Sunday, October 25, 2009

Opa’s Magical Bookshelf

This bookshelf stands next to the bed in Opa and Lou’s guest room. 

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Had I not opened the first photo album… and the second… and the third… and the twentieth, I might have gotten some much-needed sleep this weekend.

Instead, I stayed up till the wee hours on all three nights of my visit, transported to another time and place with each photo, exploring my family’s past – from the very distant past to the not so distant past.  With no scanner available, I could only take photos of the photos, but now I have them, and they already feel priceless.

First I explored photo albums filled with the results of Mom’s detailed exploration into her genealogy.  There are a hundreds pages in that album; here are just a few:

Mom’s family coat of arms:

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Mom’s family made hats in Straubing, Germany.  This is from the celebration of 225 years.  Now that’s what I call a family business!

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Apparently, my mother’s family had to prove their Aryan descent in 1936.  This is that “proof.” 

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My great-grandfather left Straubing and opened a hat shop in Traunstein, Bavaria, Germany -- Mom’s home town.

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This is that hat store late in the 19th century.

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Mom’s father, Max, took over the business early in the 20th century.

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There’s now a “dollar store” at this location. How sad.

This is my grandfather, Max, the body builder!

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This is the only photo I know of with both my maternal grandmother and my maternal grandfather:

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And then there’s Dad’s family albums!

This is my paternal grandmother and paternal grandfather and their house in Chemnitz:

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My grandmother was married to a part-Jew.   That served to protect the family, to some extent, from Nazi persecution.  That’s my dad, in the middle. (Pretty dang cute, eh?)

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And just because I can’t resist, here’s another photo of my dad as a little kid.  I wish I’d known him then!

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I never met “Tante Adele,” my father’s favorite aunt, but word has it that she had piercing sky blue eyes.  You can almost see the color in this black & white photo!

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Dad’s bookshelf wasn’t only filled with old photos of people I never met, they were also filled with people I know and love:  Like Mom and Dad:

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And my favorite – a picture I’d never seen before:

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There were photos of my parents with me that I’d totally forgotten about:

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Some with my parents and their grandchildren:

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Some of Tom and me as young parents:

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And quite a few of our kids that I’d completely forgotten about:

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I need to completely ignore the magical bookshelf tonight because the airport shuttle will arrive just a few short hours from now, at 4 AM, to take me away from Ashland, where I finally began to really relax today and back to my current reality, which is so very far away from relaxing!

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1 comment:

Goofball said...

what a treasure bookstore

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