My mother was born in Hamburg. She left there to come to England after the war to marry her soldier boyfriend, my father. I remember her going back there for a holiday, she took my younger sister with her. I stayed behind to look after the house and cook the meals for my father. She couldn't afford to take us all.
In 1974 I went by myself on an all inclusive coach trip which I booked through the TV Times magazine. I can't remember if the British coach came across the channel with us, we sailed from Harwich, or we were met by a German coach at the other side.
What I do remember was a strange feeling I had as we were sailing up the River Elbe. Once you hit the mouth of the river it is a very long way before you get into Hamburg docks. It takes several hours. I stood on the deck watching the buildings on each side. As they got closer I felt as if I was coming home, even though I had never been there before. I became quite emotional, like this was my home and it was bringing me closer to my mother. The place where she lived before she had me. The place where half my family lived that I had never seen.
It was a five day trip, we were booked into a hotel. We stopped off at Lubeck and I got lost, wandering around by myself. I panicked a bit and wondered what to do as I couldn't speak German. I found a very busy intersection in the centre where all the traffic was passing. I thought if I stand here and wait the coach is bound to pass by here and see me. Luckily it did. The other passengers were not best pleased that I had held them up.
We went to Berlin, saw the Kurfurstendamm, went through Checkpoint Charlie. I remember the police getting on the coach in No Mans Land. They took all our passports away then brought them back half an hour later, and we proceeded through to the East side. They took us a drive around, we weren't allowed to stop. I remember all the buildings looked drab and grey. We went to see the Brandenburg Gate, and Charlottenburg Castle. I have photo's in my album.
My mother had contacted her brother, my Uncle Henry, and told him the details of where I was staying. It was arranged that he would come and see me at the hotel. I was so excited, at last I would be meeting someone from my German family. I waited in reception for him to come. He didn't arrive. A staff member came to me and handed me a wrapped box. He said my Uncle had been earlier in the day and dropped off the gift. He couldn't come due to other commitments. I was so disappointed.
I did get to see him a few years later. I stayed at his house. While I was there he gave me a set of 12 aerial photographs of Hamburg taken in 1960. All black and white with one in colour. The reason for this little story is that I no longer need these photographs. I shall never go there again. I would like to pass them on to someone who is living or has lived in Hamburg or has connections there. If not a person, maybe a museum or a place of that nature. Someone who is interested in history would find them interesting.
If any of my German readers, or someone who knows someone who would like them, and can give me an address, I will post them. The photographs are 18cm x 24cm. With a description in German on the back.
I had lunch with a friend today. Sounds posh doesn't it. She made egg on toast. I spent the afternoon in the garden. Mowed all the lawns and trimmed some hedges. Looks quite tidy now.
Anyway, it's just coming up to 10pm so I'll sign off and catch you tomorrow. Toodle pip. ilona