Memories washed ashore; My grandma and my grandpa in Bamberg


Words is all I’ve got! Images flashing through my mind. Long lost smells reaching my nose.  Memories washed ashore.

‘Apple strudel, a slice of bread with chives on top, yellow sausage (Gelbwurst) with bread and without.
The church bells I could hear from my grandparents terrace in Bamberg, the church bells I could hear, when I was studying in Hildesheim, the church bells I hear ringing now in Penzance.‘ (Extract from Lost memories of the past)

For the first five years of my live, me and my parents lived in my grandparents house in Bamberg. If it would have been up to me, we wouldn’t have moved away. I loved watching eastern german fairy tales on TV together with my grandma and listening to grandpa’s stories, how they escaped from East Germany just before the wall had been built.

‘My grandparents, the ones on my father’s side, came originally from East Germany and just had managed to escape before the wall, dividing the country, had been built. They had quite a few adventurous stories to tell, like hiding underneath the coals in the basement, while soviet soldiers were searching the house for them.
I believe, watching these films on the east german TV channel created a sense of belonging with the place my grandma originally had come from.’  (Extract from Childhood memories – do you still believe in magic? )

My grandma and me, we had a very special bond. In my eyes, she still is the best grandma of all time. I miss her a lot. She’d built tents for me, from branches and blankets. We’d sledge together and she always kept a piece of raw doe for me to eat.  She was so much fun to be with.

‘My grandma used to always send me food parcels to all the places, where I used to live, after I had moved out from my mom’s place.
And she made the best stollen!
There must be a certain “best ever bake gene” in both my grandma and dad!

Around this time of the year, she’d send me one of her famous stollen.
She used to send all sorts of things.
I remember opening one of her parcels, expecting her great stollen, only to find the following ingredients instead:

5 apples, 10 lump sugars, cranberry jelly and a corer.’ 

My grandpa seemed a hard nut to crack. As a child I had a difficult time understanding what he was all about. My grandma never seemed happy in this peculiar marriage. When I grew older I learned to love my grandpa and I realized how much he always had loved me, putting up with me changing the TV channels, when all he wanted to do was numb out with Derrick (one of his favorite crime series).

‘My granddad had an air of grumpiness about him, protecting his soft heart. He laughed rarely.  They  weren’t a good match, my grandma and him. This was a couple that didn’t get each other in the least. When my grandpa for example tried to crack a joke, my grandma would always get it in the wrong throat and hiss something back at him. Even 40 years of marriage didn’t help her to understand his peculiar humor. It was heart wrenching to witness.‘  ( Extract from Trust me, even in his grave my grandpa still smokes and is grumpy!)

I loved especially the  grandparents on my father’s side to bits. And by honouring my memories, washing ashore, I find a piece of myself again. I see the kid, which loved to eat bread with yellow sausage on top (Gelbwurst) and destroy my grandpa’s cigarettes, so that he’d stop to smoke. The past is reaching into the present and the magic is whispering its secrets into my ears.

I hope, that by reading about my memories, you find your own washed ashore.

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5 years ago

Hallo Anja,
schön von Deinen Erinnerungen zu lesen. Vieles ist auch bei mir gerade present, da ich meine Eltern in ein Heim geben musste und Teile des Haushalts auflôste…das war schon heftig und ich wollte es nicht so nah an mich heranlassen… bin immer noch irgendwie “dazwischen”.
Lust auf einen Tee bei mir? Melde Dich und sag, wann es Dir passt!
Viele Grüße von Renate