Thursday, February 15, 2018

One week to Chemnitz

In six days I’ll be headed to Chemnitz to join the city and my extended family in honoring my grandfather, Carl, and my father, Thomas at the opening of an art exhibit in their name and in their honor. (

I’ll be headed to Germany with my 86-year-old aunt Ulli (the only living child of Carl), her husband, Michael, my two cousins, Claudia and Marcus, a cousin once removed, Marina (who will come from London), and two of my kids, Peter and Kat.  

I plan to blog daily from Chemnitz, assuming there will be time, and I’m testing out a new blogging app (BlogTouch Pro) on my phone. (Obviously. How do I make copy clickable to a link? That link above should be hidden in the copy! Grrrr!)

We have been provided with a jam-packed schedule for the trip. I love how even our down time is scheduled! So German!

The guy who I’ve been coordinating with, Rico, just notified me that he’ll actually be picking us all up at the Berlin airport and driving us in our own mini-bus to Chemnitz, a two and a half hour drive. Thank goodness! That will really make a difference, especially for Ulli and Michael. 

The invitation to Chemnitz came directly from the mayor, who we will meet on Friday. We wanted to bring a gift, but what do you bring for the mayor of a city with a premier art museum? We wanted to bring something unique and beautiful and artsy, but not the same sort of art that is the focus of the museum’s exhibits. We will present her with this glass vase, created by a Northwest glass artist. 

Do you like it? Peter says he sees trees in a forest and a starry sky. (I’m gonna assume that the mayor of Chemnitz doesn’t read my blog. A pretty safe assumption, I think!)

Silly as this is, one of my own biggest concerns about the trip is the incessant nerve and muscle pain in my hip and leg. It’s been getting worse since summer and we still don’t know what’s causing it. I’ve been going to PT, but that seems to make it flare up. My monthly 90-minute spa massage, though, seems to really help, so I’ll be having one of those the day before our 13-hour flight. I’ll also be loading up on Aleve and/or Tylenol PM. Wish me luck!

I’ve been spending quite a bit of time re-reading both my dad’s two books about his childhood in Chemnitz and hundreds of pages of translations (by Ulli!) of family letters, from 1905 to 1983. 

Ulli’s latest effort has been translating my dad’s journal of his trip across the Pacific in 1953, when he emigrated to America, searched for a job and a place to live in the Bay Area, and then sent for my mom and my older brother, Michael, a few months later. That translation should arrive in the mail today. (Thanks, Ulli!) 

While not all this information will be useful for our upcoming trip, it’ll all be useful for the book I’ll be writing - which is terrifying me, I should add! Why, I’m not sure. It just feels absolutely daunting right now. I’m hoping this trip will help to clarify the focus and prompt me to just dive in. Dad’s already done all the research and written so much! See?

Maybe that’s what feels so daunting - how much he’s already done. 

And, oh... THIS:

Thanks, Dad. No pressure, right?! 🤪

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1 comment:

Margaret said...

I absolutely love the vase; it is unique and beautifully colored and designed. I hope it's a fabulous and fascinating trip, and that it gives you the inspiration to plug forward with the book. Such an important project!

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