For my mom, moving to Germany was a move back to her past. She was born in the town of Schneidemuhl, which after WWII became part of Poland. Her parents and one uncle and aunt moved to Canada after WWI and settled in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. My mom moved when she was very little, like 4 years old. So her memories of Germany were few. She still spoke very good German. Her family spoke Hoch Deutsch (high German), like the Queen's English, or Parisian French. When we moved to Germany, the area we lived in had their own unique dialects and as well, technology had advanced considerably so even the words she knew had changed.
|Visiting Mom's family in Northern Germany|
My brother, John, was just very little the first time we went to Dusseldorf to see Uncle Reinholt and Aunt Hilde. As a youngster he was somewhat fussy about what he ate and drank. He was fond of Tang, that was pretty well all he drank, besides water. At our first breakfast there, they tried to offer him so many things to drink; milk with the cream still floating in the top, sproudle wasser. My parents countered by saying he would drink water. Shocked looks about that as water was only for washing in. It was quite funny. We were also amazed at how much they fed us. We were used to our three square meals a day. It seemed that there was always a meal of some sort being prepared during our visit; breakfast of cakes and coffee, mid -morning snack, a cold lunch, more snacks before supper, then supper and maybe coffee in the evening with cakes. It was quite amazing. We heard stories about the war, refreshed memories of my Mom's family.
Our visit to Northern Germany was as fruitful. There were many more family living there and we had the opportunity to visit with all of them. The big business in that area was the Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg and many of my mom's family worked there. We visited (I will apologise here as I can't remember all of the names) Heinrich's (I'm pretty sure that was his name) farm, where Mom got attacked by one of the geese. It stuck its head into the handle of her purse, causing much uproar. Heinrich's wife grabbed the goose by the head, swung it around a few times and then tossed it across the yard. Hilarious!!
There were other members of the family who lived in Southern Germany and we visited them and they came to see up in Lahr as well. I think that was one of the special times for my Mom, this rare opportunity to find out about her roots.
We had a few visitors while we were in Germany, my cousin Sheila and Uncle Lawrence and Aunt Irma came over to visit. We travelled all over with seven of us squeezed into my dad's VW 1600. Poor John spent much of the time in the wheel well of the front passenger seat or sitting on the hump between the driver and front passenger. My brother Rick and the two Daves, his friends Dave Morrow and Dave Jowett, newly minted officers in the Canadian Forces came over for a couple of weeks as well. For some reason we managed to find room for all these visitors in our three bedroom apartment. I'm not sure where everybody slept but there always seemed to be room. Rick and the Daves rented a little car and we toured around Europe with them, driving through snow-covered Alps, checking out Garmish and Bertchesgaden. We used to watch Dave Morrow in the car behind us, snapping photos with his Instamatic camera. We'd be waving frantically at him, he'd be waving back. He took so many photos of the inside of his camera cap, it wasn't funny.. Well, actually, it was quite funny. We had a great time. The young officers used to spend evenings playing bridge with my Dad and Swede Olsen, our neighbour. I don't think they one too many games; Dad and Swede were pretty cagey players.
|Jim Nabeta (probably our best friend)|
|One of Jim Nabeta's photos (hand painted)|
|The only photo of Cyprus that turned out|
|I managed to find a book store in Nicosia|
|The Laughing Whale Campsite, Barcelona|
|The Happy campers and our Canadian friends|
Well, there you go, the latest instalment. As you can see, we tried to make the most of our 3 and half years in Germany. It was a wonderful experience, one that I treasure. Next entry, I'll continue with our life in Lahr. Enjoy your Easter weekend!