This post is especially dedicated to my bestest German/American friend and second mom, Helga Brady. If you do not know her, you should do yourself the favor and get to know her.
My family has known Helga for quite some time. And when I say “quite some time,” I mean like 30 years. At least she’s known my family that long. She worked for my uncle with whom I am close with so we used to see her all the time when I was a teenager. Then, when my dad bought my uncle’s business… well, let’s just say she came along with the package. A super duper added bonus.
I wish I had a picture of her. She is 80 years old now, but acts 30 years younger than her age. She has orange red hair and a thick German accent, but one that is so enjoyable to listen to that you almost don’t notice. She even continues to come in an answer phones for my parents.
Helga is like my second mom. I could confide in her secrets I could never confide in anyone. And she would definitely tell me off (in her thick German accent) if I was doing something she didn’t approve of. But she was so open-minded, that hardly ever happened.
I miss her when I am over here because I think about how this used to be her home. I am amazed at how she could have left such a beautiful place. All because she fell in love with an American soldier, she moved to the States to be with him. I try to send her post cards from all the places we’ve been, because I’m sure she has been to all of them and has a fun time reminiscing. I have forgotten a few times so it’s a good thing my dad bought her a couple postcards from this place to make up for all the times I’ve missed.
She is definitely family… so of course any family of hers, is family of ours. This is why we had to make a trip to see her relatives. This is Ann (Helga’s cousin, Rene’s wife, but they are like a brother and sister to Helga). We visited with Ann and Rene for quite some time, and then she offered to take us on a tour of the city. They live in a city called Bern-Kastel that is about 1 1/2 hours away from me. It sits on each side of the Mosel River.
We were excited, of course, because when we drove in, Fall had painted a beautiful picture for us… the forest we drove through was in every shade of bright orange, yellow and red. And as the forest opened up, we saw the most beautiful German city on the water. How have I not known about this place? I thought. And how have I not come here before? Well, I definitely will be back. Next time: Christmas Market season!
It was a little cold out and Spencer’s pants had become wet. So I had to stay behind with him at a toy store and not take the tour. I knew I could come back (since I live so close) so I sent my parents on ahead. Both my parents were enamored. Buildings built leaning over, from the 1400’s, or ones that have 24 windows… to be opened like an advent calendar at Christmastime. They also loved that almost every person in that town knew Ann and chit chatted with them everywhere they went.
(These pictures aren’t that great. My dad took them with my camera phone because we had forgotten the camera back in the car (which was parked a little far away). But you get the idea.)