A Short Story: “Grandpa’s Gift of Germany” Part One

Grandpa’s Gift of GermanyPart One  by A, K, Buckroth

Oh My Gosh! I’m going. I’m really, really going!

This huge decision of mine to visit Germany came about due to the death of my grandfather. His quick demise through heart failure saddened my spirit, my heart, the core of my being. Our times spent together, the private, personal conversations we shared remain invaluable and unforgettable.

“What would you like to do, Andrea?” he seriously asked me, looking me in the eyes during a visit to my grandparents home in Hyde Park, Massachusetts.

“I’d like to travel, Grandpa. I’d like to visit Germany, maybe Poland too. Find some family roots, ancestors….”

A recent high school graduate, I was eighteen when Grandpa and I had that conversation. Pondering that happy scene, I remember sitting on the swing in my grandparents back yard.

*     *     *

Riiiing. Riiiing,” went the telephone, shattering my thoughts. This was an unexpected call from Grandpa’s attorney. He wanted me to meet with him to discuss my grandfather’s will. Evidently, I was chosen as a beneficiary. Once there, I learned that Grandpa left me some money – $5,000 to be exact. Specifications in receiving this gift mentioned that I visit Germany, a once distant dream I had shared with Grandpa those eight years ago. As a history buff, this country deeply intrigued me due to ancestral roots.

Getting over the shock of this “present,” feeling richer for it, my research for a trip to Germany began. Suddenly affordable through Grandpa’s bestowal, my limitless imagination, excitement, determination with courage became strong.

At the age of twenty-six ─ attractive, single, smart, independent ─ my college graduation lead me to a career as an Executive Assistant for four years. My salary was acceptable, my apartment was humbly comfortable, best of all, my employer allowed me two weeks paid vacation time. Two weeks!  Paid!

So many preparations to make. What to do first?! Where will I stay? What about a passport? Find and speak with a travel agent – √. Change United States currency into German Marks – √. Learn the language ─ enough to find a restroom, ask for directions, figure out a food menu, locate train stations, the use of Germany’s transportation network; to politely greet, speak plainly, complimentary, and simply to townsfolk – √. Wowee.

After gathering numerous compelling and informational travel brochures about Germany through my membership with an auto club, I had to calm down enough to organize this trip, to focus on where I wanted to go. All of the brochures displayed magnificent pictures of castles, museums, inviting landscapes, shopping centers, restaurants ─ anything and everything a visitor would enjoy. My excitement was overwhelming. This became a commitment ─ a commitment to myself.

First, accommodations.

Robert immediately came to mind. Robert Elman, U. S. Army Captain, stationed in Aschaffenburg, Germany. He and I discussed this possibility ─ I remembered his personal invitation to me ─ when he came home on leave the last time. Through that, I decided to contact him.      Although we had a friendly yet casual relationship beginning in high school lasting through adolescence (my high school prom, his military cotillion, movies and fast food dates, working together at a local grocery) I had to contact his parents for his present address.

Residing in the same city, I knocked on their door without an invitation. They greeted me with whole hearted and joyous enthusiasm.

“Andrea, it’s been a while since we’ve seen you. Come in come in!” the exuberance of seeing them again brought tears to my eyes. I truly did not know what to expect. This charming couple recalled my youthful days with their son. Delightfully, Robert’s contact information became available to me without any qualms.

To BeContinued….

Destination The World NCPA Anthology 2020, Volume Two, © 2020. “Grandpa’s Gift Of Germany” page 22. Available at Amazon.com.

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