Giving Thanks

by Diana Proemm

This week has been a whirlwind of travel and family visitations. I chose to stay in Texas for the Thanksgiving holiday so I could be with my dad instead on his 80th birthday this last weekend. I am always humbled by my parents stories of wartime Germany, and how little they had growing up during and post World War II. My dad shares stories of childhood nonsense and play during crazy times. My mother grew up in the former East Germany. Her parents divorced when she was at a young age, and was considered a bastard kid by many as divorce was not the norm back then.

Her dad had reluctantly joined the war, her mother had also moved to the west and she was left at 6 years with her mother’s parents. My mom lived with her grandparents for 6 years until she was 12 when her mother came to collect her and taken her to the west. They departed East Germany in the middle of the night and secretly crossed over the border from east to west safely. She said at one point they had to dive into the ditch as the lights from the towers shined their way. At one point someone had found them and yelled at them. Turns out this was the west Berlin’s police, and they had made the crossing to safety. If they hadn’t made it, and were found attempting to cross, they would have been shot and killed.

I gobble these stories up like the Thanksgiving Turkey you are about to eat.  My grandparents and my dad’s older siblings were forced to join the Reich during the war. My parents are always reluctant to tell the stories as I think it brings up some scary memories of a not so pleasant times during Hitler’s reign. I know that no one wanted to be a part of what was going on, but I am impressed and hapy that they all survived.

During the weekend I did not spend much time on my phone and engaged in conversation and learned so much rich history of the past from my family members. I would encourage you to do the same. Slow down, turn off your phone and enjoy this time of thanks with family and friends. Most likely this is your support team when times are hard, so treat them well and enjoy.

Wish you a Happy Thanksgiving with loads of turkey goodness.

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