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Lola Wright, a living Treasure

19 Oct

The Illawarra Mercury published the above story about Lola Wright, written

The following is part of the article which I copied:

“Nothing went to waste in the Queensland bush tent where Lola lived for two years of her transient childhood.

Lola, still smoking away, living in a tiny community in central-western NSW.

Lola, still smoking away, living in a tiny community in central-western NSW.

Each day, her mother would sprinkle the dirt floor with water then sweep it, until the surface underfoot felt as solid as concrete.

The drawers and the kitchen sink were made of split kerosene tins and the legs of the cupboards were cotton reels, stood inside old condensed milk cans filled with kerosene, to deter ants.

Lola slept in a bush bunk made from a chaff bag suspended between two forked tree branches.

The hammock-style arrangement was a marvel of 1930s bush ingenuity, though its frailties were exposed on stormy nights when the family’s frightened collie dog would take refuge underneath, only to later stand up and butt against the bag’s underside, expelling the sleeping child.

The tent had only two real pieces of furniture – a double bed for Lola’s mother and father and a wind-up, Gramophone-style record player. Whatever would come, with Lola there would always be music.

Lola was taught to play the piano by nuns at her school but taught herself the accordion she played in the bush band.

Lola was taught to play the piano by nuns at her school but taught herself the accordion she played in the bush band.

‘‘When [the record player] ran out of needles, you’d use a straw out of the broom,’’ Lola remembers.

From her current home in tiny Morundah, a town near Narrandera consisting of little more than a hotel, some silos and houses for 22 residents, Lola looks back on the bush tent as the last real home of her childhood. She, her mother and little brother Billy had long followed her father from job to job, arriving at the camp in Dotswood Station, where the family’s ‘‘gypsy’’ patriarch cut timber for the railway, in 1934. But her parents soon divorced, and life became more uncertain. Lola was sent to boarding school and never knew where she would spend her holidays, or with which relative. Looking back, she attributes her decision to marry young – at 21, to a man she would later divorce (‘‘a good choice who just went bad as he got older’’) – to a want for stability. ‘‘I lived in a suitcase until I was married,’’ she said. ‘‘Then I had my own flat, my own things in my place – and it was very important to me.’’

Billy had been unwell for much of his childhood and was in care when Lola went to boarding school. Unbeknown to the family then, the eight-year-old had Hunter Syndrome, a rare and serious genetic disorder that mostly affects boys. The condition is caused by a lack of the enzyme iduronate sulfatase. Without this enzyme, compounds build up in various body tissues, causing damage. Lola’s father came to collect her one day, telling her: ‘‘we’ve got to go and bury Billy, he died’’. ‘‘I was a little bit sad but he had nothing to live for, poor little fellow,’’ Lola said.

Tragedy arrived again in 1942 when Lola’s father, Harvey Cowling, became a prisoner of war during the Japanese invasion of Ambon, in Indonesia. Cowling went to Ambon as part of the field ambulance and was captured almost immediately. He remained a prisoner for three years before he emerged weighing about 40kgs, with a pot belly from beriberi. Lola was there to greet him when he stepped off a ship onto Australian soil again, in 1946.

‘‘I couldn’t feel the sad things about him, I just knew it was my father,’’ she said. ‘‘It was just overwhelming to even think about meeting him when he got off the ship. All the love I had for him just flowed out, I couldn’t think about anything else. We were really good mates.’’

Nuns had taught Lola to play piano at boarding school and she later taught herself to play the accordion. She could often play a song after a single listen and had an uncanny ability to remember songs, from the very old songs her grandmother passed down, to the traditional Australian folk songs she picked up around the campfires of her family’s transient days in the 1920s and 1930s. During the 1950s and 1960s, when she campaigned for women’s rights and aligned herself with Communism, she favoured anthems about solidarity and women’s rights.

Her incredible internal archive – estimated to include 600 songs – brought her to the attention of the National Library, whose recordings were discovered by Randwick producer and musical director Christina Mimmocchi. Mimmocchi was struck by the story ‘‘of a very resilient woman’’ and the ‘‘great character’’ that started to emerge alongside the music-focused recordings. The resulting play, Lola’s Keg Night, is a musical memoir adapted by Mimmocchi and Sutherland playwright Pat Cranney, who recognised in Lola a role model and early feminist. In the 1950s nad 1960s she had helped popularise a song called The Equal Pay Song, written to support the campaign for female teachers to be paid the same as their male colleagues. ‘‘She didn’t take being treated badly by husbands,’’ Cranny said. ‘‘She left them if the relationship wasn’t working – she was quite a strong women.’’

Mimmocchi and Cranney drew directly from the library recordings, and Lola’s unpublished autobiography, to develop a verbatim play that will premiere at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre on October 9. They named it after the keg nights Lola and her long-term escort, Bill, would host in their Horsley Road, Oak Flats home in the late 1970s. Lola’s teaching friends, Bill’s fellow wharfies and various Labor Party mates had a tradition of meeting in an area pub on Fridays. But the gatherings were moved to Lola’s when the group’s relationship with the publican broke down. Bill would procure the kegs and Lola would take her piano accordion out on the front porch and oversee rousing sing-alongs. She was encouraging, with a schoolteacher’s authority and a knack for getting everyone involved. ‘‘People follow her instructions, so if she said ‘you’re not to touch that keg until you’ve sung Solidarity Forever’, they’d listen,’’ Mimmocchi said. To the bad singers she gave a set of spoons to play, or a lagerphone.

They were instruments she was well familiar with by then. In 1958, inspired by an appearance by Australia’s first bush band in the musical Reedy River, she formed the South Coast Bush Band with a group of friends and her second husband, Coledale Labor Union icon Jack Wright.

The South Coast Bush Band  was in demand for union demos, fund-raisers and dances.

The South Coast Bush Band was in demand for union demos, fund-raisers and dances.

Lola was the only one with any musical knowledge, but the band was in demand at local dances and miners’ strikes, school fundraisers and trade union functions. In 1959 they played in Petersham Town Hall to celebrate Dame Mary Gilmore’s 90th birthday. In her autobiography, Lola describes how the others compensated for their lack of musical training. ‘‘The blokes were all extroverts with good voices, good presentation and a sense of rhythm,’’ she wrote. ‘‘Normal Mitchell, Winifred’s better half, played the lagerphone – better than any I had heard before or since. Jack Wright played bones that he rattled like a professional. Merv Haberly played mouth organ and Johnny Chalmers played bass – bush bass, that is. That needed no expertise, but his voice was as magnificent as his huge frame.Our band was formed, not to make money, but to spread Australian folk songs. At the time we were being inundated with Yankie Folk Songs and ours, which are equally as good, were being ignored.’’

Lola was a champion for Australian culture and carried this into the classroom over a 40-year teaching career that took her to about 10 Illawarra primary schools. In a submission to a book published in March 2012 to mark the Centenary of Coledale Public school, former student Michelle Harvey recalled her ‘‘incredible teacher’’ from the 1950s. ‘‘She introduced us to a love of learning. We learnt much of our own country and some of its culture. She became an inspiration to me for the way she radiated warmth and responsiveness to us kids.’’ She liked to get kids singing and playing percussion instruments, and led giant sing-alongs in the schoolyard. She was always looking out for the underdog and ‘‘the child who needed extra love’’, said colleague and friend Lenore Armour.

Lola Troy (later Wright) and her first daughter Denise.

Lola Troy (later Wright) and her first daughter Denise.

‘‘But she didn’t muck around. She wasn’t soft, she was absolutly respected’’.

‘‘She was a risk taker, she would bend the rules a bit. She cared about the learner, not the subject, and she had results.’’

Lola had two daughters (her son, Peter, died in infancy), and had two marriages behind he when she started seeing Bill Everill.

Their attraction sparked at a progressive bush dance in Wollongong.

‘‘How are you?’’ asked Lola.

‘‘Any better and I’d be dangerous,’’ Bill replied.

‘‘That’s how I like my men.’’

The dance separated them, but Bill arranged a later introduction. It was love.

‘‘The first thing that struck me was the way his blue eyes could twinkle,’’ Lola said.

‘‘He was a man who was well read, loved music, was gentle and understanding.’’

Bill was married to a Catholic woman who wouldn’t give him a divorce, so he and Lola weren’t married until 1986, 13 years into their courtship. They moved together to an acre of land in little Morundah and had 14 good years together before Bill’s heath started to fail.

Lola nursed him through a suite of illnesses for the last six years of his life, including dementia towards then end.

Bill stayed at home until seven days before he died. At the hospital, a nurse told Lola she had performed the work of five nurses in caring for him.

Lola sat quietly at Bill’s bedside and stroked his hand until he died.

‘‘There was no drama about it except I had a friend with me who was a clairvoyant,’’ Lola said.

‘‘We were in a hospital room and of course it was air conditioned, but she went and opened the window. I asked her why, and she said, ‘to let the spirits in to take Bill’s soul away’.

‘‘A week later she walked in and saw a photo on the table and said: ‘who are they?’. I said, they’re Bill’s maternal grandparents. She said ‘oh my goodness, they’re the ones that came to take him away’.’’

Lola looks back on her bush upbringing and thinks it taught her to be friendly. There weren’t many people around, so was important to get along. ‘‘Often you need things and you can share things – your life and our time and your abilities. I think that it’s the sharing and caring that I got from living in the bush.’’ In Morundah, Lola was still mowing her own lawn until six months ago, when she started making socks for the younger residents, so they will do it for her. She buys her bread from the pub, which doubles as a corner store. On Friday nights you may find her there.

‘‘There’s a good crowd,’’ she said.

‘‘There’s only 22 of us but we’re all good mates.’’


19 Oct


I copied the following from this website:  and

“Lola Wright’s Keg Night” is a musical memoir adapted by PP Cranney & Christina Mimmocchi from the autobiography of Lola Wright. It’s a new verbatim play with music based on the passionate life and times of former Illawarra resident, Lola Wright – teacher, activist, performer, wife, mother, lover. For over forty years, from the 1940s to the 1980s, Lola contributed to the Illawarra’s vibrant social history. Whether teaching nursery rhymes to primary students, establishing the South Coast’s first bush band, playing piano at local dances, singing The Red Flag at miners’ strikes, or leading a sing-along of The Internationale at one of her infamous Oak Flats Keg Nights, Lola’s passion for music, and social justice, left its mark on all who knew her. This is her story in her own words and the music that she loved – an entertaining, audience-participation reading-in-progress performed by Vashti Hughes, Laura Bishop and others.

With thanks to the Alistair Hulett Memorial Fund, the NSW Teachers’ Federation, the National Library of Australia, the Bush Music Club, the Illawarra Folk Club and Merrigong Theatre.

Lola’s keg night? Well, Lola was famous for her parties, where the keg was not broached until sufficient songs were sung! And no one could say they didn’t know the songs as the words were projected onto a screen. After all, she was a teacher.”


Mrs. Wright (Lola Wright)  was principal of Oak Flats Primary School in the 1960s. This is how our children know and remember her. She is 88 now and lives in Morundah, a small town in the South West of NSW with 22 dwellings, a pub and an Opera Centre. (See: In April 2013 we stayed in Fig Tree Motel in Narrandera for one night. It’s a pity we did not know then that Mrs. Wright lives in Morundah very close to Narrandera!

Christina Mimmocchi, the producer of Lola’s Keg Night, says that she had the pleasure of delving into the National Library of Australia’s oral history and folklore archive to seek out old songs . . . . Christina listened to all fourteen hours of Lola’s interviews and recordings for the NLA. So everything in the play has been either said by Lola in her National Library interviews or has been written by her in her unpublished autobiography.

  • Folkloric recording.
  • Lola Wright was born in Childers, Queensland. She recalls her childhood years frequently moving around the country because of her father’s work as a sleeper cutter &​ bushman; graduating from Armidale Teacher’s College, N.S.W, rising to the position of School Principal for Oaks Flats.; settling in the Illawarra, N.S.W. &​ becoming involved with the Communist and Union movement; the local communist party branch’s involvement in local folklore; working conditions for women in the 1950s; her actions as a feminist fighting for equal pay in the education system. She recalls forming &​ running the South Coast Bush Band in the mid-1950s after a visist from the original Bushwhackers to Wollongong; life during mining strikes.


Our family was very interested to see Lola’s Keg Night.  Caroline booked tickets online for six of us  for Saturday night, 11th of October 2014,  at the Merrigong Studio in Wollongong.

The above website shows pictures from the Merrigong Studio. There were individual small tables for the theater goers. There were candles and pictures on each table. Matthew organised the pushing together of some tables for our family group: There were Monika and Mark, Caroline and Matthew as well as Peter and myself. All of us had a terrific evening. In time I warmed up enough to join in the singing of some of the bushsongs. The texts were always displayed on the screen above the stage. Our group took to drinking beer. During intermission I felt that I’d rather have some hot tea to drink.  Matthew soon arrived with a lovely wooden tray with an old fashioned tea-pot on it plus a beautiful cup and a creamer and sugar. I enjoyed this tea very much.

IMG_0119.JPG (2)





Childhood Memories

15 Oct

I publish here a copy of something I had published already in May 2013. I did get some very interesting comments to this post at the time. So I copied all the comments and my replies as well. Some of my new blogger friends might want to have a look at it and maybe some of my older blogger friends also would like to have another look. :-)

This now is what I published in May 2013:

‘I have now two pages about my childhood. One is just “Uta’s Early Childhood”, the other one is “Uta’s Early Childhood, Part II”. In the Part II I inserted today some pictures about my sixth birthday in 1940 plus one picture from summer of 1942. All these pictures were taken during the war, World War II that is, when we lived in Berlin, Germany.

Did we suffer during the first years of war? I don’t think so. Except that my father had moved away from Berlin. He became the manager in grandfather’s furniture factory in Lodz, Poland, which since the German occupation in 1939 was called Litzmannstadt. My father had grown up in Lodz. His family had lived in Lodz since the early 1800s, when this part of Poland belonged to Russia.

My father had studied in Leipzig, Germany. In 1930 he had married my mother in Leipzig. During the early years of their marriage they had for the most part lived in Berlin. Sometime during the early war years my father had some disagreements with some Nazi people he worked with in Berlin. I think he didn’t voice his disagreements publicly. Had he done so, he may have ended up in a concentration camp!

In the end he was allowed to remove himself from Berlin. As I said he became then the manager in grandfather’s factory. My mother typically chose to stay with us children in Berlin. We only went for some visits to “Litzmannstadt”.’

Submitted on 2014/10/15 at 9:49 am | In reply to auntyuta.
Just now I did re-read this whole post and all the comments. As Peter says, between “Will” and “Reason”, “Will” will always win. I think this is because most people will their emotions let their thinking rule. Well, this is the way it is, this is what humans are like.

To come back to how children experienced the Nazi area in Germany, one book, that deals with this, comes to mind. I read it only recently. It is set in a small place near Munich in southern Germany. I lived near Berlin and in Leipzig during the last years of the war. So I have no experience what life was like for children in Bavaria during these war years in Nazi time. However what Markus Zusak tells us in his historical novel THE BOOK THIEF sounds absolutely believable to me.

In the next comment section I post some details about the book from Wikipedia.

Submitted on 2014/10/15 at 9:30 am

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the novel. For the film adaptation, see The Book Thief (film).
The Book Thief
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak book cover.jpg
1st Edition front cover
Illustrator Trudy White
Cover artist Colin Anderson/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images
Country Germany
Language English, German
Genre Novel-Historical Fiction
Publisher Picador, Australia; Knopf, US
Publication date
2005(Australia); 14 March 2006 (worldwide)
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)
Pages 550

The Book Thief is a novel by Australian author Markus Zusak.[1] Narrated by Death, the book is set in Nazi Germany, a place and time when the narrator notes he was extremely busy. It describes a young girl’s relationship with her foster parents, the other residents of their neighborhood, and a young Jewish man who hides in her home during the escalation of World War II. First published in 2005, the book has won numerous awards and was listed on The New York Times Best Seller list for over 230 weeks.[2]

Submitted on 2013/05/21 at 11:05 am | In reply to Robert M. Weiss.
Robert, you are spot on with your overall view of history. I always say, that the 2. WW was a continuation of WW I as it was finished in an unsatisfactory way. Meaning, nobody was thinking about the future. Versailles was a disaster. A much better solution was found at the end of WW II. The Germans, at the end of WW I, were hoping that Wilson’s 14 Points would be adhered to.

As a result “The humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles”, as you say, let to the rise of Hitler.

You say further “By borrowing heavily from German mythology, Wagner, the concept of the ubermensch, Hitler instilled in the young a burning pride in Germany’s future. Hitler was also influenced by Schopenhauer’s “Will to Power”. This idea is the subject of a book. “The Jew of Linz” by Australian writer Kimberly Cornish

Cornish has been criticised too, but I found it an interesting read on a certain view point of history. Schopenhauer stipulates, that in a contest between “Will” and “Reason”, “Will” will always win.

Submitted on 2013/05/21 at 10:27 am | In reply to The Emu.
The disagreement with the Nazis was on two levels: personal and about the conduct of war.

Personal: When Hitler came to power he joined the party as a “good” public servant would. Later the life style of his wife could have headed for divorce. This was intolerable for the Nazis and they asked him to discipline his wife or he could not remain a member of the party.

Contact of War: After the Sportpalast Speech

in which Goebels called for “Total War” to be waged. Uta’s father was of the opinion that it was pure propaganda. As an economist he could see that many mistakes were made and the German industry and population were not put on a war footing. He criticised the use of forced labour and called for the utilisation of German women in industry. Only 33% of women were working. Working women was an anathema for Hitler.

He wrote a Memorandum to Hitler and for his effort was hauled in front of Martin Bormann, secretary of Hitler, who advised him not to insist on sending the Memorandum to Hitler. Instead they sent him to the “Ostfront” because he was a Russian speaker.

This is the stuff novels are written about. A lot of what we know is only bits and pieces. Adults did not talk to children about it. Later, yes, but not all came to light.

Submitted on 2013/05/21 at 7:59 am
Thanks for this very insightful reply, Robert.

” . . . . nationalism has been responsible for many wars.” This is a known fact. Still, leaders don’t want to learn from this and continue to promote it.
Will there ever be a time when mankind can live in peace without any wars?
Maybe if there’s an outside threat we’ll then be acknowledging our common humanity.

So he marched to the death camp with his children . . . . . I wonder how many children were with him.

Is it that the Nazis rigorously went to eliminate everything that seemed foreign to them?Do a lot of people to this day have an innate fear about this what doesn’t fit into their view of the world?

I think not many people are interested in understanding the historical process. They are just interested in how they see their own little world, which is an island surrounded by things that frighten them. Does this lead to fundamentalism? Can fundamentalists live peacefully together with non-fundamentalists or other fundamentalists? If they don’t want peace, what do you do? Eliminate them? Every religion teaches you not to kill unless you are attacked. So for instance Talibans want to kill us. So we are allowed to kill them. Aren’t we? No objections to killing Talibans. Too bad if a few other people get killed along the way. And so it goes. No wonder I need prayers to stay sane. Because the historical process goes on whether I like it or not.

Robert M. Weiss
Submitted on 2013/05/21 at 3:00 am
Janusz Korczak was offered an opportunity to escape from Poland, but he did not take it. Instead, in 1942, he marched with his orphan children to the death camp of Treblinka…. No doubt people in great psychological need follow cults, and often utilize unhealthy coping mechanisms. What happens with countries brings matters to a larger scale, and nationalism has been responsible for many wars. The humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles, the rampant unemployment, and other factors went into the cauldron of Nazi Germany. Hitler’s genius was to work with the young people, and gain their support in actively supporting the Third Reich and its goals. By borrowing heavily from German mythology, Wagner, the concept of the ubermensch, Hitler instilled in the young a burning pride in Germany’s future. Hitler was also influenced by Schopenhauer’s “Will to Power”, the incendiary speeches of Bismarck, and the methods of American advertising… History is composed of a series of reactions and counter reactions. Perhaps one day we will succeed in isolating the variables responsible for the vagaries of history, and gain a more precise understanding of the historical process.

Submitted on 2013/05/20 at 9:02 pm | In reply to auntyuta.
HiI Uta – yes, no, yes. I’m writing a memoir that gets added to sporadically, but haven’t published many old photos from that time. Maybe I should!

Submitted on 2013/05/20 at 3:10 pm | In reply to The Emu.
“The Marshall Plan (officially the European Recovery Program, ERP) was the American program to aid Europe, in which the United States gave economic support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to prevent the spread of Soviet Communism. . . .”
Ian, this recovery program helped Germany enormously after WW II. Whereas what happened after WW I was a terrible disaster for Germany. The result was that the Nazis came to power!
The disagreements my father had with the Nazis had to do with the war. But sorry, I cannot recall properly what my father said about it. Anyhow the way I remember it, my father was objecting to the way the war was conducted. I think he moved to “Litzmannstadt” towards the end of 1940. This for instance would have been long before Pearl Harbour!
For a great part of 1941 we stayed with the grandparents in Poland.
By August 1941 we were back in our apartment in Berlin (without my father of course). In September 1941 I started school. I was then aged seven already! My second brother was born in October 1941.
My first school reports say my father’s occupation was “Betriebsführer” (Manager).
He was born in 1904. During the first war years he was regarded as being too old to be conscripted. But by 1943 his year, that is men having been born in 1904, were being called up for military duties. After some training my father was made straight away to be an officer. He was sent to the Eastern front.
He came back from the war with his health ruined. For many years after the war he suffered from these health problems without getting any support from my mother I might say. But his sisters and the sisters families as well as his mother who were all refugees from Poland, well everyone in his extended family supported him to the best of their ability. Eventually he did recover and was able to get full employment. At about 1949 my mother got a divorce from him. In the 1950s when he was gainfully employed again and his health had improved a lot, he asked my mother to marry him again. She refused.
He married his secretary in 1959. In 1966 he died of prostate cancer.

The Emu
Submitted on 2013/05/20 at 11:37 am
Very interesting Auntyuta, to read of your background in those years, virtually a first hand account and must be recorded and handed down into your family and put into book form.
It intrigues me as to the disagreement your father had with the Nazi;s, maybe you could elaborate on this Auntyuta.
A great historical reading.
Emu aka Ian

Submitted on 2013/05/20 at 7:58 am | In reply to catterel.
Hi Cat, do you write a lot about your early childhood and do you have pictures of that time published? Do you find you cannot disclose too much about people who are still alive? It’s great for your kids to be told by you what life was like in the 1940’s and 50’s.

Submitted on 2013/05/20 at 7:46 am | In reply to Robert M. Weiss.
Hi, Robert, I have the feeling what you say about Hitler may be absolutely right. My generation (after all I was only a child during the Hitler years) on the whole has learned not to trust people like this.
Aren’t there certain people around in certain countries who somehow are able to get followers when clearly if they only started thinking a bit for themselves maybe they couldn’t be followers? Sadly people in general go more by their feelings and what’s in it for them rather than thinking about the consequences of their support. Aren’t most people selfish? If something is promised that advances them they go for it, don’t they?
I guess Janusz Korczak was a remarkable educator, right? I think you mentioned him in one of your blogs. But I can’t recall any details. Did he for instance survive the war years? Did he have family? It is of course admirable if people stand up for what they believe in.
The best example where protests by a lot of people resulted in an immense change happened in the Eastern part of Germany. The fall of the Iron Curtain, which for years and years looked rather impossible, all of a sudden was possible in a rather peaceful way. That it went ahead peacefully was thanks to some noble people who restrained themselves from interfering.
War and Peace, War and Peace, maybe this is the fate of mankind for ever and ever. Didn’t Orwell say, some people when they say peace mean war? Our previous Primeminister Keating here in Australia used to fight a lot in parliament. His attitude was it was better to fight in parliament rather than attack each other in the street.

Robert M. Weiss
Submitted on 2013/05/20 at 2:24 am
Many people at that time didn’t voice their opinions openly. Janusz Korczak, the Polish educator, did. He walked through the streets of Warsaw wearing his Polish army uniform, and was put in jail for his efforts… I continue to be amazed how the Germans could have supported such a madman as Adolf Hitler, which he clearly was. He misused Darwinism, Nietzsche, and never followed his main tenet: to produce children for the Fatherland. Perhaps he knew that that he was the most misbegotten cross and handicapped person of them all.

Submitted on 2013/05/20 at 12:10 am
Yes, do please write about your childhood. It was so different then, and personal memories make it come alive for our children and grandchildren. My early life in England (1940’s and 50’s) seems like tales from a distant planet when I reminisce to the kids!

Submitted on 2013/05/19 at 4:36 pm
Hi Diana, thanks for the comment and welcome to my blogging. I read your about page and am interested in what happened to you when you turned forty. I remember, a long time ago when I turned forty my life seems to have undergone some kind of a change.
A lot of the subjects you write about look very interesting to me. I want to do some reading of your blogs pretty soon.
Cheerio, Aunty Uta.

Holistic Wayfarer
Submitted on 2013/05/19 at 1:51 pm
Keep writing. That was a fascinating era — and we are just so comfortable these days. We don’t appreciate what our parents and grandparents endured to sustain the basic things we take for granted.

Our World Tour in 1990 (reblogged)

13 Sep

The Mont Blanc Tunnel turned out to be an absolute horror for us. I guess when this tunnel was built they had no idea by how much traffic would increase, and especially how much these big trucks would pollute the air. I reckon these days they make sure that ventilation remains okay. Certainly they would not any more build a tunnel with only one lane in each direction. The Mont Blanc Tunnel goes for 11 kilometres without any interruptions!!    We had liked it in France and in Switzerland but  we were happy when we finally arrived in Italy.  Our beautiful 2CV had made it!

The following I copied from a Google page.

Tin snail, or timely saviour? The Citroen 2CV was mocked by many in its 40-year lifespan, but in the impact it had on cheap personal transportation it ranks alongside other greats like the Mini, Beetle and Land Rover.
The last ‘official’ 2CVs were built by Citroen in 1990, but now, against a background of rigorously policed speeds and closely scrutinised running costs, restored versions of the four-seat convertible are once again being built – in Wiltshire. And they’re finding a ready market among drivers looking for character, fun and an escape from depreciation.

This is a picture of the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

This is a picture of the Mont Blanc Tunnel.

We stayed in different hotels during our trip through Italy. In Rome we found a very reasonably priced hotel close to the Vatican.

It was a Wednesday when we turned up at the Vatican. Lots of tourists had arrived in buses from Germany on that day. They thought we had come with them from Germany. The Pope greeted the tourists in German. We could hardly see him for he was a great distance away from us.

It was a Wednesday when we turned up at the Vatican. Lots of tourists had arrived in buses from Germany on that day. They thought we had come with them from Germany. The Pope greeted the tourists in German. We could hardly see him for he was a great distance away from us.


We spent a lovely day in Venice, we also had a look at the leaning tower of Pisa. But I have no picture of it. Here is another picture with Caroline and me in Venice.


From Italy we went to Austria and from there for a trip to Bayrischzell along the Alpenstrasse. On the way we had a look at Salzburg, the birthplace of Mozart. On the Alpenstrasse we were caught in a blizzard. After a stay over at Bayrischzell we tried to reach the Zugspitze, the highest mountain in Germany. But it was bad weather. This is why the cable cars to the top of the Zugspitze were not in operation.

Here is what I Wikipedia says about the cable cars:

“Three cable cars run to the top of the Zugspitze. The first, the Tyrolean Zugspitze Cable Car, was built in 1926 and terminated on an arête below the summit before the terminus was moved to the actual summit in 1991. A rack railway, the Bavarian Zugspitze Railway, runs inside the northern flank of the mountain and ends on the Zugspitzplatt, from where a second cable car takes passengers to the top. The rack railway and the Eibsee Cable Car, the third cableway, transport an average of 500,000 people to the summit each year. In winter, nine ski lifts cover the ski area on the Zugspitzplatt. The weather station, opened in 1900, and the research station in the Schneefernerhaus are mainly used to conduct climate research.”

We made it to Neuschwanstein Castle just a few minutes before they were about to close. O our way back to Austria we stayed near Ober-Ammergau. We had accommodation in a pleasant hotel. When we woke up in the morning, our car was covered in snow.


Then back to Windischgarsten where Peter’s sister Eva lives with Harald, her husband. Harald built this house all on his own:


Eva and Harald with their dog Blinki in early 1983.

Eva and Harald with their dog Blinki in early 1983.

We stayed with Eva and Harald over Easter. Peter’s other sister, Ilse, had come also with husband Klaus and sons Daniel and Stefan. Ilse and her family live in Berlin. They all still live there. After Easter we travelled to Berlin. My Mum lived in a seniors’ home unit at the time. We took her in our 2CV to the Brandenburg Gate which was being restored after the Fall of the Wall a few months earlier.




24 years ago Mum was 79,  about the same age that I am now!

Here is Peter with my brother Peter Uwe in Berlin, Adenauer Platz.

Here is Peter with my brother Peter Uwe in Berlin, Adenauer Platz.

After returning our car in Paris we spent a few great days exploring the city, staying in a lovely old hotel.

Caroline is only eleven. I think she looks pretty grown up already!

Caroline is only eleven. I think she looks pretty grown up already!

Caroline and Peter did get into the shot I took!

Caroline and Peter did get into the shot I took!

Waiting for our flight at the airport. Caroline took this picture. This hat I wear was still pretty new then. I still have it and wear it sometimes!

Waiting for our flight at the airport. Caroline took this picture. This hat I wear was still pretty new then. I still have it and wear it sometimes!

As I mentioned in the first Part, we spent three days in Anaheim to visit Disneyland. Here is just a sample of some Disneyland photos.



You can see Caroline in the cup to the right.

You can see Caroline in the cup to the right.

Our Trip in 1990 (reblogged)

13 Sep
In Singapore we went to the Zoological Gardens. Peter and Caroline had breakfast with an Orangutan.

In Singapore we went to the Zoological Gardens.
Peter and Caroline had breakfast with an Orangutan.


This is a picture that Caroline took at Sydney Airport before our Departure.

This is a picture that Caroline took at Sydney Airport before our Departure.

Gaby had come with David. Also Monika was there to farewell us. This was 24 years ago, meaning that none of Monika’s girls had been born yet, but Monika had  of course already Troy and Ryan. They were ten at the time.

Here, Caroline is in the picture  too, meaning we are to be seen here with all three daughters!

Here, Caroline is in the picture too, meaning we are to be seen here with all three daughters!

In  In Singapore we went to this Chapel.

In Singapore we went to this Chapel.

We also went on a temple tour

We also went on a temple tour

Our Hotel had a Swimming Pool at the Top of the building.

Our Hotel had a Swimming Pool at the Top of the building.

This was the View from the Top of the Building.

This was the View from the Top of the Building.

I enjoyed our Stay in Singapore.

I enjoyed our Stay in Singapore.




After Singapore our next destination was Paris. I already mentioned in Part One that we picked up a 2CV in Paris.
We did a bit of sightseeing in Paris, where we had booked a hotel for two nights. Then we did drive through country area. Close to where the Mt Blanc Tunnel leads towards Italy we had some overnight stops at a hotel which had very basic accommodation. The good thing was, that from there it was not far to Switzerland. We had a few excursions to Geneva. I am sure we made some pictures there but unfortunately cannot find them at present. I have no idea, why they are not in the books with all the other pictures from this trip.

We arrived at this hotel in the evening and were happy to stay there for it was reasonably priced and the owners were very friendly.

We arrived at this hotel in the evening and were happy to stay there for it was reasonably priced and the owners were very friendly.


Corinna and the Family

27 Aug

Corinna, my niece, is the daughter of Klaudia and my brother Peter Uwe. She is the one who introduced me to WordPress. And this is how I came up with the blog name Aunty Uta.

Corinna has a son named Carlos Emilio. It was his birthday the other day and I forgot it. I am really becoming very forgetful! Corinna’s partner and the father of Carlos is Walter. Carlos has an older half-brother who lives with his mother but comes regularly for visits. The two brothers get on very well together.

So this is a bit more history. For an outsider all these names and connections may be rather confusing. I too seem to get to that stage now, where it is somewhat difficult to keep up with all the names. This is why it is good for me to write everything down. This way everything may stick a bit better in my memory. Also some of my descendants could in future perhaps be interested in all this, that is, if, what I write down is going to be preserved somehow for posterity!!

Maybe I am going to publish my posts about marriages and divorces and separations and partnerships in my “pages” one day to keep them all together. That way someone who is interested in my family can look it up all at once. I find it interesting to contemplate about different living arrangements that people have. Looking at my extended family there are various examples of different ways of living together. What about single persons? Well, there are not many in my family that I can think of. But there are some. I can also think of one single parent with one child. Most divorced people in my family seem to have ended in some kind of new relationship, either a new marriage or just a partnership.

I think I did not mention one brother of my father who as a widower married a widow. Other widowed relatives stayed on their own after their spouse passed away. And so it goes. All my relatives, who were older than I, seem to have passed away now. I cannot think of any that are still alive. That means I am well and truly the oldest in my family!! :-)

In Peter’s family I can think of several people older than him who are still alive: For instance his two sisters, also cousins Margot and Renate. I had three older cousins on my father’s side: All are dead. However there are a number of younger cousins that are still alive. I really would like to see all of them one more time.

On my mother’s side there were only three cousins all together, all older than I. Come to think of it, one of the cousins, Wolfgang, the son of my mother’s brother, may still be alive. He is eight years my senior. So I am probably not the oldest after all!! :-)

Wolfgang’s twin sister, Renate, died in October 2012. At the time we happened to be in Berlin for a visit. Renate died in Munich. We travelled from Berlin to Munich for Renate’s funeral. Soon after I wrote a blog about this.

She is my Friend

26 Aug

I am referring here to my ex-sister-in-law. I say “ex” since her marriage to one of my brothers ended in divorce. The word ‘divorce’ did come up a lot in my last two blogs already as you may have noticed.

I am happy to state that Klaudia, my ex-sister-in-law, is my friend. Never mind that she is not married to my brother any more. Klaudia is a beautiful, outgoing, fun loving person with a soft heart in a brusque exterior. My brother Peter Uwe always respected her, I think. Not so my mother. It seemed to me, there was a bit of friction between my mother and Klaudia.

When Peter Uwe met ‘the other woman’, he had been married to Klaudia for a number of years and their daughter was already an adult. The other woman was Astrid. Astrid left her husband to be with Peter. Her two well brought up sons were totally accepted by Peter Uwe. Astrid and her ex shared the boys. As far as I can tell, there was no friction. Astrid’s ex seemed to totally accept Astrid’s new relationship. And the boys were quite happy with all the arrangements.

With Klaudia, this was a different matter. Klaudia kept contact with the family. When Peter and I, as well as our daughter Caroline, were visiting in 1994. She often came over to see us. It was all right if Peter Uwe was there, especially when their grown up daughter Corinna was present too. In the beginning my dementia suffering mother was mostly part of our family group too. Klaudia did not like Astrid being around. It so happened that on weekdays Astrid was not always present. Her employment kept her away. But even when Astrid was around, Klaudia would try to make “eine gute Miene zum bösen Spiel”, meaning she tried to hide her resentment.

I want to get to it now how our own children fared. Daughter Monika separated from her husband when the twins were still quite young. A few years later she got a divorce from Ron, her husband. Many years later it turned out that Ron’s second wife did not like it, that Monika, still carried her ex-husband’s name. In the end Monika gave in and thought it was better for her to go back to her maiden name. She did not mind to become a Hannemann again. Daughter Gaby never married. Daughter Caroline has had a partner for a number of years who happens to be divorced with two children. Having never married Caroline still is a Hannemann. And son Martin is another Hannemann. Two of Martin’s children carry also the Hannemann name.

Monika’s twin sons carry the name of their father and Monika’s three girls carry also their father’s name which is Adami. The girls grandmother, Frieda Adami, died last week. We all went to her funeral yesterday. Friedel has had a very tough life. We used to know her well. She was always a very friendly woman. She had three sons. Only two were at the funeral yesterday. Her husband had been severely injured as a passenger in a horrific car accident. He lived for 25 years as an invalid at home with Frieda looking after him. The sons were still kids when the accident happened.

Martin married Elizabeth. They have had a difficult separation for many years. During the time of separation Martin had a lovely daughter with a single woman. Lauren, the daughter, is sixteen now. Martin always stayed friends with Lauren’s mother and cared for Lauren in any way he could.

Monika is a devoted mother and now grandmother. She has no more contact with the girls’ father. Monika, her daughters, as well as Mark and his daughter all live together in Mark’s house. We like Mark very much.

The heading of this post is that Klaudia is my friend. I am very happy to call her my friend. And she is a very good friend of Peter’s too.

By the way, my other brother, Bodo, never married. Once he nearly married a woman who had already two children. I think my mother had objections to him marrying this woman. Bodo ended up with huge problems. Alcohol became his downfall. Both my brothers had been teachers. Peter Uwe is in his seventies now and long retired. He and Astrid own a bit of property north of Berlin renting out four very nice units in a secluded little village. Bodo had to retire quite early, but still gets a good pension. His life as an alcoholic took many bad turns. He is well into his seventies now. Some time ago he had the good fortune to be accepted in a home where he is well looked after. He is not allowed to look after his own money any more and gets only a small amount of pocket money each day which he spends on liquor and cigarettes.


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