Friday, February 20, 2015

A Century Ago

2-20-15. Today’s date. Or the date one hundred years ago.

World War I was raging across Europe. I wish I had paid attention in History class in High School. I do remember that the whole war was sparked by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. That always seemed a bit extreme to me, but I suppose wars have been won and lost over what I would consider even more trivial events.

But back to Europe at that time. Can you imagine living in a country in the midst of war? For my entire lifetime, I have seen images of war on the nightly news, but I don’t know if any of us can truly appreciate it unless we have been there. How does anyone go about their day to day lives? Go shopping? Hold down a job? Sleep at night? Knowing that at any moment, a bomb could hit the building next door? Or your building?

Germany, being the instigator she is, had to have been at the center of things. Having been born and raised on the other side, all I learned about was air raids on Great Britain and how the Anne Frank family lived in the room upstairs in Holland. But there were so many good and innocent people living in Germany at the time. One group of them was the Loehmer family.

Oh, how I wish I knew more about them. How I wish one of them were still alive or had kept a detailed diary. From what I have learned, though, there wasn’t money for extra paper and pencil to chronicle something as wasteful as a diary.

Somewhere in that bleak landscape, the Loehmer family welcomed another son on this date one hundred years ago. My dad. 
Dad on his wedding day, July 6, 1945
 After Mom and Dad got married, he was in an adult confirmation class at church. He is the dashing (although short) man in the middle in the back row. 
Dad with my brother and sister. The caption on this picture reads: "April 26, 1952, near Ontonagan on Lake Superior, 85 degrees out" 
My dad (on the left) with his brothers Fritz and Frank, at Fritz's granddaughter's wedding. I can't remember the year, but I know it was in the late 70s. But don't these three look like escapees from a Dean Martin movie?

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