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My Oma

By Pipka

My family came to America shortly after the war, leaving behind relatives, friends and a way of life. It was the most difficult to say goodbye to my grand-mother, Oma, who was one of the kindest, most loving people in my life. When I grew older, I would make many trips back to Munich, Germany, to visit her. Although Oma didn’t speak English, and my German was limited, we thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company. We often played Scrabble together, Oma adding German words to my English words. We laughed when our words became immeshed and made no sense at all.

Oma introduced me to all that is wonderful about Bavaria. The folk art, it’s well-preserved old-world culture and, of course, the bakeries. On many occasions, we would get dressed up and head into the city for afternoon coffee and tortes “mit schlag”, whipped cream. She showed me the places tourists don’t usually know about and which I would later share with tour groups I brought to Germany.

The best times were when I visited Oma during the Christmas season. We would catch an electric bus and head to the heart of Munich where one of the largest Christkindlmarkts was held. Thousands of twinkling lights lit up the booths filled with folk art, traditional handcrafted ornaments, creche sets, sweet-scented mulled wine and traditional Bavarian foods. Often, we glimpsed the Wienachtsman, Father Christmas, in his red robe and long white beard, thrilling the children with candies and treats. The air was festive and chilly, but the memories are warm and sweet. My grandmother was my inspiration throughout my life. Although we lived thousands of miles apart, our hearts are joined forever.


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