For 25 years, we at German Life have been hearing stories—via telephone, handwritten letter and email. Inevitably they stem from a story about a town in Germany that we may have just featured or a recipe that brings fond memories of loved ones and special occasions. Or it may be from an issue filed away long ago in the recesses of our collective memory. Regardless, the story recounts what it was like either growing up on the other side of the ocean, how World War II forever changed life as it was known, or how the promise of a better life and adventure in America was so strong for some that they walked away from family, friends and the only home they knew for the promise of what a new country had to offer.
Most of the stories we have heard quickly evolve from a phone call, letter or email that simply requested an address change or similar subscription issue or called our attention to a textual error. Telephone calls can quickly turn into what seems like a visit with your long lost aunt, uncle, or grandparent. And although there are other lines ringing or a day’s work waiting, we seldom have the heart to cut anyone short. Letters often follow a similar pattern but there is a visual path of the thought process. A quick question about a small town mentioned in an article takes on a life of its own and develops into an unplanned reminiscence. As space on the page grows shorter, the writing becomes smaller and smaller and at times difficult to decipher. As a last resort, any spare space in the previously blank margins becomes bloated with additional thoughts.