The visual preserver
I have photos that span back three generations. Which isn't half bad considering my parents are from Europe and ... World War II.
I have handwritten entries of marriages and births and deaths.
I have verbal stories cemented into my mind from constant re-tellings.
I am also, the keeper of heads
I distinctly remember the gold bracelet that my Oma wore with gold charm heads that were engraved with all of her grandchildren names and birth dates. I saw this bracelet first hand in 1988 when my younger brother and I went to Europe with our mom.
In Germany, I stayed in the same apartment my mom grew up in. Nine people in a two bedroom, three story walk up that I swear to you is half the size of the first floor of my current home. I saw the school that my mom went to, right down the street from the apartment and the garden plot that my Oma had to grow vegetables.
In Hungary (which was still under communist rule), I walked the still bombed out street of the town my Oma lived in prior to being forced out of, post World War II, because her family spoke primarily German in their home. I visited the family vineyard and the "gold" church in town. The vast contrast of the inside of the church, all gleaming and gold, and the buildings that surrounded it with bullet holes and missing walls was bizarre to me then, and still to this day.
In 2012 I received my Oma's bracelet following her death. I was wearing a bracelet similar to hers with silver profile heads with the names and birth dates of my boys on them.
Last Thursday I received my mom's bracelet following her death.
The pride that is in that bracelet is palatable.