Friday, October 17, 2008

Christmas with Peter and Elisabeth

When we lived in Germany in 1972, we lived with Peter and Elisabeth. Elisabeth was our German landlady, but Peter was from Latvia, a refuge of World War II. During the war, he was forced to leave behind a wife and all his family. We were always told that if he went back to Latvia, he would be imprisoned. So after the war, Peter settled in with Elisabeth. Though they were never officially married, they were always like husband and wife.

My fondest memories of Peter was his gentleness and his love of Jack Daniel's whiskey. Dad always got him a bottle of that stuff when we visited. Elisabeth always greeted us boys with chocolate bars from her pantry, and then at dinner, she filled us to bursting.

We'd chant, "Ich habe genug! Ich habe genug!" (I've had enough! I've had enough!) before she'd stop filling our plates. As a very small child, I could get through three or four plates before giving up. Elisabeth loved me very much because of this. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is more endearing to an old German frau than a kid who loves to eat her cooking.

To me, Peter and Elisabeth were like grandparents. I'm pretty sure that to her dying day, Elisabeth still had a pair of my baby shoes hanging decoratively from a pipe in her basement lounge.

We kept up with them clear until the 1990's, when we got word that Peter had died. We've never gotten word about Elisabeth or her family since then, and our cards and letters aren't answered anymore, but we're pretty sure she has passed on by now. She'd be near 100 if she were still alive.

There are more fond memories of Peter and Elisabeth in my blog here. My favorite is the time I learned to use a bidet.

But I digress--back to the video. In the video below, Peter and Elisabeth show up around 2:10. Video of Peter and Elisabeth is extremely rare in our family. So too is video of Dad with hair! And here is more!

Looking at Dad's hair in these videos, I can't help but thinking, "Dead man walking!"

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