My Mother’s Family
Grandmother and Grandfather – my mother’s parents were a very unlikely couple. He was stern, introverted, always sat thinking in his beloved pergola, his chin on the cane he held in his hands. The pergola was attached to the very old city wall that ran through his gardens. Whenever we visited, always on Sundays, that’s where he could be found. Grandma would send us to say “hi” to him, but he never smiled, just looked at us. The pergola was totally covered with green climbers. I remember the sun shining through the leaves and as a child with an active imagination I often thought he was some kind of a saint because of the sun giving him a halo.
Grandmother on the other hand was outgoing. She cooked the best jam I ever tasted. I loved it with a passion. Black currants and plums cooked for a long time. She knew that it was the only thing I wanted when visiting. When the rest of the guests had coffee and cake I would get her home baked bread with this jam! My mouth would start to water before we even left home. She always served it with a big smile to me and stroked my hair. That was as far as expressions or gestures of love ever went.
I do not have a photo of all Grandma’s children, my aunts and the only uncle. In this photo taken sometime in the early 1940’s we have my mother Elsbeth (right) with her sisters Johanna (centre) and Emmi (left). The youngest sister Elisabeth (the princess) was always off somewhere and Carl made himself scarce by finding work in the barns.
Why do I get the impression that Grandpa was, in today’s vernacular, “a miserable old bugger”?
Well, – just look at his face! Grandma was like a “Queen” she had a great presence. Did he feel “overpowered”? Couldn’t have been that. He married her because she had a son, was spoiled goods, BUT she brought many Goldmark with her and he could buy more land..her life would be a story in itself. He could “only” make girls…maybe that’s it.