Tuesday, 25 October 2022

Remembering Germany.

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

13 comments:

  1. What a stunningly interesting and moving post.

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    1. Thank you. My German ancestry is and will always be a mystery to me. I did not realise the significance of having a German mother when I was young. We laughed at her accent, and thought she looked different to other mum's. Parcels arrived from a Grandma we never met. They were received with great excitement, and contained food that my mother had grown up with but could no longer get in her new country. We gathered around to open the parcel together. Excited to discover what sweet treats we could share out. I remember lots of marzipan.

      Mother told us stories of her life as a little girl, but not much sank in at the time. We were more excited about our own lives, notably playing outside in the street. When you are young you don't need all that heavy stuff. I wish I had asked more questions.

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  2. How kind of you to pass on the photos to someone who will appreciate them.

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    1. I hope someone comes forward. If they are still here when I die they will get binned.

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  3. We had a German lady living next door to us with her Cornish husband. Lovely people. I didn’t think she looked any different to English woman. She had good genes though, lived until she was 103. Lovely story Ilona

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    1. Sadly my mother died when she was 64. I wish she had lived a bit longer.

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    2. Sorry, didn’t put my name. Angela

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  4. This is a lovely poignant post and I’m really pleased you were able to visit your Mum’s homeland. I think it’s important to know our background and family history and often this becomes more important as we get older. I hope you find a home for the photographs as it would be sad for them to be discarded by others.

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    1. We are not a close knit family. I was a bit of a loner from an early age. I sometimes see my aunt, dad's sister, and ask her about family events.

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  5. According to various analytic websites your Youtube channel has earned you between £11 and £177 in the last 30 days. That's a big range, but if even close to accurate that's potentially a lot of money you make each month from a website I thought you've previously said you don't make money from? No wonder you seemed to be posting more videos..

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    1. Here we go. Anonymous troll trying to blacken my name, calling me a liar. Wind your neck in. I have not received one penny from my blog or my yoootooob channel. Neither have my address or bank details, so pray, how are they going to send me this money? You really are pathetic if all you have to do is follow me around. Get yourself a life.

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  6. Lovely post about your Germany trip & your Mom
    To the troll - get a life.

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  7. Your post has made me feel quite emotional Ilona - my father was Italian but left to start a new life in the UK - I have been lucky to know that side of our family well - Though I feel sad for him to have left his birthplace behind x

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