Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Meine Deutshe Familie

As I have already written I travelled to Germany at the end of May to attend the 65th Wedding Anniversary of my Polish Aunty Elizabeth and Uncle Gerhard.

Aunty and Uncle were lucky enough to escape from communist Poland, together with their son Klaus, in 1965. They settled in (West) Berlin and have been in the same apartment ever since. Uncle is now 90 and Aunty is 87, and, as you’d expect their respective bodies are showing definite signs of wear and tear.
Hilde, Klaus, Uncle, Aunty & Me

The actual day of celebration was June 2, and there was a service at the local church in the morning followed by a late lunch in the afternoon. It was a memorable occasion in itself, but more so for me as I was able to reconnect with first cousin Klaus and his wife Hilde, as well as Klaus’ children Patrick, Mandy and Scarlett and their spouses and their children, my third cousins.

I also got to meet, for the first time my late father’s second cousin, Graszina who is Polish but has lived in Denmark for the past twenty years or so with her husband Robert and daughter Sandra.

As I looked around the gathering and stumbled my way through conversations in very basic German and English, I felt that here was my own flesh and blood. There was that real and unique sense of family.

It was the same feeling I’d had at a breakfast we’d attended just before I left at my brother Paul and his wife Regina's house in Perth.  Present were my sister Elaine, brother Philip as well as nieces Maria and Emily and nephew Phil, (Paul’s children) and their spouses and children. I’d also caught up with Kendal and Carly, Philip’s daughters over that weekend.

And I haven’t even mentioned my own children and stepchildren, Chantelle and Melissa, Melanie and Chris and brothers and nieces who could not be there.

The thing is, this thing we call family is more extensive than we think and it’s a great feeling to be part of an extensive and expanding family.

Imagine if there were no one to connect with, even if it is only once a year (or five years in the case of the German side).

It is indeed a fortunate life.

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