11 January 2011

Memories of Winter in Germany (52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy #2)

I have winter family stories and personal memories from every place I've lived, from Georgia to Colorado to Germany to Texas. One such family story involves a blizzard in my hometown of Warner Robins in 1973, the year I was born. Supposedly, I was pretty young (days old) and riding in the car with my parents when Dad accidentally went off the road. No one was hurt, but that is a story often told regarding my birth.

Winters in Texas were pretty mild, but we would occasionally get a little bit of snowfall. Schools were always closed when that happened, and playing outside was a must.

My most vivid memories of a winter wonderland is Germany. We could pretty much count on snow every year, and as I've mentioned before, sledding was a glorious pastime for me. I also remember Mom and Dad trying to keep the parking spot shoveled when they knew the other would be arriving home. And chains for the tires. I remember those.

I also remember the Black Forest. Though I had no idea of its geography or history at the time, here's the back story from Wikipedia: "The Black Forest (German: Schwarzwald) is a wooded mountain range in Baden-Württemberg, southwestern Germany. It is bordered by the Rhine valley to the west and south. The highest peak is the Feldberg with an elevation of 1,493 meters (4,898 ft). The region is almost rectangular with a length of 200 km (120 mi) and breadth of 60 km (37 mi). Hence it has an area of approximately 12,000 km2 (4,600 sq mi). The name Schwarzwald, i.e. Black Forest, goes back to the Romans who referred to the thickly forested mountains there as Silva Nigra, i.e. "Black Forest," because the dense growth of conifers blocked out most of the light inside the forest."

I do remember riding through heavily wooded areas where it was almost dark in the daylight and what seemed like nothing but snow in front of you. Here are a couple of photos. The first is from Wikimedia Commons, and the second is from my personal archive. Though there is little to no snow on the ground in the second photo, I do believe we are in part of the Black Forest.  (If Dad reads this, he'll correct me if necessary...and he did! See below.)

That little splash of red and blue is my brother and me.  It's hard to see
because she's wearing brown, but Mom is behind us.

From Dad via Facebook -

"Well I did read and do have to correct the last part. The last picture is actually a couple trees iced over near where we lived in the Hunsruck. Remember the small town of Buchenbeurin (sp) and the larger town of Sorhen. Wikepedia says: "The Hunsrück is a low mountain range in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. It is bounded by the river valleys of the Moselle (north), the Nahe (south), and the Rhine (east). The Hunsrück is continued by the Taunus mountains on the eastern side of the Rhine. In the north behind the Moselle it is continued by the Eifel. To the south of the Nahe, the Palatinate is to be found.

Many of the hills are not higher than 400 m. There are several chains of higher peaks within the Hunsrück, all bearing names on their own: the (Schwarzwälder) Hochwald, the Idarwald, the Soonwald, and the Binger Wald. The highest peak is the Erbeskopf (816 m).

Notable towns located within the Hunsrück include Simmern, Kirchberg, and Idar-Oberstein, Kastellaun, and Morbach. Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, a growing low-fare carrier and cargo airport is also located within the region.

The climate in the Hunsrück is characterised by rainy weather. Slate is mined in the mountains."

It did rain lots there and occasionally we'd get snow or ice. Great article and wow do the pics bring back the memories." (Thanks, Dad!)

Amy Coffin of the We Tree blog has yet another successful series on her hands: 52 Weeks of Personal Genealogy & History. Here are 52 topics (one for each week of 2011) that invite genealogists and others to record memories and insights about their own lives for future descendants.
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