In Memory Lane

We are in Berlin, arrived here not so sound and so well.

I had a cold and Uta got it a few days later.  It slowed us down but could not stop us. People were eager to see us, but I don’t want to write about that at the moment.

Yesterday we had planned something different, but the person we were dying to meet, the lovely lady, who writes the Kreuzberg Blog,  was herself struck down by a severe cold. So, instead of going to Kreuzberg we went to Schöneberg were Uta grew up. It was still early, before noon actually, when we had a snack in a Hungarian bakery and later, we were just settling down in an Italian ice cafe for a gelato, when we heard the big booming sound of  a bell. We looked around and saw the bell tower of the local town hall, formerly the seat of the West-Berlin  city government, when Berlin was still  a divided city.

The Townhall and the entrance to the Underground station

It was the sound of the “Liberty Bell”; a gift from the American people to the courageous people of Berlin during the Blockade and the Airlift. We decided to go to the town hall. It is a place full of meaning to both of us. We were there when the bell was dedicated in 1954 and at a big rally for the Hungarian people during their uprising in November 1956. Willy Brandt tried to calm the people who wanted to storm East-Berlin. His measured speech averted a big incident that could have sparked  something nasty. In those days the Cold War was in full swing and could have turned into a real one any time.

Despite this, we wanted to get married and marched through this door.

Through this door we stepped into our marriage fifty six years ago

Sitting on a park bench opposite the town hall I realised that unknown to us then, Uta was carrying Gaby, our unborn daughter already. She had  passed away so suddenly only two months ago . The grief  had followed us to Berlin.

My view from the bench

The scene was beautiful but the grief was real. People were enjoying the beautiful Indian Summer. Joggers were passing us and elderly couples occupying other park benches were soaking up the kind sun. Some people had a picnic on the lawns and I was thinking of a passage in Goethe’s Faust were it says “Here I’m Man, here can I be!”.

We were talking to a lady who was recuperating from an broken wrist and came away with positive feelings. Uta could remember the ducks from the time she was a little girl.

We had to leave this beautiful spot and went up some stairs  to join the rest of the world. It is surprising that a big city like Berlin has so many beautiful spots where the pulsating life of the city is hardly noticeable. I’m sure we will see more of these spots during our stay.

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