We started to learn French when I was in grade seven. Hard language to learn when all the prairie parents went on about it is being shoved down our throats. Our school went through French teachers like tissues. Some broke down, others disappeared until one especially tough, highly catholic, old harpy came and remained there for many years terrorizing students. She made proclamations to us about what we would or wouldn't be or even if we would be.
Before the old harridan started, some bit of French did manage to soak into my brain. I practised reading food labels. I thought French was romantic and in novels it was very sophisticated. One day my mother was cooking and I was doing my homework nearby so she told me to feed the cats. The canned cat food was kept in a cupboard above the fridge so I manoeuvred a chair into our narrow kitchen. Deciding on a flavour, I mulled over the cans. One of the cans had the French side facing towards me, I read it out loud: Poisson, I repeated, practising my accent.
I took the can out and stepped off the chair only to be met with my mother smacking me with a wooden spoon. Don't you swear at me she screamed. I tried to say I was just reading the French, but that was not flying with her and I was then called a liar. So ended my desire to learn French.