Sunday, December 7, 2008
Peter Anthony & Leif - Christmas 1979 - Katterbach, Germany - Ages 11 & 5
The thoughts of those long-ago Christmases in Germany when my boys were so young reminded me of this photo of the two of them at the chapel at the Katterbach army housing area in Germany. Peter Anthony had become an accolyte and was serving that month. Leif was all dressed up for church, and after the service I took this photo. Peter A. is looking angelic and protective, and Leif looks so innocent and kind of bewildered. Peter A. was turning 11 on Christmas Day, and Leif would be 5 in another month.
Katterbach was a German village just a couple of kilometers from the village where we lived, Sachsen bei Ansbach, and the U.S. army housing area was just across the fields from us. If Peter Anthony had been attending the American school on base, he would have gone to school there, but he was going to the German school in Sachsen, and Leif was attending the German Kindergarten there. Therefore, our boys, who spoke fluent German within about four months after we moved to Sachsen in the summer of 1978, knew few of the American kids.
Peter A. was in an American Scout troop that met over at Katterbach, and there were two other American families that lived in Sachsen. One had a girl Peter A's age, but they seldom got together. The other had a girl Leif's age and he and Erin were good friends. Other than that, all their friends were the German children they knew at their schools and in our neighborhood.
So many of our American Christmas customs and music come from Germany that most of the celebrations seem familiar, except for the language. However, I don't think we ever experienced any family Christmases as magical and "Christmasy" as those we spent in Germany. Partly this is because so many years we were far from my family in the USA and didn't have a larger family to celebrate with, but in Germany, we did, often spending time with Peter W's relatives.
And Christmas also is never as magical as when you have small children who are still enthralled by the wonder of it all, caught up in the joy over pretty decorations, music, Santa and presents.