A Memorable Ride in a Police Car (1965)

My first semester of teacher’s  college was coming to an end, when our English professor suggested a field trip to a a small island at the North Sea together with a group of American exchange students.  During our first semester there had been  very little time and opportunity for social interaction with our fellow students and staff.  The prospect of a trip offered a chance to get to know each other better at a beautiful coastal region of Germany. I immediately signed up.

Winter had been long and dull. The transition from high school to the  busy and overcrowded teacher’s college  had been stressful and demanding.  Every morning at six o’clock  I had to travel by transit bus from my hometown Velbert to the  nearby city of Wuppertal to attend my morning classes at 8:00 a.m.   By the way, Wuppertal  (among other things) is famous for its historic monorail sky train.

Wuppertal Schwebebahn


The one and a half  hour long ride on the often crowded and badly ventilated public transit bus to the main station in the city center of Wuppertal was unpleasant and nauseating.   The college was situated on top of a lovely hill in a spectacular park landscape about half an hour’s walk from the station.  After the often sickening bus ride the walk through the fresh air in the lovely park was pleasant and  revived my body and spirits.


That  year,  spring was slow in coming and I longed for sunshine and the invigorating ocean air.  Our trip was scheduled for the beginning of June.  Finally  all the arrangements were made and the departure day was approaching.

However, I had a problem.  Our train to the coast was supposed to leave at 4:00 a.m. from Wuppertal.  I had no means of transportation so early in the morning from my home. We did not own a a car and the earliest bus from Velbert was too late to catch the train in time. I had no close friends or acquaintances in Wuppertal to help me out.   My professor suggested that I could sleep on a cot in his office the night before and walk down to the station in the early morning.

Needless to say,  I was too excited and also a bit scared to sleep much in the deserted college building.  After tossing and turning for half the night, I decided to get up at the break of dawn and walk down to the station bright and early.

Wupertal Park - Photo Credit: Atamari (Wuppertal)

Wupertal Park – Photo Credit: Atamari (Wuppertal)

A few days ago spring had finally  arrived and flowers and trees were blossoming in profusion.  When I stepped out of the  college building, the first sun rays greeted me and made the dew drops on the grass and leaves sparkle in the early morning light.   The air was fragrant and fresh. Having lots of time,  I decided to walk down through the park paths  instead of the road directly leading down to the city.

My suitcase was not too heavy and I walked briskly enchanted by the beautiful light filtering through the blooming trees and bushes.  I stopped briefly to look at an unusually pretty flower when I noticed some movement behind me.

Daffodils at greenhouse sm

 Nervously I looked around me wondering who or what could have disturbed the peace.  Probably a bird or small animal just waking up.  I walked a bit faster.  All of a sudden someone in a strong male voice  called out, “Stop!”

My first impulse was to run.  But my suitcase would not let me get away fast.  I froze on the spot unable to make a decision.  When I dared to look around to confront my pursuer I was amazed to see a uniformed man.  A police man!  “What are you doing so early in the morning in this park?” he asked sternly.  “Loitering in this park at night is against the law!”, he added fixing his glance firmly on my suitcase.    When I finally regained my composure I managed to explain my situation in a shaky voice.   The policeman’s face relaxed and he assumed a kinder look.  “These isolated parks are not safe for young ladies like you, especially not at this time of day.  Come with me and I’ll drive you down to the station.”  He grabbed my suitcase and together we walked through the park paths to the road where he had parked his vehicle.  I sat beside him and we chatted like friends.  He seemed pleased to hear that I was the daughter of a retired police officer.  When we arrived at the  train station, some of the students and the professor were already gathered at the main entrance.stock-photo-57620416-german-police-van-patroling-berlin-at-sunsetThey curiously looked at the police car stopping at the curb right in front of them. I never forget their surprised and puzzled  looks, when I emerged out of it.   My friendly police escort carried  my suitcase like a valet and delivered me (and my suitcase) safely to the perplexed group.  After exchanging a few friendly words with my professor and the students he left.

During my youth,  the police in Germany had  a good reputation.  I cannot remember any derogatory words for policemen.  They were respected.    A police man was often referred to as your “friend and protector”.    This caring  policeman truly lived up to that motto.  In a friendly manner he had protected me from potential harm.





Postscript to my Previous Post about the Forbidden Word…Knö…

Dear friends,  before I start writing my new post I have to add a picture relating to my previous one.   My friend Peter, the master Kloss maker, has forgiven me for calling the famous Thüringer Klösse  ” Knö……..”  Oh, no I promised him to never  say that forbidden word again.  He also reminded me that  Klösse and roast goose belong together like sun and moon in a traditional Christmas dinner in Thuringia.    He sent me a picture of his beautiful daughter who cooked the enormous goose this year to accompany the famous raw potato dumplings.  They were made to perfection according to an old secret family recipe  by Peter.  Here are father and daughter who prepared the traditional Christmas  feast of my birth place in Thuringia, GermanyKlosse Petersmall

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Hope you will experience this  special dinner at least once in your life.

April 1,  (April Fools Day) I may publish Peter’s address,  so you can maybe drop in next Christmas for dinner..



Christmas 2015

Dear friends,

The year is coming to a rapid close and I want to publish one more post.   Christmas is a memory now and we are all looking forward to a new year.  Instead of going back into the past i’ll stay in the present and write about the most recent memories.  This year’s Christmas.


Stefan treesmall

For the first time, we only had the two youngest of our five sons over for the holidays.   While I like to have them all plus partners and kids  at home during that wonderful family time,  I am always a bit stressed about their travel in the winter.   So I don’t mind either way.

Robert, our oldest,  just completed his work assignment as a project manager for a big German company in the States.  He is in limbo now and may have to move back to Germany or another country where he is needed.   He could not take the time off to travel here.Rob ed.small



Richard, our second son, and the father of our three grand children lives in Montreal at the other side of the country,  He went with his partner Youki and the kids  (Mateo, Auzure and Emeline)  to her father’s house in the country side in Quebec.





Tony, our third son, and Lisa had her brother’s  and sister’s families over in their new home. “We’ll definitely come next year”,  they reassured us because they found it more relaxing to be guests than hosts.   They are such super hosts though  As guests they are entertaining and very helpful

Tony and Lisa

To our surprise and great joy, Tony and Lisa got engaged Christmas Eve.  Such wonderful news.   They are now relaxing  at the beaches on Hawaii.

Our holiday celebrations started with the now traditional Advent party at our friend’s, Klaus and Erika’s beautiful log home in the forest by the lake. For about the last ten years they have invited all their German friends from our village to celebrate the Advent season with caroling  and feasting at their welcoming home.

Erika and Klaus complement each other in the kitchen.  She is a master baker and her desserts are to die for..  Klaus on the other hand is a passionate chef and loves to cook.  The result is that guests to their house are in for unforgettable treats,

Erika table klein

This year, Erika had an operation on her foot and had to postpone the celebration to the fourth of Advent.  She vehemently rejected all help and promised to cut down on the number of different cakes and pastries.  But to our secret delight she did not keep that promise.  On the contrary,  she seemed to have added some more delicious creations.

Their house is always so festively decorated in a traditional way.  It radiates warmth, comfort and good taste. Most years we are more or less fourteen people around the  beautifully decorated table with all the delicious baking.  Everyone feels relaxed and high spirited.  After the feasting, we sing traditional German and English Christmas carols, read or recite poems or short passages from seasonal writing.    Mulled wine simmering on the stove keeps us “hydrated”.   And we reminisce about past Christmases, especially from our childhood. Our thoughts went back to the homeland of our birth.

Shortly before our return home from this delightful celebration, Stefan, our youngest son, had arrived safely from the coast.  That added more joy and excitement.

Stefan has a great sense of family and friends.  He is the bonding glue for his brothers. Stefan is always full of life and there is never a dull moment when he is home.  He loves to cook, bake, play games, hike,  take amazing photos, play hockey, travel all over the world, brew beer,and of course  work on his computer.  He connected my cabin in the backyard to the net and now I can write there in peace and quiet.

For Christmas eve he took over the meal preparation and cooked rouladen, braised red cabbage with the most delicious gravy ever.  And he slaved away trying to make Thüringer Klösse from scratch.  These dumplings made from raw grated potatoes are a challenge for the most seasoned cooks or experienced housewives in Germany.  His dumplings were great for a first attempt. For dessert  he had prepared a  tiramisu.   He tasted this special dessert for the first time as a little boy in Germany at friends of the family, who treated us royally.  Stefan was so impressed by their overwhelming hospitality and all the delicacies they offered him during that memorable visit.  In our household with five growing  boys meals were not quite so fancy and elegant except on rare occasions.   I also noticed that he loves to keep up old traditions.  So great!!!


Stefan cut the roundest and biggest Christas tree ever.  It filled almost all our fairly small front room.  Our house looked and smelled like a forest.   Christmas eve was a lot quieter than we are used to from the past.  But we had a relaxing time.  Rob  joined us via skype. The wonders of technology!  We sang carols and then played games.

Our old (forever young} neighbor Richard joined us Christmas day for church and for  feasting and playing cards. Richard, nearing ninety still splits his own wood and is very strong and active.  He is also loud and boisterous.  Beer is his power drink and keeps him in good health and spirits.  Our son Stefan brews his own beer with friends in Vancouver. Our Bavarian friend seems to have inspired his love for good beer.  Or maybe it’s in the genes.  Also my name Gertrud is the patron saint of beer brewers.  Playing cards is one of Richard’s passions and he takes games very seriously.  Sometimes the noise level rises precariously.  But we have fun.



Mike and Angie plus their dogs Kelsey and Piper arrived on Boxing day.   I cooked the turkey and we had another day of feasting and playing games.  For Angie’s sake we played  Ticket to Ride, a very clever and exciting board game.  She doesn’t care for our card games. Outside the snow was softly falling  It looked magical with the colorful Christmas lights Peter had decorated the house and yard with.


Mike and Angie couch small

The next morning, we all drove out over snowy roads to Taite Creek,  our favorite forestry campsite.   Mike had promised Peter a load of wood in his truck. This year we are short of firewood because of Peter’s accident in the summer when he broke his foot.

Taite Creek is forever magical at any time. The fresh snow had turned it into an enchanting Winter Wonderland.  Peaceful.  We had a big bonfire and enjoyed the fresh air and beautiful scenery.  Spending time at Taite Creek always renews and refreshes my body and soul.  When the boys were growing up, Taite Creek helped me cope and survive the unavoidable stresses of raising five lively sons.  The “boys” all have a special attachment and lots of wonderful memories of happy and relaxing times there.

Stef Pip2 small

Angie me small

Mike and Dad had a great bonding time getting the wood.  Mike is such a kind and friendly character and very successful in all his endeavors.  He is always cheerful, optimistic and enterprising.  People are drawn to him and he has lots of friends.Boys Taite small


At home Angie colored and trimmed my hair.  So relaxing!  Since I never had a daughter it is so wonderful to have daughters-in-law to do “girl” things with. Mike and Angie are a good match.

For the New Year I hope and pray for Health and Happiness.  May we have lots of joyful family times together.

The same good wishes go out to all of you living in  this Miraculous World.   May God bless us all and keep us safe and grant us PEACE.


A Budding Romance in Würzburg (1959)

Dear friends,

Forgive me for hopping from one topic to another in my blog.  But I think every post is like a puzzle piece of my life and eventually you might be able to join all  the pieces together to get the big picture.

As I told you before, my life as a child and teenager was quite restricted.  My mother tried to shield me from negative experiences and people. I had freedom within the confines of home and school, but my mother controlled my outings. The older i got the more controlling she became. While my twin brother was allowed to visit his friends and stay out as long as he wanted, I had strict curfews. Although I was allowed to go to my girlfriend’s to study and do homework, I had to be home before dark. Often my mother would unexpectedly show up at my friend’s house under the pretext that she had business in the neighborhood to walk home with me.

Although I hadn’t shown much interest in boys,  I was now at an age when it was just a matter of time and “hormones”. My brother’s friends who often visited our home were unattractive to me. I considered them annoying like my brother at that time. “Stupid little boys”.

One of his friends was a few years older and looked like a young man compared to the rest. My parents liked his company, because he always engaged them in interesting conversations, plus he loved my mom’s food.  As you may remember that always won her heart. In fact, eating was one of his favorite activities. He seemed to like me and tried to invite me to the movies, the ice cream parlor or pastry shop on many occasions. Such invitations were a sign that a boy was serious about a closer relationship. I always refused and tried to avoid him. In my mind he did not measure up to the romantic hero of my dreams. This young man’s mother was a close friend of my parents and I wonder, if my mom would have let me go out with him, if I had accepted his invitations.  In retrospect I have to admit that he was a nice person but not for me.

That year, our class went on a school trip to Würzburg, a beautiful historic city in Northern Bavaria. I am still amazed that even at that time so long ago, field trips were considered educational and important for the social development of children and young adults.  In that respect our educational system was quite progressive.

Most of my friends and I did not have the opportunity to travel far from home and so we were excited with the prospect to see new places, meet new people and have exciting experiences and adventures. These school trips usually took place in the beautiful month of May.

Würzburg, Germany - Photo Credit: wikipia.org

Würzburg, Germany – Photo Credit: wikipia.org

Würzburg is a picturesque medieval city located in a scenic wine region on the river Main. We traveled there by train, which is always an exciting experience, and we stayed in a youth hostel together with a group of senior male students from the big northern port city  of Hamburg.

Würzburg is a beautiful city and  sightseeing was interesting and fun.   But for us teenagers the evenings after supper sitting in the court yard of the youth hostel was the highlight of the day. There was a class of senior boys from Hamburg, the biggest port of Germany. Our teachers had arranged that we should sing German folk songs together.   That was fun. We never sang with so much enthusiasm before.

Our teacher kept a close watch on us and we were not allowed to speak with the young men or have any other interactions. However, there were many glances exchanged.  A skinny tall young man with blond hair and bright blue eyes would always look in my direction and smile when he caught my eye. My discerning girl friends pointed out to me that he probably liked me. I was shy and embarrassed and did not want to admit that I liked him too,

The last night together we sang with extra passion and exuberance and glances darted back and forth without restraint. Just before we had to say good night to our singing companions a little rose bud landed on my lap, which my secret admirer had thrown in my direction. I didn’t even know his name. That gesture was so romantic and I couldn’t sleep for a long time that night. The next morning our singing partners from Hamburg were gone. Our last day in that beautiful city lost its luster. Singing that night was pitiful.

For a long time after our trip I would think of the young man from Hamburg so far away from where I lived. There was probably no chance of ever seeing him again.

One beautiful sunny morning just before the summer vacation, I decided to walk to school instead of riding in the stuffy bus. For part of the way I had to walk along the busy highway between Velbert and Essen. Although i liked the pastoral scenery along the highway, I did not like the noise of the cars and trucks speeding by and the periodic loud honking.  It was the custom in Germany at that time that any young female would be acknowledged by male drivers with loud honking or whistles.

i kept on walking ignoring the attention seeking drivers.  When I heard the loud ringing of a bike bell I pretended not to hear by looking straight ahead. Suddenly the bike stopped right beside me and an excited male voice said,  “It is really you!”   When I dared to look up into the face of the rider (I had to look up high because he was so tall)  I recognized my  unknown admirer from Hamburg. The man of my secret dreams.

He told me that he had embarked on a bike tour through Germany and decided to travel through Velbert in the hopes of seeing me again.  We were both like in a dream.  We arranged a meeting for after school. I had to make a quick decision. I knew my parents would never allow me to bring a strange young man home. I would meet him in town.

After agonizingly long  hours at school I rushed home and told my mom excitedly that I had to leave right away to do a major assignment with my girlfriend at her place. Meeting my friend in a small cafe in town was wonderful. We got to know each other and discovered lots of common interests, especially the love for books and art.  He planned on becoming a librarian or even the owner of a bookstore. The time passed too fast.  But we decided to meet again the next day.

At home I was in for trouble.  My mother who had a sixth sense had found out about my secret meeting. She kept me at home the next day to prevent me from seeing this strange young man again. I was devastated and helpless. My mother was very strong willed and it was her goal to protect me from mistakes she and my sister made in their youth.

My friend made many attempts to contact me or see me again over the next few months, but his efforts were eventually all foiled.

The budding romance from Würzburg was not destined to blossom like the little rose thrown my way that night in the youth hostel. It  became a faded memory in my favorite novel.



In retrospect I thank my mom. She was an agent of fate to keep me free for my beloved husband Peter.






Back to my Past (1958-62)

Dear readers of my blog,

finally I am continuing with my childhood memories.  In  my last post from that time I told you about a “smelly” prank  which we played on our art teacher. We were lucky that we didn’t all all get kicked out of school except for our class mate who had masterminded this “evil deed.”   She had already a bad reputation for being disrespectful and causing frequent troubles.  She seemed unperturbed by her suspension because she wanted to quit school anyways to have a fun life.. With a big grin on her face and a twinkle in her bright blue eyes she happily waved us good bye

Even without her, we played another prank on a teacher who , however, reacted  with good humor and did not retaliate.

This teacher had newly arrived from the GDR,  the other side of  the divided  Germany as a refugee.  He was a skinny man whose pants would often precariously slide down when he stood at the board  explaining mathematical formulas with great passion for his subject. We, however, tried to figure out or estimate how many times during his lengthy instructions he would pull up his irritating pants. We would stare at him with intense concentration and fascination, which he took as a compliment for his lively teaching style.


One girl in our class was the daughter of the vice principal. She told us that our math teacher  was bragging in the staff room how focused we were on his instructions.  Some of the other teachers had voiced concerns that our class was easily distracted or not attentive during their  instruction times. She also found out our math teacher’s birthday.

We decided to surprise him with a unique and useful gift. On his birthday, our teacher started to present us with a lesson on an especially exciting algebraic problem.  After he had pulled up his deviant pants  frantically  for the tenth time, the top math student asked very respectfully, if we could take a short break.  She informed him that the class wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday and present him with a gift. Our teacher looked perplexed. Maybe he was calculating the odds of such an unusual event happening to him. Teachers at that time never received birthday gifts from students.

The top math student, a quiet girl, politely shook his hand to wish him a happy birthday.  Shyly she handed him a small package while the rest of us shouted our congratulations. A bit hesitantly our teacher started to open the little gift. He looked surprised and slightly amused when he pulled out a pair of fancy suspenders. To his credit,  he was a good sport. He thanked us profusely for this most useful gift. To our delight and a bit of shame he even tried them on before finishing his “exciting” lesson without his usual wardrobe malfunctions.

He must have received another present after school for his birthday;  a pair of well fitting pants. No more need for suspenders. Unfortunately from that day on,  our attention to his instructions left much to be desired.  Did he ever figure out the  unknown variable  for this decline?


By a funny twist of fate,  I married  a math teacher who had the same ” pants sliding problem” during his exciting teaching career.  However, his students never had a bright idea to help alleviate his problem.

This Eventful Summer 2015

Hello friends and readers of my blog.

Before I start to continue  with my childhood memories  again, I’ll tell you a bit more of my experiences this summer while they are  still fresh in my mind.  This post is quiet lengthy.  If you want to read it in  two installments,  there is a break, marked  PART ii

I n my last post I talked about the short but sweet visit of our granddaughters and two sons.

They had hardly left, when school closed for the summer.    Peter and I  decided  to travel right at the start of my holidays to Vancouver Island to visit our middle son Tony and his wonderful partner Lisa.  They had just recently bought their first home and were eager to show it off.   It was a good decision not to delay our travel plans until later in the summer because an unforseen event would have prevented us from going.

Ferryapproach small

Traveling to the coast and taking the ferry to the island is always a great experience for  us.  Each time  I am more in awe of the breath-taking landscapes we travel through.  I let some of the pictures speak because I lack the words and time to describe all that awesome beauty.

Lumby 2


The one and a half hour ferry ride,  especially in brilliant sunshine,  is always exciting.  I  enjoy sitting on the deck with cheerful and relaxed tourists  who are often eager to engage in short conversations to share some of their travel experiences.

BCocean ferry small

This year,  the island looked drier than usual for the beginning of summer  because of the unusually hot spring we had.  However, the life giving presence of the ocean is forever invigorating and exiting.  Peter and I always feel more alive when we walk along the beach and  listen to the waves. the cries of the sea birds, feel the moist, salty air….and are overwhelmed by the majestic view of the magnificent ocean.   It is exhilarating.

Tony beach small

I am so happy that Tony and Lisa found each other and seem to have a loving relationship.  It took Tony a long time to find the right partner and I am glad that he waited. I had almost given up hope when it finally  happened a couple of years ago.  They seem to be right for each other and it is so much fun to be in their company.

Their new home is located in a beautifully treed, landscaped and quiet neighborhood close to beaches, parks and Tony’s beloved golf course.  It is an older house but so well built, designed that newer houses could not compare in quality and beauty.  We were so impressed by the bright, spacious and cheerful rooms tastefully decorated and furnished.

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Living room TL small r

The large deck adjacent to the kitchen  is shaded by a big fig tree and other fruit trees, lush shrubs and vines. The colorful flower garden interspersed with blooming bushes is a delight for the eyes. It feels like an enchanting, magical place especially when you sit under the cool grape arbor. The variety of flowers, shrubs and trees is astounding for such a small  city space.   Tony and Lisa seem excited to take up gardening and asked a lot of questions.

Along the wall leading to the stairs at the back of the house  grows an enormous fragrant Rosemary bush.   I have never seen one so big and healthy looking.  The aroma mingled with lavender and honeysuckle scents is intoxicating.  From the deck you can see two big bird condos on high poles along the fence overgrown with jasmine and honeysuckle vines. This little flower garden is a paradise for birds and butterflies. During our visit  Lisa bought a bird bath and we had fun watching the cheerful feathered friends while eating our meals outside.

Rosemary Biene small

Tony and Lisa spoiled us with their hospitality. Both love cooking and are excellent gourmet chefs. They complement each other. Their meals are light, fresh and healthy. They are delicious and also a feast for the eyes. It is a delight to watch the two prepare a meal together. All their moves are so graceful like dancers especially when they skillfully chop vegetables, slice meat or fruit or assemble ingredients.

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Tony BBQ small 2


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For me it was so relaxing to just sit back and enjoy their delicious creations in the wonderful surroundings. I felt blessed and grateful for their loving companionship. Tony as a child and teenager was not always easy to raise. He caused a lot of worry and stress for a while.

But miraculously he has turned into a loving and successful adult. Peter and I are so proud of him. Young parents take note. Always believe in your children and never give up hope when they go through difficult times in their adolescent years. Stay firm but  loving and always forgive and support.

Victoria is a picturesque place especially on a bright summer day. We explored the scenic beaches near by and the colorful touristy harbor down town.Tony would hunt for the freshest sea food and other ingredients while we leisurely explored with Lisa as our charming guide.

Peter and me small

Shorty before our departure, they invited Lisa’s sister, husband and young family for a BBQ of Buffalo burgers with goat cheese. It was such joy to see how Aunt Lisa and Uncle Tony interacted so lovingly with the  children. The little nephew and the twin nieces clearly adored them and I could see why. They were so attentive and sensitive to their needs and engaged them in fun activities and play. Their big dog Shulo, also part of the clan, was no stranger to us.  Tony and Lisa had brought him on their visit last Christmas when Sarah and Mingo needed a break from him. I hope that Tony and Lisa will have a  family of their own some day.

Far too soon we had to say goodbye. But in Vancouver we had a short stopover and a pleasant visit with Stefan who had just returned from Colombia, one of his many travel destinations. Over a relaxed meal with a big glass of cool beer he told us some of his exciting experiences in South America. From his visit to a coffee plantation he brought us some coffee beans and a big decorative gunny sack. The coffee aroma in the car was so invigorating and tantalizing all the way back.

Stref Biene beer small


columbia small

But  we had to take an unplanned detour route on the way home.  The Coquihalla Highway was temporarily closed because of a forest fire near the highway.  However, our detour turned out to be an exciting little adventure. We had not traveled this wild and scenic route for many years and were impressed by the upgraded highway conditions. I annoyed Peter by frequently begging him to stop to take pictures of the many awesome scenic views. He always declined because we had to make it to Cache Creek in time to find a hotel for the night. But he promised to take me on an exploration and photo shooting trip next year if not sooner. i am always amazed how roads and highways can be build and maintained in such isolated and rugged landscapes.

Part ii

Shortly after our return home, we set up camp at Taite Creek, our beloved forestry campsite close to home at the lake. Over the last few years more and more people have discovered this hidden jewel and have fallen in love with it. Therefore it is not always easy to find a site in the summer. But we were lucky to get a spot in this wonderful summer community. We know almost all the regular return campers, but every year we also meet new and interesting people. Some campers think we live there year round or we are the camp hosts. In the future I will write an exclusive post about this enchanting place and the many exciting experiences we had there over the years.

This summer our stay was marred by an accident. Peter loves exploring the back country to take pictures of the beautiful natural surroundings. He drove his scooter repeatedly up the power line road to get a view of the lake to post on Flickr. Photography has always been his passion and now even more so because he can share his pictures on Flickr and other social media.




He would be so exhilarated after such a  trip returning with beautiful images on his camera.  We would keep in contact with radio phone.  This particular afternoon he was so eager to go for one more short drive he didn’t even change into long pants and boots

Dinner was simmering on the camp stove when I heard the moped approach right on time for supper.  I let out a gasp when i  saw my husband hobble towards the picnic table and sit on the bench  Blood was running from big gashes on his knee and leg.  “That’s nothing”, he said,  “it’s just a little spill. It looks worse because of the blood.  I am fine.”   Before I could question any further he limpd to the  lake and had a short swim to wash off the blood.

During dinner he told me that two big rigs had parked side by side on the road blocking his way. The owners were nowhere in sight. When trying to squeeze by at the side of the road he had slipped and the moped had tipped on his leg.

To make a long story short. Peter initially refused to see a doctor. His cuts and bruises healed quickly. But he stubbornly bore the pain of what he thought to be a sprained ankle.  A camping friend who is a nurse supplied him with pain killers and good advice.

However, eventually he gave in, when more and more people urged him to get medical attention. Reluctantly, he finally  saw the doctor who diagnosed a broken fibular and ordered complete rest. Luckily Mike and Angie had planned a short camping trip with friends. They helped us move home and took over our site.

I became a nurse and chauffeur for Peter for the rest of the summer. Peter at first was scared to death sitting in the passenger seat. But eventually he relaxed. He had to cancel all our travel plans to the Similkameen Valley, which he had so carefully planned through the spring.


With all the forest fires raging through the province, we might not have had the holidays we had dreamed of. Instead we had to enjoy our yard at home which was actually quite relaxing.  I didn’t even have to miss swimming.  Every day, before the afternoon heat i would go for a solitary swim at the boat dock and come back refreshed to look after my patient. Later on, when Peter was allowed to  walk on his crutches with his special boot, he would sit in his chair by the water and watch me swim or take macro pictures of insects or flowers in close range. He would attract friends and strangers eager for a chat.

Boat dock small

I tried to speed up the healing process with  warm comfrey leaf poultices which seemed to give him comfort.  He really looked forward to their applications.

This accident was a reminder that life can change in an instant. Therefore, we should always follow the saying “Carpe Diem” and enjoy every moment of this miraculous life.

May lots of good things come your way.  Until next time, hopefully in a week.

By the way,  Peter is finally almost back to “NORMAL”









Taking a Short Summer Break (June 2015)

Dear friends and followers of my blog.  I just want to let you know that I am taking a short break from writing on my blog.  Some of you may want to catch up reading  older posts.  So here is your chance.

First swim 3

Summers are always too short.   So we have to enjoy every moment in the sun or shade.  We are doing a bit of travelling and camping at my favorite site.  I’ll write about this miraculous place very soon.  I’ll share it with you….soon soon soon.  Until then Happy Summer!





Smelly Childhood Prank (1957)

Dear friends,  after digressing from my childhood memories for  several posts I am now back on track and will continue to tell you about my journey through this miraculous life.

As you may remember I had a fairly strict upbringing.  At the time of my growing up children lived under an authoritarian regime especially at school.  We had to treat our teachers with utmost respect.  Their word was law except at classroom debates and discussions.   If we had sound arguments and could back them up effectively we were allowed to express contrary opinions.

However, children at all times did outrages and even cruel  things and we were no exceptions.   I am still ashamed to remember the prank our whole class played on a teacher.

Our art teacher was a middle aged lady of great proportions  who loved to eat.  She would sit at her front desk in the art room munching away on enormous sandwiches filled with strong smelling  cheeses or odiferous garlic sausages and cold cuts.


Bacon sandwich

Bacon sandwich


Instead of giving us inspiring instruction of drawing or painting techniques  or providing us with shining examples of fine arts she would devour her heavy lunches  leisurely reading the newspaper. Absentmindedly she would sweep away crumbs from her desk with her sausage-like fingers.

sandwich 2

We had the freedom to draw or paint whatever we fancied.  She never showed any interest in our  “masterpieces”.  Her sole interest was directed to her prolific victuals.

Because of our teacher’s  lack of good modeling behavior and lack of interest  one of our class mates was inspired to rouse her out of her lethargy. She wanted to  pay her back on her assaults on our aesthetic sensibilities.  This inspired student asked us to bring smelly soft cheeses to school for the next day.  And I have to admit we all followed her lead without any reservations or scruples and did what she told us. Before our art lessons started  the next morning she directed us to quickly smear the smelly soft cheeses on all the surfaces of the art room especially on  our teacher’s chair and desk.

We could hardly cope with the overpowering stench ourselves  before our teacher entered the room.  Maybe she was already desensitized by these odors. To our secret delight she sat down on the greasy chair without noticing the unusual sheen and smell.

When she calmly started unpacking her lunch,  we politely asked her if something was spoiling  in her bag.  Suddenly she seemed to become aware of the stronger than normal aromas. Bewildered she looked around and  seemed to notice that they came wafting from all sides and not just from the usual place in front of her. That’s when she smelled the “rat”.She left the room and returned in a short while with the principal who was a very proficient “rat smeller”.

Our classmate who had hatched the idea of the plot bravely and willingly accepted the role as scapegoat in spite of our strong protests.  She took her lashes in front of the class with dignity and even humor as we noticed a twinkle in her tearing eye and a tiny smile in spite of the obvious pain and humiliation.


Photo Credit: 123RF.com

The rest of us had to scrub and clean the art room and polish the furniture without the aid of  disintegrating  aromatic cheeses.

From that day on our art teacher seemed to have lost her appetite during art lessons.   She even started teaching us techniques as for example in different  perspectives.

In spite of my  sketchy art lessons I have developed a lifelong love and appreciation for art.  In retrospect I thank my teacher who gave us the freedom and opportunity  to explore our own creativity.


Time Travel to May 2015

My dear friends.  Sorry for taking a detour from my chronological life story again.

This week I have been very busy working in the yard and garden because it is planting season.  And I am also preparing for the visit of our second son Richard and our precious granddaughters Azure and Emeline from Montreal.

Azure  will be six years old in September and Emeline two years old in June.  We last saw them a year ago at our family reunion at the Lake. Mateo, their beloved half brother is unable to accompany them,  He’ll be 16 in June.  When he was Azure’s age he would fly out from Montreal every summer to spend several weeks  with us.

Mateo girlsI am so excited.  We went shopping this weekend for toys and goodies.  i am baking and making ice cream. and Tira Misu.  Stefan. our youngest son is also coming.  All the beds are freshly made and ….

IMG_2273These  rag dolls I made a long time ago.  Maybe they will like them.

IMG_2259This is the custard for the ice cream.  Stefan introduced us to the ice cream maker.  It’s fantastic.  So delicious.

IMG_2267This is one of the many sticker and activity  books.

IMG_2262Some toys,  Bubble blowing should be fun.

These are just samples.   I’ll close my post now.  Maybe next week I’ll talk about the visit and then back to my past.


Settling into Our New Home My Mom the Beloved Host

On my last post I took a short break from my life story to insert a story about my relationship with trees.   Now I will continue where I left off with my biography.

We had finally moved to our new home, a small but brand new apartment situated at the outskirts of town.  From our back windows we could see a mostly deserted rural road.  It was flanked by  fields and meadows,  In the distance  it led to forested hills. My father loved this view especially when there were spectacular sunsets.

My brother and I had a long walk to school along a busy major highway.  But we could also take the public transit bus if we were pressed for time.

As you remember, being late was a major offense in our school and we made sure we always were on time.

One morning, i had overslept, because our mother was ill and did not wake us up in time. When I  was running down the three flights of stairs I remembered that I had forgotten  my bus money.  I tried to run up again as fast as I could.  Almost there, I slipped and banged my forehead against the stone step.  I was bleeding profusely from a wide gap.

My mother frantically called my brother back from the kitchen window and told him to walk with me to an emergency doctor in town since she was not feeling well and could not take me.

My reluctant brother and I walked furtively to town ashamed  to be seen by people who could assume we were playing hooky.  Skipping school without a major reason was considered almost a crime,

The doctor was the father of one of my classmates.  He was very kind and made me feel at ease with his friendly talk.  He did not x-ray my head because he thought it could cause more harm in the long run.  He stitched up my wound and sent me back home.   My brother went to school and I think the principal accepted his excuse for being late.   I was more stressed walking through town on a school day  than by my injury,

As I mentioned before my mother was very hospitable and enjoyed company.  Most of my friends would come to our place to do homework and so did my brother’s friends.

My girlfriends were excited because this way they would have the opportunity to meet some boys.  Since I did not have the best relationship with my brother at that time i was not interested in his friends either and could not understand my girlfriends’ attraction to them.  I will tell some anecdotes about that time in a later post.

My mother was very popular.  She would always provide us with delicious refreshments.  Especially the growing boys always had a ravenous appetite.

IMG_8145One hot day my mom did not have any baking to offer,  So she opened a jar of canned apricots.  She passed them out in little glass bowls,   One of the boys kept on staring at the bowl without starting to eat.  Finally he handed it back to my mom and said with an apologetic tone in his voice,  “Frau Panknin,  I really don’t like raw eggs.”   Needless to say,  we all went into hysterics laughing so hard.  His single apricot in the pale juice did look like yolk.



My   young-at-heart  mom also had a sympathetic ear for all our friends and they would value her advice or feel comforted by her genuine kindness and understanding.  I still have contact with a few friends of that time and they still talk fondly of my mother.

Today is Mother’s Day and I will cut my post short to go out into the sunshine to celebrate Life.   I wish all the mothers a loving and joyful day.  I think mothers will always live in our hearts forever. Forget-me-nots (Vergissmeinnichts)S

I love you forever Mom!