Tag Archives: Germany

Treasures from Germany~Part 7

11 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

In this final Treasures from Germany series, I want to share some precious items we found in Germany. Once again, as with the Kaiser porcelain, we had not heard of Swarovski crystal until we returned to Germany for our second tour of duty there (1980-1983). We were enthralled with the beauty of it! And while each piece was relatively inexpensive at our U.S. base exchange, we found them to be almost half price at the Canadian exchange in Baden Solingen. We happened to be there once with Fred’s parents, and our daughters, and I had to borrow some Deutchmarks from my Father-in-law in order to purchase the ones I wanted. And I did pay him back!

I actually purchased some for myself, as well as duplicates for our girls, so they each have a set of their own. I suppose they can distribute ours to our grandchildren, when the time comes.

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I found some lotus blossom candle holders that I really like, but I can’t use U.S. candles in them. They are made for European candles, which are thinner-based. So they sit on a shelf and look pretty. That’s okay with me.

 

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When we were in Germany, we traveled quite a bit. One of the places we went, was Innsbruck, Austria. The Swarovski factory is there, and we thought to pick up some “seconds.” However, when we asked about “seconds,” the saleslady informed us that they had NO “seconds.” If there is a flaw in the product, they just re-fire it and make something new. Well, shucks! That really put a damper on our outing!

Fred’s parents came to visit us in Germany each year we were there. During our first tour, Fred’s Dad was involved with the gathering of Baptists in Bertchgarden, in Bavaria, and we joined them there. We all stayed in the General Walker Hotel at the top of a small mountain at the end of a steep drive. The large facility was delightful (formerly used by the Nazi’s – named the Platterhof). There were restaurants and shops within the main building.

 

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Credit Google search

 

Fred’s mother found this beautiful crystal three-sided obelisk. Each side has a different Christian symbol carved on it. Here they are:

 

Of course, I was taken with the obelisk as well, and purchased one for myself. When Fred’s mother died, I inherited her obelisk, which I have given to one of our daughters. When I die, the other daughter will get mine. I think it’s beautiful.

While we probably have many other “treasures” from Germany, these that I have shared with you are the ones most prominent in our memory. I hope you have enjoyed our journey. It was been a pleasure for me to see these treasures through new eyes, and has brought back the memory of acquiring each one.

God has been so gracious to us allowing us to live in that wonderful country for a total of six years. It was a terrific experience, and one I never dreamed I would have. God is good.

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected

if it is received with thanksgiving,

 

1 Timothy 4:4

 

Treasures From Germany~Part 5

27 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

In previous postings, I mentioned that one of our very favorite cities in Germany to visit was Rothenburg. It is a walled city, that has existed by name since 1170 A.D. While we didn’t know all the Nazi history of Rothenburg, we still loved the city. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

In March 1945 in World War II, German soldiers were stationed in Rothenburg to defend it. On March 31, bombs were dropped over Rothenburg by 16 planes, killing 37 people and destroying 306 houses, six public buildings, nine watchtowers, and over 2,000 feet (610 m) of the wall. The U.S. Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy knew about the historic importance and beauty of Rothenburg, so he ordered US Army General Jacob L. Devers not to use artillery in taking Rothenburg. Battalion commander Frank Burke (Medal of Honor) ordered six soldiers of the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division to march into Rothenburg on a three-hour mission and negotiate the surrender of the town….When stopped by a German soldier, Private Lichey, who spoke fluent German and served as the group’s translator, held up a white flag and explained, “We are representatives of our division commander. We bring you his offer to spare the city of Rothenburg from shelling and bombing if you agree not to defend it. We have been given three hours to get this message to you. If we haven’t returned to our lines by 1800 hours, the town will be bombed and shelled to the ground.” The local military commander Major Thömmes gave up the town, ignoring the order of Hitler for all towns to fight to the end and thereby saving it from total destruction by artillery. American troops of the 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Division occupied the town on April 17, 1945, and in November 1948, McCloy was named Honorable Protectorate of Rothenburg. After the war, the residents of the city quickly repaired the bombing damage. Donations for the rebuilding were received from all over the world. The rebuilt walls feature commemorative bricks with donor names. Traffic-reducing measures were put in place in a significant portion of Rothenburg to increase safety and accommodate tourism.

Since our days in Wiesbaden (1967-1970), we had visited Rothenburg, and collected etchings that we liked, and had them framed. Here are some of them.

 

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Here are some recent pictures of Rothenburg that we enjoy:

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

Treasures From Germany~Part 2

30 Oct

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 

Another musing about our time in Germany. We had such a great time, and enjoyed just everything there. The food was one of the best things! We never had a bad meal, even if we stopped at a Gasthaus in a small town we were traveling through. I remember we went to sight-see in one town, but when it came time to eat, we left the town and went to a Gasthaus in a smaller town down the road.

 

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The Schwartzer Adler Gasthaus – Courtesy Google search

 

Our girls didn’t understand our reasoning, until I explained to them:   If the food in the larger, tourist town isn’t too good, well, the patrons are just tourists and won’t be back. However, if the food in the Gasthaus, which is patronized by the locals, isn’t good, then the local people won’t be back, and the Gasthaus will close down. So the food has to be good. And it was VERY good!

We had several favorite restaurants within both Wiesbaden and Heidelberg that we frequented. I’m told that our very favorite in Heidelberg is no longer an eatery – it is now a bank! Noooooo! Unfortunately, we haven’t been back to see it ourselves, but our Karen and her husband, Brian, have, and gave us the bad news. Shucks!

Here are some of the treasures we picked up while in Germany. I’m not sure I remember where I purchased this candle, but I have enjoyed it for many years. While it is a candle, and “decorated with grapes and vines,” it is also painted with silver. Most unique.

 

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When we lived in Wiesbaden, our first apartment was on Albrecht Dürerstrasse (Albrecht Dürer Street). When we found this etching of the “Praying Hands” – and since we knew the story behind the hands, we purchased it. It hangs on a short wall in our entryway, along with a scripture verse, and reminds us of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

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Here’s an abbreviated version of the “Praying Hands:”

Albrecht Dürer was one of 18 children. He and his brother both wanted to be artists, but knew their father couldn’t pay for their studies. They flipped a coin – the winner would go to art school, the loser would work in the mines to support the winner. Albrecht won. His work at the academy was an immediate sensation. Albert worked the mines for four years to support Albrecht.

 Following his return to Nürnberg, and a festive dinner, Albrecht raised a toast to his brother and said that, now it was Albert’s turn to study. With tears in his eyes, Albert showed his hands that had been so damaged working in the mines, that he was unable to even hold a paint brush, and so unable to study art. It was “too late” for him.

 Tradition has it that Albrecht’s drawing of the “Praying Hands” are those of his beloved brother in prayer.

There are other versions of this story, but this one touches my heart.

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

The Door

13 Dec

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

Many years ago, I came upon something my Father had saved. It was an “etching” of an ancient doorway, with lantern overhead to light the way. There was a description attached to it, explaining where and what the door was all about. Somehow, I have misplaced that etching – every once in a while I come across it, but can’t seem to find it when I’m looking for it.

As I recall, that door was somewhere in the ruins of an English castle or cathedral. However, Fred and I have found another “door” that reminds us of that original one from Daddy. We just happened upon it while we were visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany many years ago.

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That is one of our favorite places to visit, and we did it often while living in Germany. It is an old, medieval town, and is a walled city. One can still walk along the covered walkway at the top of the wall.

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It was built in the 1100’s. Fascinating! Any time we had visitors, we always took them to Rothenburg. Such fun!

I’m not exactly sure what there is about that door that is special to us, but we enjoy it so much. It’s tucked back, almost in an alleyway, and is rather easy to miss, unless you are looking for it.

Recently, Fred and I took a 15-day Viking River Cruise (more on that later). One of the stops we made had an excursion – a bus ride to Rothenburg! We’ve never had a guided tour before – usually we just looked around on our own. So we found out some things about Rothenburg we didn’t know. But as we followed along with our guide, we came upon “the door” again, and were so pleased to find it. We had intended to try to find it on our own again, but there it was!

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One of our favorite Christmas gifts from our daughters, are calendars for the next year, with pictures of castles or of Germany. So might imagine our delight when we turned the calendar page to December on one calendar and…..there was “The Door!” Of course the professional picture is better than ours, and we thoroughly enjoy the fact that someone else likes this door as much as we do.

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

Her First Phrase

1 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

                   JUDY

 

 

 

Our oldest daughter, Karen, was born in Germany, just two months after we arrived in country. We, of course, doted on her. The German lady who was the church nursery worker doted on her, as well. On our last trip in Europe before heading back stateside, Frau Katie stayed with Karen while we were gone. They both had such a good time together, that we weren’t missed at all.

As Karen was learning to speak/talk, we discovered that she was not only speaking English, but she had some German words mixed in there as well! Apparently Frau Katie was speaking to her in German! That was quite a revelation.

I really don’t remember Karen’s “first word” the way many children do. But I do remember her first phrase. Here’s how it came about:

My Mother came to visit us in Germany, while Karen was just 22 months old – a good time to be learning to speak. We squired Mom around as much of Europe as we could in the time she was with us, and usually took Karen with us. We had a great time together. As we would be driving along, Karen and Mom – in the back seat together – would be “conversing” together. And every now and then I would hear Mom say, “Karen, look at that flag!” We would be passing a building or house that was sporting a flag of some type, and Mom was pointing it out to her.

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Mom’s time with us came and went far too quickly, and she returned to New Mexico. We had another year of our tour in Germany, and we returned to our routine. And as we would drive here and there, we would hear Karen say, “Look at that flag!” as she saw flags on buildings, just like when her “Oma” was with us. Gave us quite a chuckle to hear her say that, with the same inflection that Mother had given the phrase.

And that is what Karen’s first phrase was. What a fun memory that is!

 

 

 

Frau Katie

30 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

 Judy Wills

Judy Wills

 

I’ve mentioned Frau Katie before (September 1, 2013), and how we came to love her as part of our family. She was such an important part of our lives when we lived in Wiesbaden, Germany.  I also mentioned in that blog, that she came to visit us when we lived in San Antonio, Texas.  We wrote many letters back and forth to arrange a time for her to visit. She also had some other friends in the States to visit, so she would be with us for one week, then she would move on to visit her other friends.  The time was set – May of 1973.

 

Frau Katie with Judy, Karen and Janet. Along the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas

Frau Katie with Judy, Karen and Janet.
Along the River Walk in San Antonio, Texas

 

Katie began asking what she could bring us from Germany – to remember our time there, as well as a remembrance from her.  I don’t remember just what I told her to bring for me – I just wanted her presence with us again.  But I distinctly remember that I flippantly told her to bring Fred “a Mercedes Benz!”

Well, she did just that!!  Isn’t it a beauty? All those moving parts…….

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Fred has had such fun with that little car, and it sits on our bedroom dresser where he/we can see it every day.  Our older grandson always enjoyed playing with it when he came to visit.  I’m sure our younger grandson will do the same. I’m not sure he’s discovered it yet.3

 

 

In spite of the fact that I didn’t really ask for anything from Katie, she brought me a lovely present anyway.  It is the 1973 Hummel plate.

 

 

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I have always enjoyed the Hummel figurines I have, but this is really special. Somewhere along the line I was told that this year’s plate (1973) had something unique about it……..but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was!

 

In any case, I have it on a easel in our dining room side board, and enjoy looking at it. And I always think of Frau Katie and her generosity when I look at it.

 

 

 

Tumbling Angels and The Leaning Tower

23 Mar

SUNDAY MEMORIES

 Judy Wills

                                                     

Judy Wills

 

I essentially grew up in one town.  Okay, I was born in Dallas, Texas, but we moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico when I was nearly four years old, so….  From that standpoint, my Mother was rather surprised that I “adjusted” so well to a military life.  Of course, that wasn’t what Fred and I had planned when we met and married, but God had other plans that were infinitely better than ours.  Fred did promise me that we would “see the world” when he proposed to me.  Little did we know how that would transpire.

But I have to say that I really enjoyed military life.  Except for my brother being in the U.S. Navy for a while, I really wasn’t exposed to military life until I met Fred – or more specifically, his family.

So it came as a bit of a surprise when he joined the Air Force.  They sent us to California, then to Germany – something beyond my wildest dreams.   I really loved being in both of those places.  I still have a fondness for California, but don’t think I would like to live there now.  But Germany………..WOW!  We enjoyed it so much that Fred requested – and was granted – a second tour there.

While we had many adventures in Germany, one of the last things we did was to take in the Oberammergau Passion Play.  Magnificent!  From there, we drove down to Italy.  We went to Venice:

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St. Marks Square (Piazza San Marco) with
St .Mark’s Campanile

We went to Florence

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St. Mary’s Cathedral

We went to Trieste where Fred’s family lived following World War 2.

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Miramare Castle in Trieste

He showed me the building where they had lived.

via Carducci #2 - they lived in the "mezzanine"

via Carducci #2 – they lived in the “mezzanine”

 

We went to Pisa and saw the Leaning Tower and the church and baptistry.  Amazing!

 We had been told about a little shop in Pisa that had some unique alabaster, marble and composition pieces, so we went to shop.  Our informants were correct – the merchandise was wonderful.  We purchased two marble lampstands.  We purchased some alabaster “fruit.”  And we purchased a set of composition tumbling angels.  I just thought they were really cute, and weren’t too expensive.  We have continued to enjoy all these things throughout all those years. 

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I continue to get tickled every time I look at – or dust – those tumbling angels.  They are just cute to see, but they always remind me of that trip we took, and that little shop in Pisa where we purchased them.  It’s a great memory.

Wiesbaden~Part3/Frau Katie

1 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

 Judy Wills

JUDY

When we were headed to Wiesbaden, West Germany in 1967, I was seven months pregnant with our first child, Karen.  It was a long flight over, and she and I were both exhausted.

At that time, the military was assigning each incoming military family a sponsor, to help with the transition from the U.S. to an international country.  Our sponsor seemed to be very helpful through letters (e-mail had not been invented yet).  When we told him we were going to stop in Albuquerque to visit with family before departing for Germany, his comment was for us to enjoy our time there – it was his home, as well.  Hmmm…. Interesting.

He met us in Frankfurt and drove us to Wiesbaden, about an hour down the road, where we checked into our hotel.  He apologized that his wife was not with him (it was about 5:30 a.m.), but they had a small child that was still asleep, and they would meet up with us that afternoon for a trip around the town, and dinner.

After a good nap and shower, we headed out to meet them.  As we got closer to the family, the wife called out my maiden name!!  Turns out, she and I had been in Rainbow Girls together in Albuquerque.  She had even been in my installation ceremony as Worthy Advisor.  Small world.  And small world, indeed, when Fred and her husband found out they had been in some classes together at the University of New Mexico!  It certainly made us feel more at home, having some ready-made friends there.

We had initially thought that we would attend the Chapel on base, but contribute to the Baptist Church in town.  Fred’s father had been an AF Chaplain, and we thought that we would continue that tradition.  However, some of the members of the church came to visit us, and convinced us to join them.  We became quite a part of that group, and never regretted that decision.  We made some life-long friends there.

Karen on Grandma Wills’ shoulder

After Karen made her appearance, we started taking her with us to church. There was a nursery there, that was manned by a lady they called Frau Katie.  I think she really took a shine to us, since I would take Karen down to the nursery and nurse her.  That was when a lot of American women were against nursing their babies, and only using bottles.  In any case, Karen became a favorite of hers.   On one of our last trips before we rotated stateside, we asked Frau Katie to stay with Karen while we were gone.  We later discovered that she was teaching Karen to speak German!  That gave Karen a head-start on German when we returned to Germany 10 years later.

Katie came to visit us when we lived in San Antonio, and we thoroughly enjoyed her visit.  When we returned to Germany 10 years later, we went to visit her in Wiesbaden.  My mother had come to visit us, and she went with us.  Katie treated us to some home-made cheese cake at an outdoor café.  I’m sure she’s gone to be with the Lord by this time.

But we will always remember Frau Katie and Wiesbaden.

Karen and Frau Katie

Karen and Frau Katie

                                                     

 

 

West Berlin Part~2

18 Aug

SUNDAY MEMORIES

 Judy Wills

JUDY

         

One of our favorite places to visit in West Berlin was the Charlottenburg Palace.

1It is very like many of the palaces and castles built by German King Ludwig, and part of it was influenced by those structures.  It is built in rococo and baroque style.  It was built in the late 1700’s.  The central area has a large domed area with a gilded nude statue of Fortune as a weather vane.  The grounds are beautifully landscaped, similar to Versailles in France.

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Within the Palace is the Charlottenburg Museum.  One of the most fascinating things in there is the original bust of Egyptian Queen Nefertiti.  We’ve always wondered why the original was in Germany and not England or even Egypt.

In the Tiergarten area of West Berlin (a large public park to the west of the city center) is the Russian Memorial.  It commemorates the 480,000 Russian war dead who died in the Battle of Berlin in April and May of 1945.  Throughout the Cold War, Soviet honor guards from the Soviet occupation zone were sent to stand watch at the memorial.  It is an impressive sight.

5Another impressive sight is the Victory Column, also in the Tiergarten area of Berlin.  It was built from 1864 to 1873 to commemorate the Prussian victory in the Prusso–Danish war in 1864.  The shaft of the monument is made of cannon captured from the enemies. The bronze figure at the top was added later, after further Prussian victories in wars against Austria (1866) and France (1870– 71); so the column marks also the unification of Germany after these victories.  It’s really beautiful.

We had heard of the Congress Halle, and walked past it when our oldest daughter 6and I were in West Berlin with Fred, who was on a TDY (Temporary Duty) back in 1969.  It was built by the Americans and given to the Berliners as a symbol of friendship between the two countries.  Because of it’s unique design – an “open” oyster – it is affectionately known as the “pregnant oyster” by the locals.

While we were with Fred on that TDY, we were staying in a hotel that was miscpart of  Templehof Airport, where the Berlin Airlift originated.  One day, I wasn’t feeling very well, kind of like I was getting the flu.  When I went down to the restaurant, the German server inquired about my health.  When I explained, he said he had just the thing for me – and he brought me a cup of the most delicious lentil soup I’ve ever had.  Mostly broth – nice and hot.  And then he put together a tray of very hot water with several tea bags and had it sent up to our room.  After all that TLC, I was back to normal by morning.

One of our fondest memories of West Berlin is the English-speaking Baptist church we visited.  There was a large group of English-speaking people in7West Berlin, and they managed to find each other and form a church.  All were welcome – including any Germans who might wish to attend an English-speaking service, even if it was more to increase their knowledge of English, than to worship our Lord.  But along the way, they were sure to be touched by the people around them, as well as the Holy Spirit, and perhaps come to know Christ as their personal Savior.

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Our tour and trips to West Berlin were some of the most satisfying of our time in Europe.  Certainly something we will never forget.

West Berlin~Part 1

11 Aug

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

                                                     

 We had some amazing experiences during our times in West Germany.  We saw so many wonderful sights while there.  So much history, as well. One of our favorite cities to visit was West Berlin.  At the time we were there, The 1Wall (Der Maur) was still in place.  And, unfortunately, the Brandenberg Gate was in the Russian Zone, or East Berlin.  We were unable to get close to it.I later spoke to a German 2national who said she just couldn’t imagine living in such an “enclosed” place as West Berlin.  I tried to assure her that it didn’t FEEL enclosed.  The American Zone was quite open and free.  I don’t think I was very convincing.  She just had to experience it for herself.

 3As we walked around the city, we came upon a fascinating piece of old Germany – a very old hand-watering pump.  Apparently, anyone who knew about it, could bring their car/wagon/etc. there and get free water to wash whatever they had – as long as they were willing to hand-pump the water.  Not something you see around the U.S.

My Mother had come to Germany to visit us that year (May 1969) and we delighted in taking her places that I know she only dreamed of ever seeing.  We happened to be in West Berlin during the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift.    The German people had erected a 4monument to that occasion, and the celebration took place in front of it.  The monument is three-pronged, representing the American, British, and French efforts to keep the free German people from starving and out of Russian/Communist hands.  It was a tremendous success.

Another site that impacted me greatly was in the heart of downtown West Berlin, along the 5Kurfurstendam, affectionately known by the locals as the Kudam, which is the main shopping street in downtown West Berlin.  After the colossal disaster of World War 2, the German people decided to leave a reminder to themselves of the cost of pride and war.  They left standing the bombed-out shell tower of the Kaiser Wilhelm church.  And built right next to it a beautiful and modern new church and church tower.  While the new structure is impressive, it cannot be fully appreciated until one is inside.  The all-glass bricks are a cobalt blue, and with the sun shining through those bricks – well, all I can say is, it’s breath-taking.  And peaceful. And amazing.  And I’ve run out of adjectives already.

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To be continued………..

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