Home > Everyday Life > This Coke is on Me, Tom Peadon.

This Coke is on Me, Tom Peadon.

Today is not a happy thought. I am sadden to share the news that my long time French professor at the Alliance Française de Philadelphie, Tom Peadon, died last week.  He was a hallmark at the Alliance, a presence always felt at every event hosted there.  I remember fondly of my first class at the Alliance.   Tom came in with his bottle of Coca Cola and patiently allowed us to stammer through our first phrases to explain what we did the day before.  That Coca Cola bottle became his signature as he never had a class without one.  So much so that the one time he forget his Coke, he literally stopped class and ran out to the kitchen to grab one.  To this day, Gina Moore (another student and now life long friend) and I look at each and laugh over Tom’s benign addiction.  It is a treasured moment etched into our memories guaranteed to produce a smile on our faces.  Gina and I followed his classes for several years thereafter until we graduated to the advanced levels.  His tenure at the Alliance lasted for 30 years.

You order a 'Coca' in France

You order a 'Coca' in France

So how do I begin to celebrate his life? For one, I am drinking a can of Coca as I write today’s blog.  The French specifically say Coca (two syllables) for this beverage so don’t order a Coke or a Coca Cola as you will only receive blank stares. The other way to celebrate his life is to talk about music – he loved music.  It was because of Tom that I was introduced to Zap Mama, a Belgian world music group and actually attended their concert in Philadelphia along with Les Nubians.  His postings on his Facebook page during his last weeks were always of some music video clips of all genres.  So what happened in Nice recently that was musical?  Le Prom Party! 😀

Le Prom Party in Nice

Le Prom Party in Nice

Linguistically Americans instantly think of high school, immature drama, uncomfortable dresses and the fear of beer with such a party label. In Nice, it was just a catchy phrase to get everyone out.  The city of Nice hosted several Prom Parties over the summer and last Saturday was the last one.  The city shuts down the famous Promenade des Anglais to cars and makes it pedestrian only for the evening.  Since the French are good at shortening their words, it is only logical that they shorten the word promenade to prom’ for the festivities.  They literally drive out several stages throughout the area and each stage had a different type of band playing music.  (I kid you not, these stages had four wheels and steering wheel.)  There was even performances walking and dancing down the street.  Then suddenly all the music stopped on queue and the street lights went dark.  An announcer came over the loud-speaker and told us to get ready for a tour around the world and immediately the fireworks went off.  These fireworks were brilliantly timed to a specific soundtrack.  As the music changed reflecting a different corner of the world, so did the fireworks.  Of course there was more than one American rock ‘n roll segment in the presentation. 😉  As I finished my dinner with some American students at the Grand École here in Nice, we were in awe of what was happening above our heads.  I do have to say this presentation won out over the Bastille Day fireworks that I slightly complained about in an earlier post.

All in all, I have to say this Prom Party was absolutely fantastic.  It was a great way to put closure on summer since the temperature is starting to drop and the tourists are all gone.  More importantly it was an awesome way to remember Tom.

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Categories: Everyday Life
  1. M.Baker
    3 September 2010 at 7:30 am

    It is so good to know about some of your past life in the states. So sorry we didn’t meet many of these friends.

  2. Bret Peaden
    29 July 2012 at 5:05 am

    Thanks so much for your post about my brother Tom. I meant to write to you much sooner.

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