When I was reading Lawrence’s accounts of her time in Senlis in Chapter 2, I noticed that the name “Senlis” felt somehow familiar to me. I couldn’t remember where I heard it. Suddenly, I remembered that it was mentioned in a documentary about the crash of Turkish Airlines Flight 981 in 1974 (I watch a lot of documentaries about airplane crashes when I’m bored). The flight crashed in the forests of Ermenonville just a few minutes after takeoff from Paris-Orly Airport, which is just south of Senlis. Relatives and friends were brought to a church in Senlis to identify their loved one’s belongings. A British journalist who was at the church stated that “one of the saddest sights [he’d] ever seen was in [that] church.”
Even though this wasn’t a wartime event and took place well after the Great War, it made me think about how we’ve talked about how physical destruction connects with emotional upheaval this semester. Lawrence mentions “ravaging” and “ruin” in the chapter, and how the people who live there will never be the same again. Those experiences are etched in their memories forever, just like the memories of the church will always stick with the journalist. It’s mind blowing to me how one place experienced that amount of devastation in that period of time.
For anyone who’s interested in the documentary, it’s called “Behind Closed Doors.” It was recently taken down on YouTube due to copyright (no surprise there), but I think it’s been uploaded in its entirety on FaceBook.