Sunday, March 09, 2008

Google Images Meme

It was between doing this meme or filling out paperwork for my new insurance plan and updating the kids' FAFSA information.

Hey, it's Sunday and I'll do that other stuff later...

Instructions: For each of the following, search Google Images and post your favorite pic.

Where I grew up:
I had no idea, as I was growing up, what a unique time and place in history I was experiencing first-hand. My mom taught at Cal, my brother was arrested for helping to build People's Park, and the city practically shut down every fourth Friday in protest of the Vietnam War. Growing up in Berkeley in the 60's has shaped everything about me, from my unique form of teen rebellion (I became a straight-laced, goody-two-shoes teenager) to my life-long liberal politics and activist mindset.

Where I live now:
In the summer, these things are everywhere around here! Last summer, as we were having a barbecue on our deck, one floated right past us! I'd absolutely love -- and would be mortally terrified -- to ride in one! (Note to self: this might be a good thing for Tom and I to do for our upcoming 25th anniversary. Look into it!)

My favorite place:
Ruhpolding, a small town just a few miles from my mother's hometown of Traunstein in the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, is my favorite place on earth -- so far. I have yet to experience places like Greece and Croatia and Maldives and I desperately want to visit those place! (Note to self: buy a lottery ticket today.)

My name:
Yes, there was a Hurricane Carol (in August, 1954)! Sure, I could have chosen some schmaltzy Christmas Carol photo, but why would I do that when I could chose a hurricane that even had an accompanying storm surge?! Somehow that just works better for me.

My grandmother's name (or, in this case, my grandmothers' names):
Irmgard, the name on this house, was the name of my paternal grandmother whom I greatly admire, even though I never had the chance to meet her. Irmgard, a gentile, married my grandfather Carl, a Jew, in the early 1920s in Germany, having no idea what the future would bring to her family as World War II drew closer. In the period of ten years, my father's family went from being a wealthy, privileged German banker's family to not having enough to eat or a home for themselves (since refugees lived in every room of their home -- which I envision to look much like the home in the photo). My grandmother, who had begun to suffer from excruciating headaches, was well aware that she was the only reason that her Jewish husband and "mischling" children had not been taken away, and when she died of a brain tumor in 1944, all hell broke loose for my father, his siblings and his father. Eventually my father found his way out of a concentration camp (he didn't exactly escape, per se, but was "allowed to leave" from the warehouse he'd been helping to build when the warehouse owner was taken for smuggling silk stockings, cigarettes and chocolate), made his way home by traveling at night, found his childhood home, the one that looked like the picture, bombed and his father's body in the ruins. All this happened when he was only 16, making him a tragically young orphan. More of the story is here.

This photo came up when I searched Google images for "Mathilde," my mother's mother's name. I never met Mathilde but have always been told that she was quite the feisty, independent woman! In the 20's and 30's, she was one of Traunstein's business owners, running the city's big sports store. She was also quite a prominent athlete, and is wearing tennis clothes or a 20's style bathing suit or mountain climbing gear in many of the photos I've seen of her. Always the rule-breaker (my mom was definitely her daughter!), she died because she defied an air raid siren, insisting that she had to go into her garden to cut some lettuce. What a dummy.

My favorite food:
Mashed potatoes. Note to self: make these for dinner tonight.

My favorite drink:
Mmmmmmm... a fruit smoothie!

My favorite smell:
Plumeria. Hawaii. Plumeria permeating the air in Hawaii.

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kim-d said...

Oh my gosh, Carol, Berkeley in the '60s???? The stories you could tell...

This was such an interesting Meme; the story of your father's family is heartbreaking. And then there's Mathilde and the lettuce, which gives new meaning to the word "stubborn." HAHA!

And now I must go and make myself a smoothie...Mmmmm...

She-She C said...

My favorite place(s), my favorite drink(s) and my favorite smell (Jasmine)are all Island related. It's a toss up as to whether St. Lucia's Bounty or Jamaica's Appleton Rum get top billing. I may need a return trip to both to be certain. LOL

Jen said...

Amazing images and stories. I'm so sorry for the heartache that your father went through.

Incredible post, Carol.

swenglishexpat said...

Great meme, Carol. Fascinating story about your grandmother! I might do the meme myself now. Ciao!

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