Thursday, July 14, 2011

Three places to vacation (4)

Meldorf is a sleepy little town of about 8000 inhabitants. The cathedral from around 1300 in the center of town dominates the landscape. The cobblestone area around the church is also the location for the weekly market. Stores, including the 300 year old pharmacy where I worked, before I came to the United States, and cafes line the periphery of the square. The Dom cafe was always a favorite meeting place for young and old. Those things had not changed. The Hotel zur Linde was an inviting place that had been chosen by a number of my former classmates for the get-together.

Sorry, this is the only photo I have with me in it. Beggars can't be chosers.

The reunion coincided with the graduation of this year's Meldorfer Gelehrtenschule students. The band played, the speeches by teachers, parents, students and one of our "golden" graduates who had become a professor were inspiring, and the atmosphere was a happy one. The building that we had attended was not the same as the one the current students were attending. Our old school had become a museum.

The whole town seemed to have become a museum. It was a reminder of the times when Meldof was so important that it had become the bishopric for a sizable area of Northern Germany. The large Roman-Gothic cathedral bore witness to that fact. The church was much larger than needed for a town this size. Now the train to Westerland didn't even stop here anymore. Only privatized regional trains served Meldorf when they were not on strike. The main drag that used to go over the railroad tracks now ended there, and only pedestrians and bicyclist could get downtown from Wiedemannsweg where we lived using the recently constructed pedestrian underpass.

The main highway by-passed the town altogether. The city seemed dead, except for us, the classmates from 50 years ago. We all knew how it had been. We all visited and remembered who we were with shared pictures and notebooks. We saw our graduation exams that seemed so irrelevant at this time. But we all talked late into the night over some Dithmarschen Pils. It was like old times without the ambitions and without the envy that one might have detected years ago over one person's better fortune.

Life was different now, but we all decided that we wanted to meet again in another five years.

You can't go home again, but this was better. We all knew how it was and how it could have been, and we didn't envy those current graduates at all.


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