Remembering Christmas
Germany, 1949

Posted 12.19.06

WIESBADEN, GERMANY | There I was, thirteen years old, far from my Illinois home, living in a foreign country with my family. I was eating hard rolls and cheese for breakfast, decorating our Christmas tree with hand-carved wooden ornaments, smelling stollen, fresh from the baker's oven, eating sauerbraten with juniper berries, and hearing German Christmas carols.

In school, our teacher, Frau Schmidt, was determined we would come to appreciate the language and culture of Germany and set out to teach us, among other things, "O, Tannenbaum."

She also taught us all the verses of "Stille Nacht," but it was the story of the Christmas tree that stuck in my mind and in my heart.

In 1976 I returned to Germany to visit some American friends on assignment there, and found my most treasured Christmas ornament: a red velvet-covered bell with a long gold tassel.

It is a music box, and every year I wind it up for the grandchildren and me to hear "O, Tannenbaum" over and over, transporting me once again to 1949 and that classroom in Wiesbaden.

Mary Campisi Ferree is a fomer US Air Force brat, now living in Coloroado.

Copyright © 2006 Mary Ferree/Log Cabin Chronicles/12.06