Happy to share some thoughts and memories at BoomerCafé this week:
On my family’s first visit to the Hotel Schwan in the small German town of Wertheim, we found the entire staff assembled out front in two lines on either side of the door. Even at age four, I could recognize this as the red-carpet treatment.
The telegram that had advised the hotel manager of our military family’s pending arrival had carried the words “General Alexander Patch” at the top, the name of the humble Liberty ship that brought us from New York to Europe in January of 1960.
This general’s troops had liberated most of this region and neighboring France at the end of the war. Our welcoming committee was eager to meet this celebrated visitor who’d help put an end to the miseries of the Third Reich, and treated Germans fairly in that process. They were no doubt anticipating a line of dark vehicles with noisy accompanying entourage. When our travel-weary family of four with whining child (played by yours truly) rode up in a battered taxi, they must have been very disappointed indeed.
The weight of those next few moments was palpable even to a distracted kindergartner like me. I can imagine how much more my parents felt it, and my (10 years) older sister. There are things silence conveys so much louder than words.
Read the rest here at BoomerCafé: