Friday, July 24, 2009

Berchtesgaden, The Salt Mines and Travels

And you must remember going to Berchestgaden with Grandmom and Grandpop. I'm not sure if this was before we went to Grandmom's ancestral place, during or later. It seems to me that it was the same trip. Wells were in Berchestgaden the same time and one night we went out for dinner with them. There was an Oompah Band and the group members came out into the audience and got different people to come up and dance. I think Verne Wells was picked. It was hilarious with all the band in lederhosen and the women in their country dresses slapping their thighs and dancing around. I'm thinking that Grandpop was picked too. I recall he was perspiring and laughing. From Berchtesgaden, we went over to Munich and up to Hitler's Retreat at the top of the mountain. Remember the buses that drove up. One would go up and another down. There was just one place that they could pass each other. And we'll never forget the Salt Mines, the train, the sliding board that Grandmom on laughing so hard, wet her pants and wouldn't slide no more. Augsburg, Austria was next and we visited the catacombs under a church. I think we were there just the one day. And finally, we did King Ludwig's Castle, drove through Oberamagau and on to Chiemsee. After we drove back to Rhein Main and a couple days later, we took off again to Belgium and Holland. In Holland, we visited the Minature Village at the Hague, to Ann Frank's house and to Vollendam where all the residents dressed in their native costumes. And how about all those windmills? Do you remember the hotel in Amsterdam where the boys, Dad & Granpop slept in one room and we slept in another and the breakfast was huge with cold cuts, hard boiled eggs and coffee. We stopped in eat again in Brussels. I reminded you that I had limited French so should be able to translate to get some food. We no sooner sat down in the restaurant and the waiter comes over and says "What will it be, folks?" Haha! It seems he had worked on a cruise ship that spent time in New York City. At that same place, we met that English couple, Elsie & Syd Smith and kept up a correspondce with them for a while. In fact, I exchanged Silver Dollars for Churchill coins at one time. Later on, Syd died and Elsie emigrated to Australia with their daughter and I lost touch with her.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

An Unexpected Pleasure

Last April I received a reminder from the dentist for a check up. One thing let to the other and I finally made an appointment. Only, I didn't go to my regular dentist but chose another. Bill and Patty had been urging me to go to their dentist and the location was closer to home. With much dreaded anticipation, I entered the office and was pleasantly surprised. The hygenist was VERY friendly, VERY gentle and VERY knowledgable. All the equipment was upscale. Dr. Emily Stein was young (isn't everyone?) but I liked her immediately. My teeth (what's left of them) were x-rayed, cleaned and examined. All in all, a good experience. So on the way home, I stopped and treated myself to a Gelati!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chapter Two

Before we left for Berlin, Dad cautioned me about a nightclub called "Race's" (Sp.) and of course, I told him that we weren't going on that kind of trip. Our Chaplin, Father Hinckley flew into Templehof and met us at our hotel. The following day, we went to the conference and that afternoon, Father Hinckley informed us that he's going to take us out on the town to this neat nightclub called Race's! Well! What could we say? So we polished ourselves up and went out. Race's was a huge dance hall with the orchestra at one end and water fountains keeping in time with the music. Booths were scattered all around the hall and on tiers so you could look up or down to see other patrons. We were on the first level. In all the booths were telephones and ours rang constantly from other patrons asking us to dance. I did dance with a turbaned fellow and others from all over. It was like the United Nations. Our most popular girl was one who was about 8 months pregnant! I guess she had a glow about her and everyone wanted to share in it. The waiter kept filling our glasses up and when we saw the bill, we realized we were drinking champagne instead of wine. Fr. Hinckley had to bail us out. We finally left there dog-tired and half looped. One of the girls fell up the steps to the hotel and we helped her up laughing all the way.

The following day, we took a bus trip to East Berlin. As soon as we got to Checkpoint Charlie, a Russian interpreter/guide got on. Right off, he told us that we couldn't take pictures or he would confiscate our cameras. We were not to speak to any natives or give them any cigarettes. Of course, someone on the bus took pictures anyway and somehow got away with it. There were a lot of pock-marked buildings and hardly anyone on the streets. We were only taken to a park where there was a statue of Mother Russia. I'm sure we saw other sights but they were in controlled areas. We saw a lot of soldiers, jeeps, etc. When we finally got back to the check point, Russian soldiers went over the bottom of the bus with mirrors to make sure no unhappy citizens joined us. Needless to say, we were relieved and happy to get back to the West.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Some More Memories....

Our time at Rhein-Main was to end in 1967 but along with our friends, decided to extend another year. We didn't make anymore major trips but on the weekends, would follow the Special Service Bus to places around the countryside. Taking our lunch, walking in the woods and villages gave us a different slant of country life in a foreign country.

Do you remember when we went to Heidelberg with the Girl Scouts? Another time to the Capital at Bann? One of my memorable trips involved the Catholic Chaplin. If you recall, Joan Wells and I belonged to the Catholic Women of the Chapel. Our Chaplin heard of a conference in Berlin and thought we would like to go. I think six of us made the trip. Dad took me to Frankfurt to catch the train. While in the train station, I saw some GIs and commented to Dad that one of them looked like a guy we knew from home. Dad poo-pooed it but I went over for a closer look and sure enough I was right so we had a mini-get-together catching up. How cool is that seeing someone from home? We finally boarded the train and it was a "sleeper" with four bunks to a tiny room. Of course, we didn't do much sleeping. In the morning, it was crazy trying to get dressed in this rocking train. Just try putting on panty hose and bumping into each other while doing it! Then, we noticed that the train was slowing down and watched it move to a side track. To our surprise (although it shouldn't have been), Russian soldiers came in and checked our passports. It seemed we were in the East German sector and had to pass through there to West Germany. The soldiers were very polite but it was still intimidating. As this is a long story, I'll continue it in the next chapter. LOL!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Empty House

Everyone has left me to go home. Wow! It was just tremendous having company, seeing Elle along with Gabe, Sophia and Aidan and of course, Abby Alex, Becca & Bill who I see more. I enjoyed Ocean City with part of my family and would have been in heaven if the rest had shown up. On Sunday, other friends popped in to wish Jane a Happy Birthday. She had a suspicion as we always celebrate her birthday in some fashion. Later on in the week, we celebrated Kristinn's and Rich's. We are definitely into birthdays here. And today, we sent Jane & Rich on their way back to Dutch Harbor. Safe journey, kids!

This evening, I joined Patty to see Bill's softball game. It was his last one for the season and I thought I might be his lucky charm but it was not to be. But it was fun and I enjoyed being there. Coming home, I stopped at Rita's Water Ice for a Gelati. Yum!

So, the house is empty and I have to get back in some kind of exercise routine. Before she left, Jane and I walked around town and she took pictures of houses she liked and houses she lived in. But the walking was a slower pace and I really have to start MOVING!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

And Then...

In 1966, Grandmom and Grandpop came to visit. We had just purchased a new Nash Rambler station wagon so were all set to go on a road trip. Grandmom wanted to visit her grandparents' birth place in Marienweiher, Germany. After much researching as it was a small village, we found it on a Deutsch road map. A friend of Joe's, Rob (Mike) Michauk came with us. He was born in Hamburg and his family came to the states when he was a little boy so was fluent in German. Dad had to get clearance as it was just 5 kilometers from the East German border. The scenery was breathtaking. We drove over this hill and looking down saw the village sitting there between the hills. The odd thing about it was that I had in my possession a
postcard with a picture of it that was sent from one brother to the other and dated 1907 and the oddity was that the village looked just the same. It gave me goose bumps. Marienweiher is a farming community with the pigs and geese walking through. When we drove down, the men of Marien. came over and admired the car, wanting to look at the engine, etc. We felt like celebrities. I guess you just didn't see many new cars around there. Mike located a Max Ott who owned a gasthause and even though it was past lunch, fixed us some bratwurst,bread and of course, beer. Through interpretation, we learned that he was related to Grandmom Brumbach (Zaph) and there was just one other brother who was ill and lived in another area. There is a story about the town and its name but I won't go into it now. We were shown the family homestead, the grave of the first Brumbach who was also mayor of the town and the church. It was a wonderful day.