It is my grandmother's 87th birthday today. A few months back, I got her a book that's called "Oma erzähl mal" - basically "Tell me your story, grandma". It contains questions about family, life lessons, and simple things about daily life back then, and you are actually supposed to fill them out by hand.
Now, as I said, she's 87, and she gets very tired when she has to write these days. So today I took the book and started asking her some random questions, filling it out myself.
For better understanding: My grandma grew up in the German part of the Czech Republic before World War II, so she was German, but actually didn't live in Germany. She wasn't on the Nazi's side of the story either ... which at some point almost got her in trouble. But that's another story. So when the War was over, she, her parents and her grandma got kicked out of the Czech Republic by the Czechs and they were taken to a small village in Bavaria, with nothing but their suitcase and the clothes they wore. For a few years, her and her husband (my grandfather, who is a full blood Czech, he died more than ten years back) lived in a 10 square meter room on a farm.
They could only get married after they had left the Czech Republic and finally got married in Bavaria. Their wedding day: Mass in the morning and their only wedding gift: Flour, eggs and some meat from the farmer lady they were staying at. When I asked her about her honeymoon she laughed and said: One walk around the cow stables! :)
What a different world we live in today, preparing for weddings as if a life depended on the color of the table decoration. Ridiculous in comparison!
A few other highlights:
- I always knew that my grandfather had lots of siblings, but I never knew that there were 3 real brothers and another 10 (!) half-siblings. Wow! I was trying to imagine my great-grandmother preparing dinner everyday...
- She said it was love at first sight when she saw my grandfather. He came to her house as he and another Czech guy were checking for animals who might have been left behind by Germans who had already had to leave the Czech Republic, and so he knocked on her door. She wore a red dress and was ironing clothes! :) Cute!
- Her advise for life: Always listen to your heart :)
Soon all the contemporary witnesses of the time around World War II will be no longer with us... Time to ask more questions!