Since it's December, and after reading Joansie's blog about her aunt, I decided it's time to honor one of my aunts. She was the oldest of seven; my mother was the youngest, and one of the brothers died at Soisonne at the beginning of WWI. But Emma outlived all her siblings, and she could heal anything from a skinned knee to boyfriend trouble by simply looking at me and saying "Oh Menschle" (Oh little human). Her birthday was on Nickolaus day, December 6. She would have been 107 this December. Emma had one living daughter, whom I adored.
While we never talked about it, I once found a photo of a child who obviously had Downs Syndrome. The only time, I ever saw her flustered and angry was when I asked her who the girl was. She half yelled "Hitler took her" and there was no doubt that that was the end of the conversation for ever.
Her husband, Emil, was an inveterate, seven-days-a-week, "Spaetzle" (noodles, pasta) eater, and her home made Spaetzle were to die for. During the War (II), we lived with her for a while since we had been evacuated from the town we lived in. And that's a whole story by itself.
The building with "Cafe - Konditorei" was the family home in which my mother and all her siblings were born.
After the end of the War, Emma would get care packages from her husband's relatives who lived in the US. She would share her stash with my mother and me, by repackaging some of the food and sending it to us. That's how I learned about chocolate chips, except by the time the package arrived, someone or something had eaten most of them. When my mother complained to the Post Master, she was informed to be glad that the package arrived at all. I guess lots of people were hungry that year.
But, most of all, I remember my summer vacations with her. We only had a six week summer vacation, not the three months kids get in the US. But the first day of the break, I was either on the train to what I called "home" aka Aunt Emma's place when I was old enough to travel alone which was about age 8 or 9. (Talk about "child neglect"; my mother would have been locked up if I was a child today.) Before age eight, Emma's husband, Emil, would somehow engineer a trip delivering soda to a nearby distributor, so he could pick me up. Now that was an adventure, traveling in the company semi with my uncle. You see, he was working for the soda and bottled water (ala Perrier) manufacturer in Bad Teinach. Emma's one mission in life was to fatten me up during vacations. And she always succeeded.
The last time I saw Emma was at my mother's funeral. Her husband Emil had died and she was living near her daughter Lisa in an extended care facility. She was still going strong, outliving all her siblings.
Happy belated Birthday Tante Emma!