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By Lisa Cirieco-Ohlman

Marianne GuntherMy parents were friends with Marianne and Karl Gunther many years ago. I have been visiting Marianne at the Résidence Bon Séjour in Versoix for a few years now and am inspired by her peps and dynamic personality! She has a razor sharp memory (I am very jealous of that) and she doesn’t miss a trick.

I was quite amazed when I found out that she had published a book, My Geneva Repertory, and asked her if I could see a copy. This 275-page book is, in fact, a compilation of all the writings Marianne has produced since the early 70s when she was about 60 years-old! I started reading her tales of living in the 70s and 80s in Geneva, reminiscing at the way these memories came flooding back to me. I moved here in 1972, when Geneva was a sleepy town! Things have come such a long way since then!

Many of the articles were written for The Courier magazine, published by the American Women’s Club (now known as the American International Women’s Club). Marianne recounts the best place to get hosiery repairs (remaillage), where to get handbag handles remedied, jewelry mended, and elbow patches sewn on. This is truly a historical bible for the area! Many of these places have either gone out of business as they were too specialized or because the bigger shops have gobbled them up.

Marianne speaks of her children and grandchildren in a tender way. She explains how her husband was brought here for a temporary job and how they stayed on for years. She tells of her happiness and sorrows, the friends she made and the friends she lost, the scenery of the country and how it made her feel. One chapter explains in great detail her jogging itinerary with her dog and all the places and people she met along that path. The descriptions are so realistic that if you close your eyes you can smell the morning dew hanging off the blades of grass and see the sun peeking between two houses. You hold your breath as she begs her dog not to bark at the neighbor’s dog and sigh with relief when they get past.

Marianne was an active member of the Writers Workshop at the American Women's Club for over twenty-five years. She then joined the Writers Workshop at the English Language Library. Wherever she went, she encouraged others along their creative path. A similar group is the Geneva Writer’s Group which is a very dynamic; who encourage English-language creative writers of all levels, and was founded in 1993.

My Geneva Repertory is not for sale but has been printed in small quantity for Marianne to give out to her friends and family. What a great legacy and inspiration she has left behind. Well done Marianne, you are an encouragement to us all. Let us know when you write another book!