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The Spy Who Babysat Me

When we lived in Morocco, my dad worked out of the American embassy. He taught electricity to the Arabs in Arabic.  When we first got there, we stayed a long time in the Hotel Ritz in Rabat. It was really interesting standing on the balcony watching the people walk by at the hotel. Everything was new and interesting, and the people were dressed in jalavas, both men and women. Jelavas were long robes with a hood. The women wore veils, and the men often didn’t put the hood of their jelava up, but wore a turban or a fez.  We could spot the French because they wore western style clothing. It was in the 1960’s, so the French women were wearing dresses and heals.  We could even see the sook (the local market) from our balcony at the Ritz.  My dad was looking for a place for us to live, and he came back one day telling us about a beautiful house with a sunken living room and a swimming pool. It was a villa, and it was just like a mansion. However, the price was too good, and the people at the embassy told him not to take it because they were sure the Arabs trying to rent it to him were spies.  You see, there was a war going on between Morocco and Algeria.  It wasn’t in Rabat, but before we left Morocco, we heard that if it got any closer, they would have to evacuate us, but it never happened.

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Eventually, my dad found a villa for us to live in, and we moved out of Rabat into Tamara, a village outside of Rabat.  There was a staff driver from the embassy who used to be the boxing champion of Morocco. My dad used to also be a boxer, and he liked what the guy could do, so he got my brother boxing lessons with him.  He drove us everywhere in a limousine.  My mother had a gardener and a fatima (Arab maid) too.  We also had a lady that baby sat with us sometimes.  Her name was Lee.  She reminded me of my dad’s sister.  She was from Algeria, but she lived in Morocco.  She had red hair, and she was pretty.  Usually, she came to our house to baby sit with us.  She was a secretary at the American embassy.

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I didn’t know they had begun suspecting her of being a spy. After all, I was a little girl, so they didn’t tell me everything. One day, my parents went into Rabat and they left me with my brother and sister at Lee’s house.  I was actually surprised when I went into her house. It was on a busy city street.  There was no living room. She lived in one big room with her mother and some other people I didn’t know who were.  They all slept in old metal beds all in the same room.  They each had night stands and chests of drawers.  They also had kitchen tables and chairs in the middle of the room.  At the part of the room that faced the street, there was a huge window.  You could tell it was actually built to be a store, but they were living in this big store room.

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While I was there, Lee said she had to go outside.  She told us to stay inside. I watched her through the window.  A guy in a white car pulled up. He was wearing western style clothing like the Frenchmen.  He was young and had black hair.  He didn’t get out of his car, but she met him at his car and stood there and talked to him for a few minutes, and then she came back into her house. I asked her who the guy was.  She told me that it was her cousin, Gigi.

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When my parents picked me up, they were asking about my time with Lee.  I told her that her cousin Gigi had shown up and described what I saw out the window.  They were shocked!  Gigi showing up confirmed it.  Lee was a spy from Algeria.  They told me that Gigi was her contact, not her cousin!   It seemed there were spies everywhere, even baby sitters! I was shocked!

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