Thursday, October 15, 2009

Deep in the heart of ... east Germany

Yes, I know it's all one Germany now. But all summer I teased our older son about going to college 'behind the iron curtain.' My mother, who lives with us, had an uncle (her father's brother) who made videos about the Rock nee Rach family history. She warns me that the Rocks were prone to exaggeration, a trait no doubt useful since she and I write fiction together.

Around the turn of the last century, her grandfather lived in a German village in the Ukraine. He, according to family lore, and fifty other men fled the village and hid in a swamp. They wanted to escape impressment in the Bolshevik's army.

Also, my mother pointed out, the town was a dive. 

As 'legend' goes, a horse's hoof narrowly missed her grandfather's face.

This Rock escape to America, became an indentured servant almost...married my mother's grandmother, Alvina, a cranky woman who kept birds and helped other German refugees come to this country.

Oddly, enough my sister is a social worker who keeps birds...and who is on occasion, cranky.

I wanted to write about a conversation I had today with a woman I know about the flip side of holding on and letting go, of being protective of your children, of a decision she made about her child where I would have made the opposite. But I can see into her heart and her side because she knows bad things happen, like being widowed at a young age with a houseful of children.

So I think of chatting with my son today. It's cold over the old east Germany, the wind off the Baltic and all.....

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