In the beginning…

Family portrait in the Bahamas - 1970.

Family portrait in the Bahamas – 1970.

So let’s really begin at the beginning, shall we!?!?! Here I am as a baby, in a lovely family portait that also includes my two older sisters, our parents and our maternal grandmother whom we called “Oma”. Oma is the German word for Grandmother, which is perfect because that’s who she was and where she lived. None of us three girls ever really learned to speak much German, but we loved our Oma! I cannot speak for my sisters, but I know I wish I could have known her better. The only times I ever met her in person was when this photo was taken (in the Bahamas) and again, less than two years later, when my sisters and I went to Berlin with our mother for a short visit. Being seven and eight years older than me, they might be able to actually remember these visits, but I cannot remember much before age five. So my only memories of Oma come from these photos and family stories!

For years I’ve been trying to encourage my mother to write down the amazing stories of HER childhood, many of which naturally revolve around Oma. My mother was the youngest of TEN children (five boys and five girls) and is now the only one of those children still living. Many of my cousins and their children are now wanting to have these stories, too, so with their added pressure my mother is finally starting to write down her memories of growing up in Berlin before, during and after WWII – up until her leaving Germany in 1958.

Everyone mistakenly thinks that since my father was in the US Navy that he travelled to Germany and brought back a young “haus frau”. This is entirely untrue! Well, okay, so she was German and young, but they didn’t meet in Germany! My mother immigrated to Canada as a nanny, a career for which she had been trained. While working in Canada, she made a trip down to Texas to visit her sister, Helga, who had married a very handsome American. It was here, in Texas, while visiting Helga that my parents met and fell in love, but that’s her story to tell, so when she writes it maybe she’ll let me share it with y’all…

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