I rewatched the movie. I still love the movie. It’d been a while since I last saw it, but still completely love it.

Berlin was home for nearly eight years. I need to go back. But I can’t. Because that statement is inaccurate. West Berlin was home for nearly eight years. West Berlin doesn’t exist any more. This is a good thing.

But I would like to go back and visit again, to see the old haunts, even those that are no more: Checkpoint Bravo, the “swamp” we pretended had monsters hiding in it, the shooting range with it’s enormous fence and barbed wire on top, the walls and rooftops we climbed, the bakery around the corner, the pizzeria with its fishing nets decorating the ceiling …

The apartment building is still there, but not the playgrounds where I hid away inside my head and let my imagination run wild, not the wall beside it blocking us from the Potsdammer Chaussee traffic. The building’s not even the same color anymore.

And then Egidystraße, Tegeler Fleiß, my grandmother’s house … my grandmother passed away at the beginning of January this year. 101 years old. It still hits me sometimes. Like now.

4 Responses

  1. I think that adage about how you can “never go home again” is really true in many ways. I go home periodically to my childhood town and it just isn’t the same place.

    And I think a good portion of that is the missing people. I know my aunt said to me one time (when she was driving to my sister’s for Thanksgiving) that she wished she was going to my great-aunt and uncle’s house instead. They hosted our Thanksgiving dinners for years, lived not terribly far from where my sister lives now. But they’ve been dead for fifteen years.

    It’s so hard to grapple with the loss of people we love. It tears at the heart’s fabric. It’s not how it is supposed to be. It always feels wrong and foreign and strange and it hurts. I’m so sorry about your grandmother and how much you’ve had to go through this year. *hugs* I hope that if you return to Berlin one day that even if it isn’t the same, that you can still find the whispers of what made it home for you, even if it’s just buildings that open the gateway to wonderful memories. *hugs*

  2. Deanna says:

    A good and interesting thing: the concept of having a hometown that doesn’t exist anymore. Food for thought in many directions. I would read and/or listen with fascination to much more of your memories of West Berlin.

    Doesn’t matter how long or full a life our loved ones had, does it? We always feel the loss and grieve for it when they go.

    • viv s says:

      Yes, in this case, it is a good thing. I don’t know that it’s all that different than anyone else going home and seeing how much it’s changed, it’s just that this change was so impactful. I will happily share more about West Berlin. It’ll give me something to write about, I suppose. Thanks, also, for understanding about my grandmother.

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