Letter # 22
The latest news to keep you informed
to you all!
Christmas brings back many memeories - memories of childhood days and how things were in
that almost mythical place "back home." Well, thanks to the internet, "back
home" is not all that far away anymore and after a bit of searching, I discovered
several pictures of my old hometown Braunschweig in Germany which brought back plenty
(Christmas Market) in the "Burgplatz" seems to have hardly changed at all,
right down to the Gingerbread House which looks just like I remembered it from my childhood
days. Even though I couldn't afford to buy any more than the occasional candied apple or
fairy floss on a stick, I was there every day and often stayed until
well after dark when all the coloured nights were turned on and the smell of "Bratwurst"
and freshly roasted nuts wafted through the icy air.
Later, in the three years from 1960 when I served my articles in the insurance office of the
"Hamburg-Bremer Feuer- Versicherungsgesellschaft" just around the corner from the
"Burgplatz" in the "Münzstraße", I would often visit
a tiny 7 m² book antiquariat tucked away in a corner of the "Burgplatz."
Imagine my surprise when I found on the internet a photograph of the very same bookshop
still in business today! Some things never change! It almost
makes me want to go back and rummage through those old books again.
Karl May for me in those days; I had already progressed
"Wanderer, kommst Du nach Sparta..."
("Stranger, Bear Word to the Spartans We...")
Erich Maria Remarque's "Im Westen nichts Neues"
("All Quiet on the Western Front"). For some lighter reading, I read and
Heinz Helfgen's "Ich radle um die Welt",
Heinrich Harrer's "Sieben Jahre in Tibet"
("Seven Years in Tibet"), and
Thor Heyerdahl's "Kon-Tiki".
Another one of my heroes was Dr Albert Schweitzer
who did such beautiful humanitarian work at
Lambaréné in Gabon.
All our dreams begin in youth.
There hasn't been much change in Braunschweig's "Münzstraße" either!
the right-hand side of this photograph taken from the internet, I still see the
very building I served my articles in: it has a white car parked alongside it and a yellow
"Café" sign to its right. My office was on the top floor facing the
street. The windows overlooked a large gap in the buildings
on the other side of the street which has since been built out. The "Rathaus"
(Town Hall) is just down the street.
This picture of an apartment building which was recently "saniert"
(redeveloped) could be the one I grew up in along the "Cyriaksring", except that it now
has fancy balconies added to it and even fancier roof-top apartments. The original
structure is still as I remember it. Mind you, in my days none of the tenants owned a car let
alone a Mercedes! Some things do change after all!
Best wishes and
from us all!
Peter & Padma & Malty & Rover
and the Possum in his Possum Penthouse, the resident kangaroo,
the almost-tame kookaburra, and all other creatures great and small.
26 December 2004
P.S. Almost everything can be found on the Internet these days! I have just discovered
several pages with pictures of my old hometown Braunschweig:
the Steinweg and
both of which I used to walk daily on my way to and from work in the Münzstraße when I lived
on the Altewiekring;
which I visited often on weekends by pushbike when I would sketch the old buildings.
I even found a
of the location in the little village of Croya near Wolfsburg where my father for a short time
leased the guesthouse attached to the then still existing railway station!
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