Family bonds


Lorenz granddaughter Chiara would love to see the Rhine one day.

[America, around 1911] For generations, the Bergmanns on both sides of the Atlantic had always kept closely in touch. Since her childhood, Amber’s daughter Chiara had received many postcards from the Rhineland and posted them into an album. “The Rhine, Bonn and Cologne, the Drachenfels, the Seven Mountains .. from here, our family has come to North America about 200 years ago”, she had written underneath.

By now she was grown up and happily married to John, an instructor at West Point. Chiara often thought of her German, or better European family and friends. Sophie’s grandmother Henriette was Belgian, her husband Andras was an Austro-Hungarian diplomat, now retired. Their children Lottie and Joscha were quite a European mixture. She knew Lottie and her husband Matthias well, they had spent a year on the Mountain Men Vineyard. Sophie had accompanied them on their way to the USA, Joscha and Andras on the way back. They had seen the Austrian embassy in Washington, and Chiara knew Joscha would love to represent his country in the USA one day.

The young generation had taken over the family businesses. Lottie and Matthias were now in charge of the Bergmann vineyard at Mount Drachenfels, they had two children, Kathi and Walther. Also Susan and Etienne from Alsace were happily married and proud parents of daughter Marie – a popular name in Germany and in France.

Anni and Jean, the silver-haired grandparents, had been granted to live another couple of years among their confident and happy children and grandchildren, and their loyal friend Jacob in their “Stübchen”. Then Anni had died in peace, surrounded by her loved ones, and a little later her husband Jean had followed her.

Two years ago, Chiara’s beloved German born grandfather Lorenz had died. His entire German family and friends had come over to support his widow Annelie, even Lottie’s children were on it. Chiara and her mother Amber had met them in New York, then they had travelled to Pennsylvania together, to the “Merry Dragon” inn. Amber ran it now. The beautiful old country inn from the colonial time had meanwhile been renovated several times and modernized, Amber had a car, a telephone and two refrigerators. But it had retained its individual charm. Chiara’s husband John and their children were already waiting for them. Susan was delighted that the little yellow flowers with their black heads, the “Black-Eyed Susan”, had been so enchanted by her first visit as a little girl around the country inn. “Happy years spent together count double,” her beloved grandmother had told them all. Chiara had showed them her childhood album.

But when she saw Annelie taking the Csabanys apart, all their faces stern, she knew that they were worried about the growing tensions in the world. Now many of her fellow Americans were looking at Germany with a mixture of admiration of its economic and technical progress, disdain for its autocratic regime and suspicion of the militaristic and nationalist cast who had the Kaiser’s ear. Also America’s foreign policy became increasingly imperialist. Carl Schurz, the “Elder Statesman” had been appalled, until his death in 1906 he had fought against it with all his strength, but in vain.

Chiara would love to see the Rhine one day. But the world was getting colder, on both sides of the Atlantic.

The pictures are from the German Wikipedia, public domain section.

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