Then, sadly, the enchanted summer did come to an end. As my classes wound down, David and I began preparing for our departure. Our last full day there, we had brunch with the Kaisers in their garden. What a lovely couple! We talked about Fussball (soccer), and what it had done for Germany to be able to host the World Cup — they said they had never seen such a joyful celebration of Germany since the Second World War. Because of Germany’s Nazi past, it is problematic for Germans to do anything smacking of nationalism. Flying a German flag was often frowned upon until their hosting of the World Cup.
Hamburg Welcomes the World! (click to enlarge)
The Kaisers and we also talked about more mundane things, such as moose in Maine. Herr Kaiser said, “Moose, what are moose?” We tried describing them to him, and he finally got out his dictionary that described a moose as "a great American elk." He said, "Americans are very special, they have everything big — even their own big elk." David and I loved his dry sense of humor. Frau Kaiser and I talked about our common passion — philosophy. We also talked about visiting one another, and promised we would and invited them to visit us in the states. All too soon, it was time to say good-bye.
Lucinda and Helge took us out to a fine dinner as a way of saying good-bye the night before we left. We had dinner in the garden of a German restaurant that was a typical Northern German Reetdachhaus (thatched roof house) with white-washed walls surrounded by giant oaks on one side and a rose garden on the other. We lingered over dinner for two hours, not wanting our summer — or the evening — to end.
The night before traveling home, I could not sleep. I worried that I might forget something important, as I tossed and turned. David and I had to get up at four in the morning to catch our separate flights. Around three o'clock I thought I heard footsteps, but told myself I was dreaming. I wasn't. When we opened the door to take down our luggage, there were papers, one on each step: “Good… bye….we… will… miss… you… and on the landing… Auf Wiedersehen!” It was Frau Kaiser’s flair again. It moved me to tears, and I had the urge to knock on her door and get one last hug. I refrained, but her kindness will be forever remembered. And I do hope we get to see them again, either here in the states, or in Germany.
And Lucinda. What a serendipitous and important connection that was! What if she hadn’t signed that guest book in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania when she was doing a fellowship there? No one can tell me that was a mere coincidence.
Dr. Lucinda Martin — An angel along my life's journey
Lucinda and I were out of touch for about two years, but we recently reconnected. We picked up from where we left off. I am currently writing my second book (memoir) and she is writing her book about women in Pietism. Her work will shed light on the role of women in both the Pietist movement and the Enlightenment and will be published by Johns Hopkins University Press. In a future posting, Lucinda will give a synopsis of what Pietism is.
To read some of Dr. Lucinda Martin’s work, please visit her website.