Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Swell of Memories -- And Aren't Memories are Swell?

I've been in a nostalgic mood lately.

Now that my granddaughter is spending a month studying with her college overseas, or "studying abroad" as she puts it, memories of living overseas with my husband and children for three years during the 1980s and working in Germany come flooding back.

My granddaughter has been studying in Europe for about ten days now, and over the weekend she went on an excursion to the German city of Berlin. She has called and texted and posted on Facebook about her excursion, which was filled with trips to landmarks, museums, and a concentration camp.

One site her group visited was The Berlin Wall, which was still intact when we lived in Germany during the 1980s, but is now a tourist destination. Although, she noted, she also visited another famous tourist-destination wall, the graffiti-decorated John Lennon Wall.

Back in the 1980s, my daughter (my granddaughter's mom) also traveled to what was then called West Berlin. At that time, my daughter was a high school freshman and an amazing athlete -- she ran track and played softball -- and her American high school was invited to play in a softball tournament against another American high school in West Berlin. And she made the trip with her team.

During the 80s, Americans working in Germany needed special permission for themselves or family members to travel from West Germany, where we worked, to East Germany, which had to be traveled through to get to West Berlin. My husband had to get a "flag" letter signed by a General Officer from his work authorizing our daughter to go with her school team.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to accompany her to Berlin, so I don't have photos, but when she returned, she had a wealth of memories. She told stories, not so much about the softball tournament, but of standing next to the Berlin Wall and of riding on a train that left during the middle of the night with the shade-drawn windows so the teenage girls and their coaches couldn't "spy" on the East German countryside.

Now, more than 30 years later, her daughter has made a similar trip, with her school, but on a bus with an open view of the German countryside, to a much different, undivided Germany and undivided Berlin.

This summer my granddaughter is making special memories that will last her a lifetime of her visit to Berlin, over the same, yet different, streets and sites her mom walked across and visited decades ago. And isn't that a wonderful adventure?

10 comments:

  1. I'm so excited for her. I know she'll have a great time and make wonderful memories she'll have for a lifetime.

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    1. Hi Mary,
      Thanks. She is having a wonderful time!

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  2. So unique that all three of you had a chance to go there, each with a different perspective.

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    1. Hi Val,
      I wish I could've gone to Berlin with Julie's softball team and taken a photo of her at the Brandenburg Gate then have one of granddaughter at the same place. Sadly, I can't go back in time.

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  3. What a wonderful adventure. I have never been to Europe and it is so filled with history! Maybe someday...

    Pat
    Critter Alley

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    1. Hi Pat,
      Hope you make the journey one day.

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  4. Donna, this is such a heart warming post. So happy for your granddaughter.

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    1. Thanks, Linda. She is in Portugal this weekend, getting to experience another European country. We are thrilled she has had such a wonderful opportunity.

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  5. How very interesting! To me, there are no coincidences, so these trips have even more special memories. Glad Cari is having a good time.

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    1. Thanks, Marcia. Although I have to admit I've been a bit nervous after I heard the news about the State Department's warning about traveling to Europe. I'll rest easier when she returns to the good ole USA.

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