All of 2018 and 2019, my parents' life revolved around my Dad. He had (and still has) various health problems, some so serious he almost died, and their daily life involves regular administration of medication, keeping appoinments with doctors, a carefully planned diet with regular meals and so on.
All this has meant my Mum has had no mind for writing anything for my blog, resulting in her previous guest post being from just before Christmas 2017. You can read that post here or by clicking on the "Guest Posts" label at the top of this page, just underneath the header.
Today, the 6th of January ("Three Kings" in Germany), is a holiday in my part of Germany, and a very welcome one at that. Most people I know put away their Christmas decorations today and get ready to resume normal life after the Christmas and New Year period, myself included.
While I was in the middle of cleaning, ironing, putting up washing and taking my boxes of Christmas things down to the cellar, my mobile phone beeped with a message from my Mum. She sent me two photographs of a drawing and a poem she had written for her childhood friend when she was a little girl.
I found it very touching (to be honest, the drawing and poem brought tears to my eyes) and texted my Mum back, saying that this would make a good subject for a guest post.
And here, a few hours later, is the post:
A Sweet Memory from the Past
Today I received a WhatsApp message from my best friend Beate with 2 pictures. We have known each other for 74 years, first in kindergarden, then in school. We sat side by side in the classroom, and though we sometimes lived in different towns or even countries, we never lost touch to this day.
She told me in the message that she is busy clearing out her house, and found her old poetry album in the process, which she had believed lost forever.
In our childhood, every little girl had such an album, and all friends, family members and teachers had to write a poem or saying. There were often very strange entries, funny or serious.
Favorite illustrations were stickers with glitter, little pussycats or other pets, but also flowers and fairy-tale motives.
But also watercolour paintings or pencil drawings were much admired, and so I tried my very best, especially with the poem. My handwriting was very bad, I mostly got two different grades in school: For the content a "1" (best!), and underneath my teacher wrote in red letters: „handwriting!!!!“
So I am really astonished about this text, I can't remember, but I must have been very focused while writing. I was 10 years old.
|The poem reads (more or less): "May each of your days be cheerful, glad and happy. Never may sorrow mix in with your joys. In memory of your friend Siegrun Engel."|
Today the kids have such memory books, too, but with printed questionnaires, so that the friend, family member or teacher only has to check answers with a cross, that is not quite the same.
It was a nostalgic glimpse into the past, when my world was still whole and good.
- - - End of Guest Post - - -
Is it any wonder this brought tears to my eyes? To imagine my dear Mum, now 75, at the age of 10*, sitting at the dining table in her parents' house (I guess that is where she sat, with her coloured pencils and her ink pen), concentrating hard on creating something beautiful for her best friend?
When my sister and I were little, we had such albums as well. In our day (we are talking the 1970s here), it was still very much like my Mum's, with drawings or stickers adorning the handwritten poems or proverbs by our friends, relatives and (only select) teachers.
By the way, my handwriting is similarly bad - and like my Mum decades before me, I often had such remarks underneath my essays at school, while I got best grades for their content.
*You can see a picture of my Mum on her first school day in 1950 here.