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“I took my revenge on all those who called me a moron”

“As soon as we have time, with my father, we go to the recycling centers to pick up copper and find treasures. I can show you the two printers I found last time, there’s a Canon and an HP, and they work fine. And then, the copper, the scrap dealer takes 6.30 euros per kilo, so when you multiply that by 100, it’s a good ticket. As a child, we went there as a family, with my mother and my two brothers. I have great memories of it. We had dirty hands, we found lots of things, we were very happy. We weren’t ashamed, no. And then it allowed to fill the fridge. Once, we had saved so much that we were even able to buy a second car! The neighbors thought we were rich. Not at all, when we were hungry, we went to the supermarket bins. My mother didn’t work, she took care of us. My father was a worker in the metallurgy, just next door, in Liernais, the factory opposite the Rousseau service station. But his salary did not sustain us.

As soon as they have the time, Olivier Demès and his father go to the recycling centers to pick up copper and find “treasures”, which they resell.

“The flower is renewal and the end of a life”

It was at school that it was hard. I couldn’t follow. In elementary school, my mistress was terrible. She gave me big slaps, she pulled my ears. I remember one time when she took both her hands and slapped both of my cheeks really hard at the same time. She had hurt me so much. She ended up giving me some tests because she still realized there was a problem. I was very late. I was placed in a medico-psycho-pedagogical establishment. A kind of pension with psychologists. I was 12 years old. I was good. Nobody scolded me. They listened to me and tried to understand. I had a bus that dropped me off twice a week, Wednesdays and Fridays, and my parents often came to see me in their old, dark blue Peugeot 405. She was classy. I was too proud.

Visiting his parents for the weekend in the first days of the year 2022, Olivier Demès takes the opportunity to share a cake with the family.

I then went to a medical-educational institute. There, it was harder with the other students, I remember a girl who had slammed the door on my fingers. But hey, I got used to these humiliations, and I learned to defend myself. But what I learned above all was a trade: that of horticultural market gardener. I had done a lot of workshops: masonry, carpentry, ironing, cooking. But taking care of the flowers, that’s what I liked. I love their beauty. The flower is renewal and the end of a life.

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