Conundrum: COVID19 and Books

I’m telling you nothing new regarding the rules about ‘Stay home. Wash your hands.’ These are the two that have been in my thoughts every single hour of every single day for the last two months. I even dream about it. Staying home has never been a problem for me. I have been so busy writing the long-awaited sequel to my book “We Don’t Talk About That.” When this ‘house arrest’ order came, I thought, “Now is the time to finish “Flight Into The Unknown.” Now I have the time! Well, my friends, I always had the time, but I was procrastinating. Now I had no reason to wait.

My problem was I had too much material. The “Flight Into The Unknown” would have been overbooked, overloaded with too many stories, too much baggage. What to leave out? Many months ago, Lyn Alexander, my editor, had suggested making my memoir into a series. “Series are in,” she had told me. “Divide what you have in this ‘Flight’ manuscript and write a third book.” I was fighting it.

“I don’t want to write a third book!”

During COVID lockdown, I finished book # 2 at a perfect place. There was no way I could avoid writing a third book. My final thought was,  “it’s time to set sail for life after 50.” And it became the title for book # 3, the last book in my memoir series “The Nine Lives of Gila.” Did I have nine lives? Probably more, but cats were on my mind. Cats are supposed to have nine lives. And I had lived through and survived frightening experiences just like a cat.

COVID influenced me to create the following series, “The Nine Lives of Gila.”

Book 1: “We Don’t Talk About That,” the amazing story of survival WWII and its aftermath.
Book 2: “Flight Into The Unknown,” smartly manipulated into marrying an unknown penfriend and emigrate to Canada.
Book 3: “Set Sail for Life After 50.” Realizing that age is just a number, I saw the world as my oyster.

The first two books are available as e-books and printed books on all well-known internet outlets. Expect book #3 to make an appearance in September 2020. E-books are no problem, but COVID is at fault that Canadians only have limited access to get the printed versions from – I haven’t even seen my own “Flight” in print. The ‘powers that be’ have closed the borders for large shipments of books printed in the USA. Book shops & libraries are closed. When is the restriction lifted? No idea. It depends on how COVID develops. Books are not essential!

What? Not essential? Books are very essential for locked-down people. It’s helpful to read, to avoid going crazy, to immerse ourselves in reading stories of another life.


“Flight Into The Unknown” – now published

Are you curious about an adventure into the Great Unknown? On another continent? Experience a different life with its ups and downs? Step into the shoes of an immigrant with limited knowledge of English! You will struggle to get to know the penfriend you married and deal with a lovable little stepdaughter. You will realize it wasn’t all gold that glitters, and what you innocently believed was the truth was not. Was to fulfill yourself a dream the biggest mistake of your life? Sorry, sweety, you can’t change anything; all your earthly goods are in a big container on a ship sailing the high seas to arrive in three months. You make the best of your situation, face many challenges, move from the beautiful first landing to another city – you cry more than ever in your life but grow stronger in mind and soul. You learn to pray from all your heart – and hope that one day, you get your reward.

The above is just the beginning of my story in “Flight Into The Unknown.” You’ll laugh, and you’ll cry with me; you’ll be at my side when I’m thinking of suicide. You’ll be amazed by how I build a successful business. You will be afraid of my wellbeing after an experience at a New Years’ party. Yes, it changed everything once more – but I’ll let you read about that yourself.

I finally finished the sequel to my WWII memoir, “We Don’t Talk About That.” Many of you have waited patiently, sent me occasional reminders. Thank you! The first appearance of my new ‘baby’ is in the form of an e-book since a printed version will still take some time.

The ebook is now available from Smashwords (Kobo, Kindle Nook and PDF), Kobo (Kobo only) and Kindle (Kindle only). Hard copies are available from Amazon.

My new Baby is about to make an Entrance in Spring 2020

Who said that it takes nine months to get a baby? It depends… Mine is developing for two-and-a-half years already and still isn’t quite ready to enter the reader’s world! But soon – I hope it makes an appearance in one of the earlier months of 2020. If all the helpers like doctors, nurses and midwives, sorry, I mean proofreaders, editors and publishers play along, I’ll be thrilled to let it go to experience the attention and tender love of many old and new friends.
I’ll not longer keep my secret! I’ll let you take a peek what my baby is going to look like, I even share its name with you.

Tell me how you like it! Should it come in triplets, quadruplets or even quintuplets? (with many multiplications…)  So that you can have one of them? Oh, you need to know that it is the young sister of my book-baby boy “We Don’t Talk About That” – and it will reveal all the secrets of what happened after that one grew up!

“Too Bad It’s Canada” #Vancouver #Travel #Cruising #Alaska

Leaving Vancouver bound for Alaska

Leaving Vancouver bound for Alaska

One of the most beautiful cities in the world is Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. It offers everything: Mild winters but high enough mountains for the ski aficionado and situated only about 100 miles from the town of Whistler, the world renowned ski resort. If you like water sports you can hardly ask for a more beautiful setting than Vancouver at the blue Pacific Ocean for any type of boating, sailing, paddling, windsurfing, motor boating, fishing and even swimming for many months of the year. You like ships or bigger boats better? Vancouver has one of the most gorgeous inner harbours and it hosts many cruise ships during the summer months since it is the gateway to the Inside Passage to Alaska. I can hardly imagine what Captain Cook or Captain Vancouver must have thought or felt when they happened upon this hidden gem in the late 18th century. All along the coastline were old growth forests, wildlife was plentiful and it surely didn’t take long for settlements to appear after it was discovered.

Fishing and saw mills and later the arrival of the railway brought hundreds of new settlers. Many warehouses were built. The story of “Gassy Jack” is interesting, (use your imagination why “gassy”) a Yorkshire man who noticed that there was no saloon available for the many men. He was smart enough to offer to start one. With eager help from all the thirsty men it was built and finished within a few days (some say overnight) and soon women appeared to add to the fun. The area, originally known as Granville was later renamed after “Gassy Jack” and became “Gastown”. Nowhere could you find more drinking establishments than right here. Over the years and as the city of Vancouver grew this area went into decline and the warehouses were falling into disrepair. Squatters, hippies and many artists had taken over. The area with its architecturally interesting old buildings was rescued in the 1970s when Gastown was declared the most historic part of Vancouver. Tourists now flock to Gastown because of its quaint artsy flavour and it surely is one of the most beautiful parts of Vancouver. It has many wonderful and diverse restaurants and “Gassy Jack’s” statue is a popular photo stop.


Glacier calving


River of ice

Here you will also find the beautiful new cruise ship harbour. An unforgettable sight is the castoff of cruise ships and their sailing towards the Lions Gate Bridge, along the rich and very beautiful coastline of West Vancouver, the most expensive real estate and retirement place in Canada. You sail through a dreamland as the ship finds its way through the Salish Sea (formerly Strait of Georgia) with majestic snow cupped mountains turning red with the sunset. Unbelievably lovely views greet you while passing Haida Gwaii, a collection of islands at the most westerly point on the North Coast of British Columbia. Most people are more familiar with these islands originally known as the Queen Charlotte Islands.

I was asked once if I knew how God created certain areas on planet Earth. “Tell me”, I replied and this is how it was explained: The different tribes had to line up and when it was their turn they were asked to give their reasons for what kind of land and how much they wanted. Most of them got what they asked for within reason. The Bavarians where very shy and stayed behind until there was hardly any land left when God noticed them. “You get a beautiful region” God told them, “because you are not pushy and you waited. I kept the best for last” and therefore Bavaria and adjoining Switzerland is so beautiful that many people travel there just to see the landscapes and experience the joyful and friendly people who live there. If you ask me I must say that the British Columbia coastline and a sailing experience from Vancouver to Alaska is an incredible feast for the eyes. God must have had more surprises to hand out because this area is wider, grander and totally unforgettable. Yes, somewhat different because of the Pacific Ocean and it has nothing of the dollhouse prettiness you find in Bavaria or Switzerland. Once,

Inside Passage

Inside Passage

coming back from Alaska I was sitting at a large table indoors with a group of about eight or ten Americans. Everybody had admired the glaciers and the calving when large sections of ice break off and crash into the sea. They couldn’t believe the mighty ice rivers and the ice floats with some seals or seabirds on them and as we were floating on the still waters along the shores of the Queen Charlotte Islands one of the gentlemen said, while dreamily watching the ever increasing loveliness of the surroundings:

”I can’t believe how beautiful this all is. Too bad it’s Canada.”

E – Day?

No idea what “E – Day” is? For me it is a very special day in my life: Emigration Day.

I stepped into an airplane at the Frankfurt Airport. The plane lifted off and I saw the fields of Germany, seemingly laid out with a giant ruler getting smaller and smaller, the many little villages with the steepled church towers always right in the middle of the surrounding houses placed like toys out of building box. I saw the endless grey line of the autobahn reaching out through endless forests finally giving way to floating clouds and then there was nothing. We were “above it all”. Above the Earth! I had left the land of my ancestors. I was on the way to a new life on a different continent. I had escaped all my troubles I thought… it is hard if not impossible to explain my feelings: Weightless? Floating like a feather in the wind? It had nothing to do with FLYING; – no, I am talking about myself: my emotions, my feelings, even my physical body. When I drifted off into semi-consciousness I had an out-of-body experience: I had no emotions, I had no feelings and I had no physical body. I looked down on myself sitting in the airplane, eyes closed with a crease between the eyebrows, hands folded in the lap. And all of a sudden a desperate small voice woke me up and brought me back to reality:

“Lady, can I have a drink?” My new daughter. The four year old girl cuddled next to me knew I did not speak much English. She did not want to wake up her “new mommy”. She was calling the stewardess. She couldn’t sleep. Her dad was waiting in Vancouver. She was like a pebble on the beach, rolled around by wind and waves. Her mother had left her. For several years she had lived with her dad in room and board, for the last nearly three months with her paternal grandparents in Germany. When I came “home” on weekends she wouldn’t let go of my hand. She was desperate for motherly love and would proudly introduce me to anybody who would stop by: “My new mommy!”

It was December 13th 1963. We had a refueling stop at the International Airport Keflavik in Reykjavik, Iceland. Holding her little hand tightly in mine we seemed the only people on the planet. We walked the frozen grassy airfield for almost an hour before they let us board again and start the long flight over the green fields and mountains of Iceland and the white icy peaks of Greenland occasionally visible through the clouds towards North America.

That’s when I learned that Iceland is green and Greenland is white! I have looked down on Greenland many times thereafter and it always irked me that I did not see any green…but incredibly beautiful white peaks and valleys. It’s hard to believe that there are places for people to live and to make a living.

Lions Gate cropped

Heading towards Lions Gate Bridge

December 14th: One of the most special days of my life: Arrival in Canada. The Vancouver International Airport was a shadow of what it is today. The Vancouver Hotel was the highest building in the city. Halfway across the Lions Gate Bridge my Canadian Husband asked me: “Well? What do you think?”

“This place is too beautiful to live here. It is more like a holiday destination…”

He laughed: “You better get used to it. This is where you will live.” Five months later we moved to Winnipeg and while driving through the Rockies my little girl asked her dad: “Why is mom crying so much?”

And now my friends, I have given away part of the sequel to “We Don’t Talk About That”!

It would make sense for you to read that book to understand WHAT it was that drove me to leave the land of my ancestors, marry a pen friend and have an ‘instant family’. At one point in “We Don’t Talk About That” I had told my parents: “That’s what I want, I want ‘later children’because neighbours had mentioned that ‘later children’ are easier when my third sister was born. She had been such a quiet, easy going kid.

E – Day. 14th of December is my E-Day. It’s also my second sister’s birthday and the birthday of her first daughter, – but for me, the 14th of December is and always will be like