In 1961, William went to France for professional development. In 1963, he took a sabbatical from teaching and moved his immediate family to to Montpellier, France for a year of culture immersion and continued education.
At the time, his children were 8 (Bill), 6 (Patricia) and 4 (Nora).
"As kids, that's just the way life was: 'Oh, we're going to France,'" Patricia said. "The airplane was super cool; we flew Air France. For the first couple of months, we lived right on the Mediterranean; we went to the beach every day."
At school, Patricia, who was supposed to be in second grade, was placed in first grade, where she learned to write in script, which was taught earlier than cursive was taught in the United States, she said.
In addition, all three children went to three different schools, Patricia said. They couldn't lean on each other, but they could, and did, develop an inner strength, she added.
"My brother became fluent in French in a month," Patricia said.
Patricia said her parents had high expectations for the children in terms of school grades and behavior. She recalled the story William liked to tell about a particular restaurant meal when the family was in Europe.
"The table nearby had kids that were misbehaving," Patricia said. "The parents looked over at our table and made an announcement: 'Why can't the kids behave like the Americans?'"
Patricia did have a best friend in France, Yvonne. Years later the family returned to France for the wedding of one of their friends from that time, she said.
In addition to absorbing the language and the culture, the year in France developed a resiliency in the three siblings and an ability to handle any new situation, Patricia said.
"My parents exposed us to experience most people don't get to experience as kids." Patricia said.