As I probably mentioned in one of my earlier posts the family of my father was a rather large family. My father had five siblings! His younger sister Elisabeth was about the same age as my mother. My mother and father had three children, Elisabeth and her husband Alfred had also three children. We children were similar in age. I was born in 1934, our cousin Horst six months later in 1935; my brother Bodo was born in 1938 and our cousin Karin one year later in 1939; my brother Peter Uwe was born in 1941 and our cousin Udo one year later in 1942.
This means Cousin Udo is the one who turned 70 in September 2012. Peter Uwe and his wife Astrid had told me they were going to drive to the Stuttgart area in time to be there for Udo’s birthday celebrations. And they invited me to come along with them. It would give me a chance to meet up with a lot of our grandfather’s descendants, who would all come to celebrate Udo’s birthday. This was the time when our cousin Renate (our mother’s niece) had just had a severe stroke and it looked bad. Renate’s daughter sent me emails and kept me up-to-date about Renate’s condition. I had the feeling, in case that Renate should die, I should aim at going to her funeral rather than travelling with Peter Uwe and Astrid all the way to Stuttgart. Then I did get the news that Renate had died in a hospital in Munich. She was to be cremated in Munich a few days later when there was to be an urn-burial near where she had lived.
I blogged about it how Peter and I travelled by train to Munich. This meant I could not travel with Peter Uwe and Astrid. They were not very happy about this, because they had already booked accommodation for the three of us. Anyhow, what has all this to do with Saturday, the 10th November 2012? Well, at the time we were still staying with Peter Uwe and Astrid att their house in Mecklenburg/Vorpommern. On this Saturday they suggested we could all travel to Stralsund to meet Uwe, our cousin’s son, as well as his family.
Of course Astrid and Peter Uwe had met the whole family at Udo’s birthday party. Uwe has a wife (I forgot her name now) and four lovely children. To have as many as four children is nowadays rather unusual for a German family in Germany. But anyhow we met them all at their family home in Stralsund. I was very impressed what a lovely well organised family they were. We arrived at lunchtime and they invited us for lunch. Astrid had baked an apple-cake and had mentioned on the phone that she would bring it along. On the way to Stralsund we stopped at a super-market to buy a few sweets for the children and flowers for the lady of the house. Some of the children helped to set the table. They had a huge table in a huge living-room area. Their apartment had very high ceilings and I think about five bedrooms. They lived in a building which was maybe one hundred years old but wonderfully restored and looked as good as new.
The apple-cake was served as a desert with coffee. Uwe had an appointment after lunch and had to rush off. But during lunch we had a really good conversation with the whole family. All the children participated in the conversation too, which impressed me very much. The way the conversation went reminded me a bit about my grandfather in Lodz. I found Uwe was as good a talker as Grandfather had been. And he would draw everyone into the conversation as well. I really enjoyed observing this family and how they related to each other. Alas, we could stay with them only for a very short time. We pointed out that we were about to explore Stralsund a little bit. They gave us good advice, where to go and what would be of interest to see.
Stralsund is situated at the Baltic Sea. Peter took some harbour pictures and some pictures of the beautifully restored buildings in the midst of town. I took some pictures too, but they got lost when my computer crashed. Nobody thought of taking any photos of this lovely family we had been visiting. This I regret very much. But my pictures got lost anyway. There are quite a few pictures that Peter took and I am going to publish them in my next blog.