Oct 15, 2008

Cousin Barb, Alive & Well in Europe!

This Just In: Long Lost Cousin Barb found, alive and well, in Frielassing, Germany.
It was like a Seinfeld episode. Once mom and Gram found out I was headed to Eastern Europe, they began imploring me to look up Cousin Barb while I’m there. “Ya gotta look up Cousin Barb.” And “Go see your Cousin Barb!” over and over, in Jerry Seinfeld’s parents’ voice. First I heard she lived in Switzerland. Next time, it was Austria. I thought it unlikely I would bump into a woman I don’t know and who’s only known address is Eastern Europe. But… life surprises me.
Three days before my trip, while in my presence, mom received a letter from Cousin Barb. She, in fact, lives in Frielassing, Germany, very close to where we were going. T promptly tore off the return address label & stuck it in his wallet.
We packed our bags and left. Two nights later, we are on Marat's couch lookoing at our train schedule and found that we would be switching trains in Frielassing. "Acht!" I slapped my forehead, "Cousin Barb! We gotta go see Cousin Barb!!" Marat cocked his eyebrow, "Cozin Boob?" So, he googled her. (she's 81 - think she's ever been googled by a Turkish German before?) Marat got her phone number, dialed her up and threw me the phone.
Cousin Barb didn't bat an eye. "Sure!" she said, "I'll meet you at the train station." The next morning, we jumped on the train (who is that scary man behind me??), flew past the German countryside, landed in Frielassing and began looking for another stranger.
Cousin Barb looks just like Aunt Bess, so I found her easily. And, if you remember a former post, I closely resemble my great gran, so I'm sure Barb spotted me easily, too. We walked through the village, past the farms and up to Barb's cottage. She was walking much faster than we were. She's so healthy! Barb said she gave up skiing 4 years ago due to bad vision. She also had to give up driving and now walks or takes her bike everywhere. No car in Europe doesn't seem to be a problem at all.
Noldi and Barb had no children of their own, but through their years in the mission, they raised many children as their own. One of them, Peter, came over to visit us. He is practicing his English. Barb translated between us and often would listen to Peter's German, look to me to translate and then speak to me - in German! It was so funny.
After 2 wonderful hours, Peter drove us back to the train station and Barb was heading out on a ladies weekend retreat. We were late getting back to the train, so we had to run. Peter
volunteered to carry my valise up and down all the stairs, at a run, so while dragging my 51.5 lb suitcase, he repeatedly uttered "oooof" and "acht!" etc. So funny. Vielen Danke, Cousin Petah. That visit just might be the favorite part of my trip.
Hey - if you ever go to Eastern Europe - ya gotta go visit Cousin Barb!


Anonymous said...

Oh Val, I loved reading about your visit to Barb. She and Noldi were such a sweet couple. They said they never argued, and I believed them, because they both lived so close to the Lord.

I wondered if she remembered any English at all! She's lived in Germany so long, and spoken German so long, that English must be more like a second language to her, instead of her heart language.

When I saw these pictures, I wished we could show them to Jim's mom! That's a silly thought--mom's in heaven and knows a lot more than we do!

Thanks for taking the time to see her and for posting this.

Anonymous said...

The pictrures of Barb sure do bring back wonderful memories. I remember going to Aunt Bess and Uncle Amos's house in Syracuse when Barb and Noldi were visiting. It must have been shortly after they were married. Noldi was so excited about some gold colored melmac dishes they received as a present. He went outside on the front steps and started yoldeling real loud. Mom would have loved to see these pictures.

JMaslar said...

I was delighted to know that you visited Kuzin Barb! I remember her and Noldi visiting us in West Windsor. We walked down to Gram's together with Noldi yodeling as loud as he could. I enjoyed his stories about the mountains as well. I printed the picture of Her and Val; and gave it to Gram. She was so excited to see it.