And Gutenberg Lived Here: It’s A Beautiful Day In The Big Wood

Waking early,

looking out the window over the green fields with just that small tinge of pale blue-green caused by the still wet dew,

it reminded me of my first early days in Germany.

I met my husband in Seattle, visiting scholar in math meets lecturer in literature.

And we were engaged by Christmas.

Then he had to go back to finish up his degree.

And I went along.

One week after landing, in Cologne, we moved into the front half of an appartment-

normal in those days-

with a hallway that went through our appartment to the front door.

Thank heavens the landlady and back half owner was such a wonderful, fair, and feisty old bird.

Within four days, I had moved in, registered at the U,

presented my letter of introduction from my doctoral advisor at the U in Seattle,

and found a job.

four thirty am to ten-thirty am

(long train travel time)

as a language teacher at the dynamite factory in Troisdorf-

English for engineers.

This is a carborator.

But they were nice people.

An hour by train each way, a mile walk and back.

I ate rice pudding for breakfast for strength,

and by the time I was back in Cologne,

so starved I stopped for take-away lasagne. Not a healthy time for me.

Two weeks later, I had two courses at  the night school.

Seven to Nine.

An hour away in the other direction.

In between, I kept house, shopped, did laundry at the laundramat (with the help of my other half)

and was a full-time grad student.

With an advisor to satisfy, full course list, and a whole lot of music to be made.

And Sunday morning, we went to church.

At eleven thirty.

Which gave us more than enough time for our passion at the moment: Uncle Bill.

Uncle Bill was an original.

And a local celebrity.

He rode the city’s streetcar dressed in full bishops robes and a mitre

as preparation for his job as the reverend Theophilious S Frog, OMDD

on the wonderful children’s series broadcast for  military dependents in Europe by The British Forces Broadcast Service, or BFBS.

And every Sunday morning, it was our joy to hear “It was a beautiful day in the big wood. Auowl, and those evil doers, WaaterrRrrrat, and his band of stouts, ferrits, and weeeeasils…”

It was pure joy.

And pure childish voluntary dispension of reality.

And the day we rode the tram with a debating owl,

in a hat with owl feathers,

and ratty,

a cap with rat’s head on his lap,

bishop’s staff in hand,

partially hidden under a large rain poncho,

we felt we were truly blessed.

A sort of symbol for our young marriage,

and what would be our lives together.

You take the tough, and then you laugh.

Thank You, Uncle Bill.

copyright 2016 All rights reserved

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