowledge of the situation.

So, we left Rennes at 3:00, so as to get to Le Mans before nightfall. Assembled the district and branch presidencies; as we met, we observed a definite discouragement among the leaders in this branch, which used to be the strongest in the West. To make matters worse, most of the members lack diligence in their callings, so that the branch organization is incomplete.

Robins arrived from Le Mans a little before us and started working for the success of the branch Christmas party, which traditionally packs the facility to capacity. The vieux champignon and I didn’t see much of it, though: we were upstairs talking. Seems he’s having a hard time getting along with his new companion, and he wanted some counsel. Hope I was able to provide something useful.

The visit was satisfactory; I believe [226] that we managed to encourage Brothers Crié and Tessier. Not very good attendance at the morning meetings today, perhaps partly because of the city’s Christmas celebration, but the hall was packed for Sacrament meeting. Over fifty came, including quite a few investigators and some members who hadn’t taken part for a long time.
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