1972 - 1973


Van was still having trouble with his hips, and the doctors were doing all they could to help him.  I suggested that we cancel the trip to Germany and go later when he was feeling better.  But he wanted to go this year since we had planned on going.  So we renewed our Passports and made our flight plans and we’d be on our way several days before Christmas.  We flew from San Diego to Los Angeles and then flew to Frankfort, Germany.  The plane was crowded.  We were surprised that so many people would be going to Germany at Christmas time.  We had a good flight and Dorrie and Michael were at the airport to meet us when we arrived.  Van was stiff from sitting so long but he didn’t complain. 

We picked up our luggage and walked to the car. Michael has a special parking space because he was a pilot in Frankfort Airport.  They owned a little Volkswagen and it just about held all the luggage and four people. We soon made it to their apartment, which was tiny but very cute.  They had the Christmas tree up and the gifts under the tree were enough for a hundred people.  I told Michael that he was spoiling Dorrie.  They lived in Weiskirchen, about ½ hour from the airport.  The weather was cold, so we did dress a little warmer.  We did a lot of sightseeing and going to the local stores, and comparing them to ours.  So many little things are so different. It was difficult to get used to their money.

We went to the local church for Mass one Sunday.  It was quite large and full.  And those Germans can sing, loud and clear, almost take the roof off.  It sounded so great, even though I didn’t recognize the songs. Dorrie introduced us to the young priest who spoke English very well.  He was very friendly and happy to meet us and hoped we enjoyed our trip in Germany.

The Germans get quite a bit of time off for holidays.  They get the Holiday off and a half-day before and the full day after.  I thought I ‘d like to get shopping before Christmas and that’s when I was told the stores were closed. The same for New Year’s.  People learned how to do their shopping over there, no last minute items.

Just before New Year’s, we drove to Herzberg where Michael’s parents lived.  Michael’s father was a doctor for the local factory.  They lived in a large apartment on the second floor.  You enter a large entryway with doors on both side of the hall.  All doors are closed. Why, I don’t know.  We were met by his parents in the hallway and then we were shown the bedroom first, so we could shed our heavy coats, etc. and get freshen up.  Then we met Michael’s sister Petra and brother Andreas in the living room.  After a few minutes, we were invited to go to the dining room for tea.  Always tea at 4 o’clock.  The dining table was beautifully set and very large.  Dr. Schaffer and Mellitta, Michael’s’ mother were very friendly and easy to talk too.  They all spoke some English, and Michael interpreted when necessary.  One thing that I really noticed was, that they had a different set of dishes for every meal.  They had all modern equipment as well as a dishwasher, although some things were very old fashioned.
We did a lot of sightseeing in the local mountains.  Everything was very pretty and interesting.  New Year’s Eve is a noisy affair.  Everyone has some sort of fireworks and they all go off at Midnight.  We all bundled up warm and went outdoors to see all the fireworks and Michael and his father and brother had some of their own to set off.  It was a very different New Year’s Eve than in the USA. As you know, fireworks have been forbidden for quite awhile since so many were hurt or died from fireworks. 

After New Year’s, we went back to Weiskirchen for the last few days before returning to El Cajon.

Back home, it was the usual routine; work every day and two outings with the Mission Bells and Wheeling Stars.  Van took care of things at home and getting the rig ready for the outings.  Always had to remember what to bring for the Pot Luck dinner on Saturday night.  Phyllis Smith with the Wheeling Stars always had a craft project for Saturday morning.  They were always very cute and interesting to make.  We would leave after work on Friday night and return home on Sunday morning.   We would go to Mass on Sunday evening those weekends.  We usually went on Saturday night as a rule.  Dorrie told us that Germany had Saturday Masses for a long time before they started to have them over here.




updated: 20.11.2011