Sunday, April 4, 2010

Leif in Brombach, Germany - Spring 1980 - Age 5

Peter W., Leif's father, grew up in Heidelberg, Germany and we knew that his grandmother had come from the small town of Brombach in the Odenwald (forest), but until the spring of 1980, not long before we were to move from Germany to Japan, neither of us knew much more about her family. Then I finally succeeded in persuading his Tante (Aunt) Toni to go there with us and tell us more.

Tante Toni had no children and dearly loved our boys. She used to say they had "schlechte Augen," which roughly translates to "rascally eyes." she got that right!

At any rate, we drove to Brombach, where she showed us this lovely half-timbered Gasthaus, or small hotel. She said she had lived there with her mother (Peter W's gtamdmother) as a child and that at that time it had belonged to her grandfather, which would have been Peter W's great grandfather. The family lot it; had to sell it to pay their debts because he had invested heavily in Germany' World War I bonds, and when Germany lost the war, the bonds were worthless.

What a shame. It wad a lovely place! The boys really liked it! I don't whether any of his grandchildren would have otherwise inherited it and would have wanted to run it or not, but it was surely too bad to lose it. I still wish we had taken the time that day to eat in the dining room there, even though it was fairly expensive.

Leif especially wad interested in the well and pump in the village. He was five years old.


  1. Your translation of "schlechte Augen" is completely false.

    'Schlecht' means bad or in this context 'poor' as in bad eyes or poor eyesight.

    In other words, looking a word up in the dictionary can, and often does, lead one badly astray.

  2. I went ahead and published the above comment because I wished to address the reader's misunderstanding. I did not look up "schlechte Augen" in a dictionary. I speak German, and my husband is from Germany, and I lived there seven years. "Schlechte Augen" is an expression which in this usage truly does mean "rascally eyes." the literal meaning is "bad eyes" meaning poor eyesight, but that does not apply in this case.