Last Friday, we met at Lyli Herse’s house outside of Paris for cake and cider to celebrate two birthdays: René Herse was born on this day in 1908, and Gilbert Bulté, one of Herse’s riders, celebrated his 92nd birthday!
“Monsieur Gilbert” (on the right) remains in excellent health, and it was great to see him again. Three other “anciens pilotes” also joined the celebration. (Robert Limouzi is on the left, Jean-Marie Comte in the middle, and Pierre Nédéllec is not in the photo.)
There was another reason for the gathering: I presented the very first René Herse book to Lyli Herse. When posing for the photo above, everybody looked pretty serious, but as soon as they started leafing through the book, they were all smiles.
Again and again, they exclaimed: “Look, that is so-and-so, remember her/him?” and “Do you remember that event? We really did well there!” The surprise when they discovered themselves in full-page photographs was truly priceless. Lyli was almost in tears – it was nice to see how proud she is of her family’s accomplishments.
Christophe Courbou, who designed the book’s layout, also got his first look at the finished product. I was glad when he declared: “The printer did an excellent job.”
It was a memorable day. One doesn’t write and publish a book like this to make money. It takes years of full-time work, and the cost of photography and printing are very high. Writing this book is all about wanting to share a wonderful story. It’s also a way to reciprocate the generous friendship of the old randonneurs. Bringing such joy to people’s lives makes all the hard work worth while.