Tag Archives: Military Life

Random Memories of Germany

13 Dec

WIESBADEN – PART 4

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

On our first trip to Holland, we took in the Keukenhof Gardens and their magnificent flowers – mostly tulips, but others as well.  I saw my first Amaryllis there – and couldn’t believe how tall those flower were!

Judy by an exhibit of Amaryllis – 1968

And the different varieties and colors of the tulips were amazing!  For some reason, I really liked the ones that were nearly black – such as Ace of Spades, and Black Beauty.  Wow! 

Ace of Spades

Black Beauty

Because it was April, many of the flowers that grew outside (rather than in the hothouses) and the trees were not in full bloom yet.

But the landscape of the gardens was still beautiful.

We stopped in Leiden at the Treslong Experimental Gardens.  Beautiful.

Treslong Experimental Gardens

Our last visit there was during the girls Spring Break from school in April, and it was cold and wet in Holland.  We almost didn’t go to Keukenhof, but were eventually glad we went, as it was actually warmer within the Gardens.  I guess all the trees provided some protection from the weather!

Later, my Mother came to visit us in Wiesbaden, and we took her to Holland.  Her visit was in May, and Keukenhof Gardens was in full bloom.

Mother (left in the red suit) in the Gardens

Much to our surprise, we learned that many Dutch people had to eat the tulip bulbs to live in 1944-1945 at the tail end of the war.  From a website from The Laidback Gardener:  Most bulbs such as hyacinths and daffodils are toxic to humans, but tulip bulbs are edible if they are carefully prepared.

And from the AmsterdamTulip Museum:  The situation in Amsterdam had grown hopeless, and in December a freeze started that would last for several months. Starvation became extremely common, and many perished. It was here, for the first time, that Tulip bulbs were eaten, along several other agricultural products not typically considered edible (such as sugar beets). 

Growers, unable to export their bulbs, began to sell them as food and market the high starch content. Doctors even began to provide recipes on how to prepare bulbs

After learning all this, we were amazed to see the fields and fields of tulips growing.  It was quite heart-warming to see how the tulip “industry” survived.

Fields of Tulips, picture taken from inside the windmill

One of our favorite places to visit in Holland was den Haag (The Hague).  And in den Haag is Madurodam.  A VERY favorite!!  From the Netherlands website:  

Madurodam provides a perfect combination of an amusement park, historical heritage and world-class nature.  With more than 5,500 miniature trees and 55,000 flower bed plants blossoming all season, the park is known for its scenic beauty.  We spent many hours going through this delightful park with its miniatures, built 1:25 scale.  Amazing!  It was a favorite of our daughters, as well.  We took my Mother there during one of her visits.  We can’t remember whether or not we ever took Fred’s parents there.  

Miniature Cathedral

Miniature Schipol Airport

Miniature windmills and canals

We stayed in a B&B on that trip with the girls.  We always enjoyed doing that on our jaunts around Europe.  The family was lovely, and the accommodations were wonderful!  I had made some chocolate chip cookies for our trip, and we shared them with the family.  I just remember telling them to come visit us in Heidelberg.  But their reply was that, thanks, but no thanks.  They would “stay” in Holland.  There was still a bit of animosity toward Germany from World War 2.

~~~~~~~~~~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

6 Dec

Wiesbaden-Part 3

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

It has been said Germans are known for beer and cuckoo clocks.  The American version of that is that, after being in Germany, Americans return stateside with either a baby or a cuckoo clock!  Well, we had the baby, but she was on-the-way before we even got to Germany!!  In any case, there was a store in downtown Wiesbaden that had the world’s largest cuckoo clock as it’s store front!  Here is a picture of that store front.  I really enjoyed wandering around that store.  But I did NOT want to come home with a cuckoo clock – and I didn’t!

We thoroughly enjoyed Christmas time in Wiesbaden.  Here are some pictures of downtown at night.  These were taken in 1968, so I don’t know if or what Wiesbaden does for decoration in 2020.  We enjoyed the city streets.  But we really enjoyed the “fairy tale” kiosks set up along the main street – Wilhelmstrasse.  These are just a few of the ones we saw.

Hansel & Gretel

There were several main streets in Wiesbaden, Rheinstrasse was one of them.  Ringstrasse was another.  Here are a few pictures of those streets.

Rheinstrasse looking toward Hainerberg

Rheinstrasse looking toward Ringstrasse and the Ringkirche

You can see the Ring Kirche at the end of Rheinstrasse heading up toward Ringstrasse.

We especially enjoyed seeing the churches along the way.  Here is the Marktkirche (Market Church).

The Marktkirche – as it was when we were there

There was a spa/park near downtown called the Kurpark.  Here is the Kurhaus, which was a casino at the time we were there.

Here is the fountain within the park.

It is a beautiful park, with some “Roman” touches to it.  In researching Wiesbaden, I found that Wiesbaden was indeed, occupied by the Romans in around the 370’s A.D.  WOW!

In April of 1968, Fred and I made a trip to Holland – my first visit there!  We left Karen with some church friends, and set out to enjoy ourselves!  We took in Amsterdam and all its sights.  We enjoyed an open-air market there. 

We stopped in Leiden to see the Treslong Experimental Gardens.  So well done.

We took in Haarlem with its magnificent cathedral.

The Bell Tower of the St. Bavo Church Credit Google search and Wikipedia

The pipe organ inside there has the distinction of having been played by G.F. Händel in 1740 and 1750, and in 1766 then ten-year-old Mozart!  WOW!!  Later, when we made the trip with my Mother, someone was actually playing the organ – and I was quite enthralled!  Beautiful! 

The organ pipes in the church of St. Bavo

~~~~~~~~~~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

29 Nov

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Wiesbaden Part 2

There were so many things about Wiesbaden that we enjoyed.  We actually loved living “on the economy” and among the German people.  They are a generous and loving people.  They were kind to us. 

The German people were generally kind about our feeble attempts to speak their language, and were appreciative that we made the effort to speak German.  We heard of many funny mistakes.  For instance, the gentleman who was a Baptist missionary – and friend of ours – told of the time he went into a store, wanting to purchase some grape juice (traubensaft).  When he told the store clerk what he wanted, the clerk looked at him, and tried VERY hard not to laugh, but it finally got away from him.  Wiping his eyes, he told the missionary that he didn’t have any of that – as he had asked for pigeon juice (taubensaft)!!  The words are only one letter different.

The church where we met were “partners” with a German Baptist Church – we shared the space.  And later – just as we were leaving Germany to head stateside, the churches jointly built a new building for both congregations to meet.  The English-speaking Baptist church there held its 25th anniversary during the time we returned to Germany (1980-1983), and we were able to attend that meeting – in that “new” church building.  It was an amazing time.

The “new” church building

Herman Stout speaking – the first American pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church.

All former pastors were in attendance except for the pastor while we were there.

We enjoyed taking short day or half-day trips around the area.  One of our favorite places to drive to was Konigstein, and the area from there was the Feldberg (field mountain).  Here is a picture of the Feldberg at Easter time, 1969.

On the Feldberg

We enjoyed shopping in the German stores, and just walking in downtown Wiesbaden.  One of our favorite department stores was Hertie.  As I remember, when our church congregation decided to purchase flatware for the church kitchen, we purchased it from there.

Downtown Wiesbaden – Hertie department store – Christmas 1968

In another post, I mentioned that the American housing where we lived for the final two years we were in Wiesbaden, always had a contest to see who could decorate the best.  Here is our apartment’s contribution in Christmas 1968, and Christmas 1969.

Our apartment is top left – 1968

1969

And here is a picture of the apartment building across from ours – the entire one side of the building went together to put together this Christmas “tree” in lights.  Fun.

~~~~~~~~~~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-Our Favorite Castles Part 4

27 Sep

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

Herrenchiemsee

1969 – our trip to Bavaria – Herrenchiemsee Palace

The Writing Room

In THE WRITING ROOM, the paintings above the doors depict scenes of campaigns fought under Louis XIV.  The large portrait is of Louis XV.  “The large roll-top desk is a copy made in Paris in 1884, where the famous desk of Louis XV at the Louvre served as a model.”

The Blue Salon

THE BLUE SALON is an example of decorating with mirrors.  “The mirrors were to give an illusion of an indefinite flight of rooms….On the mantle-piece in Meissen porcelain is a marble statuette of Jupiter and flower-decorated candelabras of Meissen porcelain.”  Again, the wood-inlay floor is just amazing!

The Dining Room

THE DINING ROOM is in the shape of an oval.  Once again, lots of French influence in the decorations of the room – including stucco cupids.  “The magic table…an allusion made to a fairy tale by Grimm – allowed the King, as at Linderhof, to take his meals all by himself.”  Again, the table “disappeared” down into the kitchen below, then filled with food, and then hoisted back to the dining room for the king to take his meal…alone.  Poor man…he must have been very lonely.

~~~~~~~~~~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 -OUR FAVORITE CASTLES

6 Sep

HERRENCHIEMSEE – PART 1

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

As with last time’s post, I want to preface this with a statement that a lot of what information and pictures I am presenting is from pamphlets we purchased when we toured Herrenchiemsee all those years ago.  Some are our own observations and pictures, but some of the more “technical” information is gleaned from those pamphlets. So…..

1969 – our trip to Bavaria – Herrenchiemsee Palace

Herrenchiemsee was the last of the three main castles that Ludwig II King of Bavaria had built.  Neuschwanstein was the first built, (1869-1886) taking 17 years to complete, and was not completely finished at his death in 1886.  Linderhof only took four years to build (1876-1878).  And the final castle, Herrenchiemsee, was eight years in the building, 1878-1886.  It was not completed at the time of Ludwig’s death in 1886, under mysterious circumstances.

Aerial view of the palace and grounds

I think that Ludwig was a dreamer at heart.  While he was a great friend and admirer of composer Richard Wagner, I think he had a bit of hero worship in King Louis XIV of France, who fashioned himself as the Sun King. 

Credit Google Search – Louis XIV – Portrait by Hyacinthe Rigaud, 1701

Ludwig II King of Bavaria – 1887 portrait by Gabriel Schachinger

In the brochure we purchased at the castle, it stated that “For King Ludwig II, the Sun King was the absolute embodiment of monarchy.”  Ludwig studied everything he could about Louis and Versailles, eventually visiting France and the palace.  That inspired him to try to build a “New Versailles.”  He erected Herrenchiemsee “as a monument to the monarchy.”  It goes on to say it was a monument, not a building to be lived in.

~~~~~~~~~~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- Our Favorite Castles Part 2

23 Aug

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

As I mentioned in a previous post about Linderhof, Ludwig was a great friend of Richard Wagner, composer.  Many, many of the paintings in Newschwanstein deal with different scenes in Wagner’s operas.  

1875 – Richard Wagner

There is only one room in the castle that didn’t have a wooden ceiling – and it was a painting in his dressing room by Eduard Ille.

The Dressing Room – notice the ceiling – not wood

Personally, I am enthralled with the wooden ceilings!  But then, you might remember my post about wood inlay and how much I enjoy the workmanship that goes into that artistry.  So all the woodwork in this castle appealed to me greatly.

Also in the dressing room is a “pottery toilet-set by Mettlach majolica ware (by Villeroy and Boch – some of our favorite).”  There is iron-work on all the doors in the castle, but it is reported that the iron-work on the door between the living room and the dressing room is probably the finest of the whole castle.  The detail in the iron-work is impressive.

If you remember my post from August 9, 2020, you will see the picture of the King’s bedroom in Linderhof.  It is magnificent.  However, the King’s bedroom in Neuschwanstein is not nearly as elaborate as the one in Linderhof.

The Kings Bedroom at Neuschwanstein

However, it is magnificent in it’s own right.  As I said – lots of wood – paneling and ceiling.  Also, the Bavarian blue was Ludwig’s favorite color, and you will see it here in the drapes and bedspread.  Not so sure about that column in the middle of the room – that might be a head-knocker in the middle of the night!

Neuschwanstein was still incomplete when Ludwig II died in 1886. The King never intended to make the palace accessible to the public.  However, no more than six weeks after the King’s death, the Prince-Regent Luitpold ordered the palace opened to paying visitors. 

~~~~~~~~~~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-Our Favorite Castles

16 Aug

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

As I mentioned last time, we visited quite a few castles while in Germany – and some in other countries.  But I think our favorites were the ones built by Ludwig II – named “Mad King Ludwig” by many.  But he was a great castle-builder!

King Ludwig II of Bavaria

I want to preface this post with a statement that a lot of what information and pictures I am presenting is from pamphlets we purchased when we toured Neuschwanstein all those years ago.  Some are our own observations and pictures, but some of the more “technical” information is gleaned from those pamphlets, and a few items from Wikipedia and Google search.  So…..

King Ludwig II of Bavaria, is the king who built these three castles.  Neuschwanstein was the first built, (1869-1886) taking 17 years to complete, and was not completely finished at his death in 1886.  Linderhof only took four years to build (1876-1878).  And the final castle, Herrenchiemsee, was eight years in the building, 1878-1886.  It was not completed at the time of Ludwig’s death in 1886, under mysterious circumstances.

I think the most impressive of all Ludwig’s castles, is Neuschwanstein Castle (New Swan Castle), in Bavaria – at least to me.  We visited it many times during the six years we lived in Germany.  We were fortunate, during our first tour of duty (1967-1970) that when we toured the castle, we were allowed to enter places that are now off-limits to tourists.

1968 – from the walking path

1982 – walking up to the castle

1982 – an interesting view of the castle

I have researched the information on the castle, but have not found any mention of what we were told when we first visited – that it was built as a “soldier’s castle.”  I have seen instances of it being called a “Knight’s Castle” so that might mean the same thing.  It is a bit austere compared to Linderhof (see my previous post of August 9, 2020), but I found it fascinating!  Lots of wood and marble, much more space than Linderhof.

Not having lived in a really cold climate, I was amazed at the heating system there. As early as 1884, the castle was centrally heated by warm air from the cellar and the ground floor.  Hot air flowed through air-shafts to the rooms of the upper stories.  Near the kitchen were four big stoves for heating the entire castle, but they were in use only in autumn and spring.  Therefore, in each room there was a tiled stove, used for heating the rooms.  Beautifully done.

The kitchen was quite modern for that time.  Besides hot and cold running water, a grill and fully automatic turning spits for game and poultry.  Rising hot air in the chimney turned a turbine in a broad tube above the spit, and this movement operated the spit over a gear (an invention by Leonardo da Vinci).  Amazing

The Kitchen

There was hot and cold running water throughout the castle.  It was supplied by a source emerging 600 feet above the castle, so that its natural pressure is sufficient to supply the whole castle – even its uppermost rooms, with water.

~~~~~~~~~~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- Our Favorite Castles

9 Aug

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

LINDERHOF

1968 – on our trip to Bavaria

We visited quite a few castles while in Germany – and some in other countries.  But I think our favorites were the ones built by Ludwig II – named “Mad King Ludwig” by many.  Mad he may have been, but boy did he know how to build castles!

While Linderhof may have been the smallest of the castles he built, it seemed to me to be the most ornate, and actually somewhat gaudy to me.  Mind you, it is really gorgeous, and has many, many precious things in it, but the word opulent comes to mind when I think of it.

Credit Google Search – an example of gold used

However, we thoroughly enjoyed touring it, and were grateful for the opportunities we had to visit it.  We always made sure to take visitors to see it with us.

Of course, we found the gold statue in the middle of the pool to be fascinating.  She sits demurely most of the time, but when it is time for the fountain to geyser, she is in the middle of the geyser.  

1968 – on our trip to Bavaria

And there is a most interesting thing about that geyser – it is completely natural!  There is nothing mechanical or technical about it.  You see, the castle itself sits at the bottom of a hill, with a cascade carved in the hill behind it, that the water flows over.  The water goes down the cascade, under the castle itself, and gravity pressure makes the geyser shoot up at least 80 feet in the air.  It is amazing!  Ludwig placed his bedroom at that point in the castle to get the cool breeze coming down the hill and with the water to cool his room.  Smart man, hmm?

1968 – the cascade is behind the castle

1982 – the Cascade behind the castle

There is a LOT of gold overlay within the castle.  He also had a lot of Meissen porcelain in various arrangements.  Apparently Meissen porcelain was his favorite.  It is quite ornate and beautiful.

1982 – Meissen porcelain chandelier

Ludwig had a fascination with swans and peacocks.  He had a Moorish Kiosk built on Linderhof grounds that had three peacocks surrounding a divan within.  This kiosk was originally designed for the World Exhibition in Paris in 1876.

Credit Google Search and Wikipedia

We also found fascinating that in the dining room, the table disappears into the floor, going to the kitchen below where it was loaded with food and sent back to the dining room. The advantage of this technology was that the King did not have to see his servants.

Credit Google Search – The dining room

The Kings bed chamber was quite something to see – there is a giant sized bed for a large-than-life King.  Ludwig liked ornate drapes in his bedroom.

Credit Google Search – the King’s bedroom

Ludwig and composer Richard Wagner were friends, and Ludwig built a grotto (a cave) for the performance of Wagner’s “Der Ring des Nibelungen.”  It’s sometimes call “The Blue Grotto” or “Neptune’s Grotto.”

Credit Google Search and Augsburger Allegemeine

~~~~~~~~~~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 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.

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