Tag Archives: Memories of Germany

Random Memories of German-Pianos and Such

2 Aug

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I believe I’ve mentioned in previous musings, that I had piano training from the day I started first grade until I graduated from high school.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean I was a prodigy.  I believe God gave me a talent for music – and the piano in particular – but I was not given the “gift” of music.  I can play, but I always must have a piece of music in front of me – I am unable to play “by ear” as so many can and do.  I am grateful for what I have, and rejoice with those who have the gift of music, and I enjoy their talents.

But that’s not what this post is about.  There has almost always been a piano in my life.  I grew up with a piano in my house.  I remember always having an old upright piano at home.

1950 – Judy at the old upright piano

Then in 1952, when I was just 11 years old, my parents purchased a new piano.  That’s the one I still have.

1952 – the new piano

1952 – Judy at the new piano

When I went away for college, there wasn’t one.  And when Fred and I married, there was no room in our little apartment for a piano, even if we could have afforded to buy one.

But following the death of my father, my mother re-married after some years, and they moved into an apartment, with no room for the piano.  So I inherited that piano – and it still sits in my living room now.  But it wasn’t until the early 1970’s that I acquired it.

2020 – at home in Orlando, Florida

When Fred and I went to Germany (Wiesbaden) in 1967, we joined a small English-speaking church there.  Soon I was asked to be the church pianist.  And so, after we moved from the economy housing to government quarters, we rented a piano from a company in town.  We were amazed to find that those who brought the piano up three flights of stairs….were two older gentlemen!  They had some sort of straps around their backs, and the end of the straps – in front of them – had a large “hook” at the bottom that fitted under each end of the piano.  We couldn’t believe our eyes when those two men – one on each end of the piano – bent, then lifted – and the piano came up!  They carried that piano those three flights of stairs like it was a walk in the park!!  And two years later, when we left Wiesbaden, they carried it down those same three flights of stairs, like they were carrying something as light as a feather!  No grunts or groans from them!  Amazing!

Ten years later, when we moved to Heidelberg, Germany,

it was during a time when the government was allowing more than 2,000 pounds of household goods to be shipped, so we, essentially, brought our entire household with us.  Well, most of it, anyway.  We knew there would be washers and driers available to us, so we left ours in storage.  However, my piano came with us!  I honestly don’t remember the trip up – once again it was three flights of stairs.

Christmas 1982 – Karen in front of the piano in our quarters

But the trip down, three years later, was something else.  No strong older gentlemen this time, but it took five hefty men with many straps around and under the piano to get it down the stairs.  If you will look at the picture below, you will see large windows at each landing.

Well, on the way down, a couple of the men simply just gave up their jobs and let the piano go to the other three.  It happened on the stairway, not the landing, and I had visions of my piano flying down the rest of the stairs and straight out that landing window – and onto the sidewalk below – smashing into a million pieces! Fortunately, the other three men were strong enough to hold the piano in place until the other two could gather their strength again, and carry the thing the rest of the way down.  Whew!

And one last tidbit about that piano.  It was made by Everett, and instead of a wooden pegboard, it had a metal pegboard.  That made the instrument VERY heavy!  As it was being off-loaded at our new house in Virginia – again with FIVE men carrying it – they

got if off the truck and had to stop and catch their breath!  Then they got it to the bottom of the stairs going into our house.  Again they had to stop.  One of the gentlemen asked: “who plays this thing?”  I replied that both my girls and I did.  He then said, “that’s a good thing, because if this was just a piece of furniture, we would leave it right here!”  Fortunately, they didn’t, and it made it into our living room.

1992 – Seaford, Virginia – Judy and Mom in front of the piano

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

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Random Memories of Germany-The Bakery

26 Jul

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

The symbol for a bakery in Germany – the pretzel – 1982

I’ve mentioned in previous musings about the Bakery that was just around the corner from the housing area where we lived.  I made many trips just to visit that bakery (Bäckerei in German).  I have many fond memories of going into that store and “speaking” with the lady who owned it.  I spoke a little German…she spoke a little English, and so we were able to communicate fairly well with each other.  She was a delightful lady.

One thing I enjoyed the most about her was the way she treated her customers.  For instance, the first year we were in Heidelberg, Fred’s parents came to visit (which they did each year we were there).  Wanting to show them all the wonderful things about Heidelberg, we took them to the bakery.  I introduced them to the owner.  I told her that they really loved to eat raisin bread (Rosinenbrot), and she produced a loaf.  We ate off that loaf for a few days.  But the really fun thing is that every following year, when Fred’s parents visited, and we went to that bakery, she remembered them – greeting them with smiles and handshakes – and presenting a loaf of raisin bread.  She remembered not only the couple, but what they enjoyed eating!  Great lady!

I remember going in there one day in the Spring, and she had set out samples of an onion tart she had made.  Onions grew abundantly in the area, and she made the best of it.  It was a delicious taste – but I can’t remember whether or not I purchased an entire “pie” to take home.  I probably did, because I knew Fred would enjoy it.

Another memory of the bakery – as mentioned in other posts, I had started teaching aerobic dancing while in Heidelberg.  My partner and I had set up a contest among our students, to make a design that depicted our logo.  We had several entries, and chose one top winner,

The winner of our logo

 and one runner-up.  As it happened, I went from one of my classes, still wearing my aerobic outfit, to the bakery before heading home.  The owner of the bakery asked about the shirt (Heidelberg Aerobic Dancing) and I tried to tell her it was an exercise class, but made use of “dance” instead of just exercises.  And so I told her it was “tance…aber….gymnastic” (dance…but…gymnastics).  She seemed to get the idea.  I just hoped I had said it right!

 One of the best memories of the bakery, was what I did for Fred’s birthday, the last one before we left Germany.  I had frequently purchased just slices of her famous cream pie (like a cream cheese pie, lemony flavor and mildly sweet), and other goodies.  One day I was in there, when someone ordered a Black Forest Cake for a birthday.  That gave me the idea for Fred’s birthday.  I was able to order and purchase a small Black Forest Cake (about 8″ diameter), and asked her to write “Fred” on it.  She didn’t understand “Fred” so I said “Frederic.”  She then said “Fritz?” which is the German nickname for Frederick.  I said “nein” and said “Fred.”  A little disgusted with me, she handed me the paper and pen and said “here!”  So I wrote “Fred” out for her, and we were both happy.  Fred was more than surprised, and pleased.  It was a delicious cake!!

When my BFF, Sue, came for a two-week visit, we squired her all around Heidelberg and Germany.  She and I went on a bus tour to Holland – that is a memory for another post.  But one of the things I did with her, was to take her to my favorite bakery!  I spoke to the owner in my halting German, asking for whatever it was I wanted.  After I had finished, Sue said, “Wow, Judy, I never heard anything like that.”  In reply, I said, “believe me… that’s like NOTHING She’s ever heard before either!”  And the lady just laughed.  So she probably knew more English than she let on.  But that’s okay, we got along famously with what we each knew.

One of the things I miss most about Germany, and Heidelberg in particular, is that bakery.  

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

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Random Memories of Germany-Part 7

19 Jul

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

While we did most of our shopping – whether clothing or groceries – at the military facilities while in Germany,

Credit Google Search and Military One Source

 there were times when we enjoyed shopping on the German economy.  I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that the Germans were adamant about closing early on Saturdays (usually 5:00 p.m.) and either not opening on Sundays, or having shortened hours.  I appreciated that.  

I remember that I had learned to make the German Springerle Christmas cookies from Fred’s mother.  She also gave me a Military Wives Cookbook that had a great recipe for those cookies in it.  But I really didn’t have any of the “forms” until we went to Heidelberg.  I must have had some type of forms – perhaps Fred’s mother gave me hers, I just don’t remember – because I did make those cookies each Christmas.  

When I went into a German store to see if they had the forms, I had a rather difficult time telling the sales ladies just what I wanted.  I thought I had the proper pronunciation for the forms, but I think one lady finally realized what I was asking for – in my halting German!  She brought out a few forms, and they were exactly what I wanted!  Just what I was looking for!

In another situation, down the road from our housing area was a type of “mall” that we frequented.  It was called Famila.  Some called it Familia, but it was the same place.  It had everything from grocery stores to yarn shops, movie theaters to shoe stores.  You get the picture – just like one of our shopping malls in the U.S.  It was all indoor, like most of the malls in this country, so it was a nice place to walk and window-shop, no matter what the weather.

There was one event that really surprised us while we were there.  The girls and I were outside our building one day, when we saw a HUGE number of bicycles coming furiously down Römerstrasse – the main street outside our housing area.  There were probably a couple of hundred cyclists in the group.  It could have even been the Tour de France, but in Germany.  We were amazed – all those bicycles at once!  But what took us by surprise was that ALL the cars – from both directions – just……STOPPED!  No one told them to stop, they just stopped on their own, and pulled over to the curb.  It was the race going by, which was fascinating by itself.  And, after the last bicycle had cleared the area, the traffic started up again.  Amazing!

Credit Google Search and Velo News

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

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Random Memories of Germany-Part 5

28 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I mentioned recently that the pastor of our English-speaking Baptist Church in Heidelberg became our Karen’s future father-in-law. 

Heidelberg castle from the Korn Markt

The congregation of Grace Baptist Church called Greg to be our pastor in the Fall of 1981.  He and his family arrived just after Christmas that year.

The church we met in

As it happened, the church as a group had fixed up an apartment for Greg and his family, in a town just a short ways away from MTV, so when they arrived in town, they were taken straight to the apartment to settle in and rest. 

Some of the ladies of our church had worked a lot to make the apartment comfortable and livable for them.  They made curtains for the windows.  They made/purchased pillows for the sofa/couch.  Pots and pans were provided.  And I believe the kitchen was stocked right before they arrived.

This apartment was located about 10 kilometers from Heidelberg, and MTV.  That’s about six miles, American talk.  Not far, but far enough one needed to either drive there or ride the bus.  Or bicycle if so inclined.

This little town was called Emmertsgrund.  It is actually a suburb of Heidelberg.

Credit Google Search and heidelberg.de

This is similar to the apartment building where they lived

After Karen and Brian became an “item” they began studying together, going on dates, and talking on the phone a lot.  So what else is new with young teens attracted to each other, hm?  I believe their first date involved a bus ride from MTV to PHV (Patrick Henry Village – the other American housing area in Heidelberg), and a movie at the theater there.  

Once, while Karen and Brian were talking on the phone, Fred, in our apartment, sneezed.  Well, if you’ve ever heard Fred sneeze, you would know how loud it is!  After a moment, Karen turned away from the phone and said, “Dad, Brian said he heard you sneeze all the way to Emmertsgrund!”  That’s been a laughing joke in our family ever since!

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

Random Memories of Germany-Part 4

21 Jun

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

I mentioned last time that the pastor of our English-speaking Baptist Church in Heidelberg became our Karen’s future father-in-law.  And this is how that came to be.

The congregation of Grace Baptist Church called Greg to be our pastor in the Fall of 1981.  He and his family arrived shortly after Christmas that year.  They spent Christmas with family in Florida before coming to Germany.

Greg and Carol – welcome reception – 1981

The church congregation had a tradition that was established before we arrived, in that as many as could go together, hired a bus and went to one of the American resort areas in Bavaria between Christmas and New Years.  We went with the group to Berchtesgaden for Christmas 1980.  During the year, our family had also visited Berchtesgaden, Garmisch and Chiemsee (which has a Ludwig castle modeled after Versailles in France).  Therefore, when the church group wanted to go to Chiemsee for Christmas 1981, we declined. Essentially the only thing to do around Chiemsee was to ski, and since we didn’t ski, we decided to stay in Heidelberg, so we could be in town  to meet our new pastor and his family.

Chiemsee – 1969

Chiemsee – Hall of Mirrors – 1969

As it happened, the church as a group had fixed up an apartment for Greg and his family, in a town just a short ways away from MTV, so when they arrived in town, they were taken straight to the apartment to settle in and rest.  We had invited them to come down the hill and have supper with us that evening, so Carol wouldn’t have to fix a meal right away.

As it turned out, two things prevented that event: 1) Greg had pulled a muscle in his back shortly before leaving Georgia and coming to Germany and had been in traction.  Also, the long flight from the U.S. to Germany aggravated his injury.  2) Heidelberg had received quite a few inches of snow, and Greg had helped a German push his car out of a snowbank and re-injured his back.

So even though they declined to come to our house, we decided we could take supper to them!  I had made a big pot of spaghetti sauce (with noodles, of course).  I had a salad made, and then I went to our local bakery for bread.  I really LOVED the German bakeries.  My favorite one was just around the corner from our building, and I had gotten to know the owner reasonably well.  She spoke a little English, and I spoke a little German, so we got along famously.

The symbol for a bakery in Germany – the pretzel – 1982

Well, I went to her store, and in my halting German said I needed just a small loaf of bread.  She was already getting ready to close for the night, but she pulled down a long loaf, cut it in half, wrapped my half, then wrapped up the other half and put it back on the shelf!  I was amazed!!  I don’t believe ANY bakery in the United States would do such a thing!!  WOW!

So we made our way up the hill and to their apartment.  Greg was laid out on the sofa and didn’t move until supper was on the table, when he came and sat with us.  Then back to the sofa.  After the meal, we told Karen and Brian (their son – Karen’s age) that they were to do the dishes.  No dishwasher there, either – hand washing and drying only.  Karen told me later that, as we walked in, Brian, after spying Karen, leaned over to his mom and said, “She’s tall.  I like her!”

And that was the beginning.

Brian and Karen – 1985

Greg’s family stayed a total of five years, and we rotated back to the States after our three-year tour ended in 1983.  Brian came to Virginia the following Christmas to spend it with us.  They married December 30, 1986.  We always said Brian took advantage of the tax credit that year – at the last minute!  But they are still together, after all those years, and we love them and their family.  God is good

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

Judy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years .

  Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing. Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.

After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins as well as a great-grandson. She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.

Another Sweet Memory~Part 2

10 Feb

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

 

 Last time I talked about the cape I had made for Karen when we were in Wiesbaden, Germany in the late 1960’s.  And that it now is a “garment” for one of our granddaughter’s dolls.  I’m so glad it is still in the family.

 

 

Another garment that was part of Karen’s legacy was a dress that our good friend, Frau Katie had crocheted for Karen when she was just two or three-years-old.  I saw that dress on one of our granddaughter’s dolls, as well.  Below is a picture of Karen in that dress, on our balcony in Wiesbaden.

 

 

And here is another picture of the three of us, and Karen is wearing that little dress.  I’m sorry we didn’t have the picture made in color.

 

 

There was also a German dirndl that Frau Katie purchased for our Karen.  It was basically white, with lots of pink – the apron is pink, and lots of pink flowers on the design.  Karen really enjoyed that dress, and I believe that our Katie still has it, as well. Here is a picture of Karen with Frau Katie, with Karen in her dirndl.  Sorry it isn’t in color, either.

 

 

Frau Katie took a real shine to Karen, when she was a baby.  I think it was because I nursed Karen, rather than bottle fed her.  In any case, here is a picture of Karen, age two-and-a half, with Fred, and she has on a lovely sweater that Frau Katie gave her for Christmas.

 

 

I made several little outfits for Karen when she was little (see some pictures below), but I found that I could purchase really cute little dresses for her, with lots of “trim” and other appointments that I couldn’t match, that cost less than I could make.  So I didn’t make all her clothes, but did enjoy what I did make for her.

 

 


Karen and my mother, 1970, in Albuquerque

 

Here is one of the ones I purchased for her, and it was a favorite of mine.  She looked so cute in it. (Our apartment is the one on the top right in this picture.)

 

 

Here is a picture of Karen in 1969.  We were in our quarters in Wiesbaden, on the third floor.  The dining room window was quite large, and the two side windows opened.  While I didn’t make the little outfit Karen is wearing, this is one of my favorite pictures of her.  Because the window was large, and the window “sill” was wide and marble, Karen liked to sit on the window sill and look out.  This is a perfect picture of her.

 

 

As I look back on those days, so many years ago, it brings sweet memories to my mind.  Of Karen as a small child, of the things I made for her, for the beautiful things that Frau Katie gave to her – just for the joy of living and being in beautiful Germany.

God has blest us in so many ways.  And we are grateful.

JUDYJudy is living in Central Florida with her retired U.S. Air Force husband of 50+ years. Born in Dallas, Texas, she grew up in the Southwestern United States.She met her husband at their church, where he was attending the university in her town. After college and seminary, he entered the Air Force, and their adventures began.They lived in eight of our United States, and spent six years in Europe, where their oldest daughter was born. She was a stay-at-home mom for many years
Judy has always been involved with music, both playing the piano and singing.
Always interested in exercise, she was an aerobic dancing instructor, as well as a piano teacher for many years, and continues to faithfully exercise at home.
After moving to Central Florida, she served as a church secretary for nearly nine years.Her main hobby at this point in time is scanning pictures and 35mm slides into the computer. She also enjoys scrapbooking.
She and her husband have two married daughters and four grandchildren, including grandtwins.
She and her husband enjoy the Disney parks as often as possible.
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