Friday, May 21, 2010

Into the maple tree

Sometimes I feel like in the far back days, when I used to climb a tree to read... My grandmother's estate had large old trees, some with gnarled low hanging branches.
One particular Japanese maple tree sweeping over an old empty stone fountain was my hiding and reading place on hot summer days. The stone basin below kept it cool and I would sit in the shade with an old blanket to make it comfortable. Apples or cherries within reach!
You can see the rim of the old stone basin right behind my father and I. (On my first birthday!)

Grandma's house in Heidenau, near Dresden, Germany

This is one of the few pictures I have from those childhood days in what was then East Germany. The house and steam engine factory were taken away by the communists since my grandparents were considered capitalists and needed to be "equalized". It became State property and over the next 40 years would be run down completely. (No meaningful reparations were made after the collapse of the GDR!)
After my grandfather's death in 1948 my grandmother and my mother were allowed to live in two rooms of their former glorious Italianate villa. The upstairs bedrooms and servants quarters were partitioned and rented to tenants. So were the above ground basement rooms which used to be gardeners and cooks quarters.
As a child I used to roam the house from attic to basement. On cold evenings going into the wine cellar with only a candle to find the right bottles was creepy enough! Imagine one bulb hanging from the ceiling, barely lighting the dark hallway and a musty cold smell, small wooden partitions and dust and mice everywhere!
It held at the time only home made apple and cherry cider, jams and the occasional bacon hanging from the ceiling. I loved all of it!
But I digress...or...?

Sitting this sunny morning in the veranda/office of our house I see into the wonderful Japanese maple tree, which let's me wander back in time. I remember so many things.
And looking at the branches could I find a cozy spot to read? Or just star gaze at night...perhaps now I would prefer a swing...


This morning after dusting my bookshelves I held grandma's photo and it transported me back, far away to a land, that no longer exists...

Dearest grandma, I wish I could talk to you now....

Last night I began reading a most delightful novel by Alan Bradley and I have a feeling this helped too dreaming back in time. The heroine, 11 year old Flavia de Luca, a sleuth with a knack for chemistry brings me back to the summer of 1950. A series of inexplicable events has struck Buckshaw, the decaying English mansion that Flavia's family calls home.

Sentences like this hold me hostage:

" old Rolls-Royce Phantom II, which now resided in the choach house. It had actually been Harriet's, and it had not been driven since the day the news of her death had come to Buckshaw. Furthermore, although Father was not a driver himself, he would permit no one else to touch it.
Consequently, the coachwork of this magnificent old thoroughbred, with its long black bonnet and tall nickelplated Palladian radiator with intertwined Rs, had long ago been breached by field mice that had found their way up through the wooden floorboards and nested in its mahogany glove box. Even in its decrepitude, it was sometimes still spoken of as "The Royce," as people of quality often call these vehicles."

Or this one:

"The pit shed was the outbuilding farthest away from the library's main building. Tottering percipitously on the river's bank, it was a conglomeration of weathered boards and rusty tin, all overgrown with moss and climbing vines. In the hayday of the motor showroom, it had been the garage where autos had their oil and tires changed, their axles lubricated, and other intimate underside ajustment seen to."

Now this book is not about cars and garages at all...It is an enthralling mystery, a piercing depiction of class and society, a tale of deceptions and a rich literary delight.

I think all this together put me on this time travel track.

And since it's Friday I still show you my flowers which I grow in the garden and some inside from the hothouse or warmer climates...

This rose is actually taller then me...

It's about books again you will say....yes, and memories attached to them!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Pictures by V.Zlotkowski and as indicated.


  1. Oh, fabulous post! It is wonderful that you know all about your family's history, so many people don't, and are able to remember it is clearly, just lovely!

  2. Lovely post about your grandmother!

  3. Truly one's history and childhood will carry all through life. Thank you for sharing your childhood to all of us. I lost my grandmother when I was young and there certainly are questions that I think we would all love to ask them. :) Have a wonderful weekend!

  4. I love how you take us along on each journey, inspired or sparked by words, nature, scentiments and a love for life.
    Your Grandmother would be proud and I see the "nose" is in the genes!

  5. A beautiful story. I must get hold of this book. I thought the writing is quite beautiful. I fall in love with your flowers which brighten up my day! Thank you.

  6. Hi!

    I love how your stories of old and what they mean to you are shared from time to time. To have had so much taken from lives is such a shame.

    Genealogy is one of my hobbies. I too wish it was possible to once again spend time and talk with my grandparents.

    You have given me another book for my reading list. I have my latest book club read, An Unfinished Season, to start and two novels to finish before I even think about another book.

    I will picture you up in a tree reading your book this weekend

  7. how i miss the house, the garden with your beautiful and beloved plants... how i miss sitting with you and having conversation take us to far away places. how it is good to share these memories of yours - even though i wasn'tg there of course..
    es ist sonntag, die musik von deinem blog schallt durch die potsdamer wohnung, die lisa und ich zur zeit bewohnen. lisa macht etwas frühstück. und ich muss jetzt rübergehen und ihr helfen! das ist sonst unfair : )
    ich drücke dich, meine liebe! es war wie immer eine freude hier vorbeizuschauen!
    p.s.: davor hab ich mir übrigens den blog von dieser katie angesehen.. ganz, ganz toll! du bist so gut darin, sowas zu finden! wie machst du das nur immer, hm?

  8. Loved hearing about your past and snippets of a childhood in Europe. Will travel back in time anytime with you!

  9. What a lovely sentimental post. It is a shame what happened to your family in Germany. I am sure your experience there makes you appreciate what you and your family have now in the United States. It is very scary to think of anything like that happening here but could if we take our freedoms for granted (trying not to get too political!). I loved seeing your pictures too. Thank you for sharing your memories!

    Your flowers are beautiful. I just finished planting all of my pots and love looking at them every day. I will be doing a post soon on them. I am so happy that summer is coming!



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