Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Some memories of travelling with my parents when I was a kid

Axel and Lite von Schulmann @ Long Beach 1977
 My parents liked to travel and as a kid we drove more less every road in the southern half of BC.  We also drove to northern California, all over Washington State, the Peace country and other places.   I also traveled with them to Europe twice and the Bahamas once.

Nk, Bernard and Axel von Schulmann Long Beach 1977
After I moved out at age 17 in 1983, my parents continued to travel.   They went to Australia, Guatemala, Chile, Europe another four more times, drove to the remaining roads in BC they had not traversed, they went to many more American states over the years.
 My parents knowledge of the geography of BC was surprising.    In 1989 I drove part of the unbuilt Okanagan Connector and ended up turning down a very rough 4x4 track that lead to small very rustic resort on a small fishing lake.   When I got back the coast, my mother knew exactly which lake I had been to.

I have no idea why this came to my today, but a memory of travelling with my parents and brother, and often Tante Sabine, in the 1970s.   I thought I would quickly write about it so that I have it 'down on paper'.

Bernard and Nik von Schulmann Salzburger Hochturm 1979
My mother had polio when she was three which left her with a leg that was lame.   She could not walk long distances.   This meant that when we were travelling my father we would go into whatever site we came to and my mother would sit outside and wait for us.   Invariably we would wander around some fort, castle, palace, or amazing viewpoint and come back to my mother who would precede to tell us all about what we saw in the guidebook she had finished reading.

It was interesting how much more she knew about what we had just seen.  It certainly made the trip much more interesting.

Lorilei 1979
I last traveled on family holidays with my parents in 1981 to the Bahamas when I was 15.   Nik had a few years of trips with them and Tante Sabine.   After both Nik and I were out of the home the pattern continued, but now it was my father and Tante Sabine going in and my mother enlightening them to what they saw

Site of the famous 1979  "Hast du Kaesekuchen?" incident
I have included this last picture for benefit of my brother Nik von Schulmann.   This is the site of the infamous family "Hast du Kasekuchen?" incident.

This restaurant is on the Rhine and we stopped there for Kaffee und Kuchen one afternoon during our 1979 trip to Europe.

Nik and I grew up speaking in German as our first language even though we were both born at Grace Hospital in Vancouver in the 1960s. Our German was different than the language in Germany because we only used German in the family context, our German was a very intimate, personal and informal language.

Normally in German there is the formal "Sie" and the informal "Du" and when you use one or the other really does matter a lot.   "Du" is only for family and friends.

Nik was 9 at the time and really only had interacted with family on the trip so he had never talked to other people.   Nik wanted cheescake and was told by my parents to ask the waiter if they had any.   Instead of saying "Haben Sie Kaesekuchen?", what you would say to anyone serving you, he said "Hast du Kaesekuchen?".   The waiter stopped dead in his tracks and looked stunned, so did my parents.   I doubt anyone had ever used 'du' in the restaurant with the waiter.

Nik was young and had no reason to ever had used "Sie", but still the incident reverberated for years as one of our family stories.

I also had my own moment of "ignorant youth from the wilds" on the 1979 Europe trip.   I was in the centre of Frankfurt with my parents and my grandmother's sister Helene von Behr.   We were close to a statue and I asked who it was, I was told it was Goethe.   I said I could read the name, but I had no idea who this Goethe person was.    My great aunt was visibily shocked that at 13 I had no idea at all who Goethe was.   It quickly came out I also had no idea who Schiller was.

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