Friday, 22 January 2010

blood is thicker than water...

whatever my feelings about world history
the fact remains that a smallish university town
in Niedersachsen, Germany
is critical to mine

some of my great-grandparents
and great-great grandparents
are buried here

my grandparents met
at afternoon coffee
in the house of a mathematics professor here
it is also the house in which i am staying

my father was born here
for a very short time
i attended school here

my feet know the way around the town
where the market is
the nice walks along the old town wall
the path up into the forest
and the way to the botanic garden
[to which my great-great grandmother had a private key to a small gate hidden in the town wall]

the pond where i sailed paper boats
aged ten
still ripples in the park

sadly great-great grandfather's house

along with beautiful rose garden and enormous Linden tree

was demolished by the University in the early sixties
it seems they urgently needed the space
for a carpark.


  1. oh how lovely that you can be there, and somewhat a little sad that the university had to demolish that beautiful place

  2. The historical botanical wonders your great- grandfathers's brother brought back from China after the Boxer Rebellion were unique to your great-grandmother's garden. How any self-respecting institution that has both a botany and forestry department can buldoze a pair of 60' tall hazelnut trees is beyond me. Never before or since have I encountered anything to equal them.

  3. it is amazing and sad at what bulldozers can flatten in such a short time-- but at least you have the memories and photos of your rich family history

  4. Oh dear, India. What wonderful memories, and to think that your feet know their way around. I know this sensation I feel it whenever I visit my ancestors in Holland.

    Your ancestor's house makes me think of Joni Mitchell's song - you'd know it I expect: 'They paved Paradise, Put up a parking lot.'

  5. I can imagin how it must have hurt you to see such beauty gone.

  6. ancestral knowledge is an incredible thing.... xo

  7. I'm curious about the gate hidden in the town wall. I suppose it was no longer there. How exciting that your feet remembered where to go.

  8. your feet remember....what a beautiful feeling.


  9. It is a treasure to wander the known pathways, someday I will go home again too.

  10. I felt like I was reading the beginning of a novel. I love your stories. I'm glad your next book will include them.

  11. at my father's house.... it hurts seeing that a good old place has gone, but fortunately you have the memories and the gift to tell to stories to keep it alive !