Mom loved Christmas and was mastering the art of decorating at home, but it was her musical gift which made Christmas to an unforgettable yearly event for the whole family. Our living room was 33ft long and 12 ft wide and mom had a black Grand Piano in the middle. Throughout the year, my parents had monthly gatherings with another couple for house concerts. Mom would be playing the piano and sing, the other lady the flute and her husband the violin. My dad made for the appreciative listener. We kids were sent to bed, but could hear the music from the downstairs.
During the eighties mom got involved with a group of likewise local musicians performing church concerts. One gentleman knew how to produce music cassettes and he had the equipment for it. I still have a couple of cassettes with those concerts. One of them is a Christmas concert held in our local church in that little North-German village.
And now I am listening to the angelic voice of my mother singing the beloved German Christmas songs, some of which we also know of in Canada. This concert was held 32 years ago, and it fills me with peace but also a searing pain that, 7 years ago, I have lost the most precious mom I could ever ask for.
Mom was the oldest of 3 sisters and born in 1927. She was not the only one with music flowing in her veins. Her youngest sister was just as musical as mom. She is still holding house concerts and she both sang and played the flute in those church concerts of the eighties. Where did this gift of music come from? We don't know. Her parents never played an instrument and they certainly never sang. Grandpa was a social democrat, and had a career as an engineer in the German military. He hated the Nazi government. His wife, my grandma, was a wonderful home maker. The two sister's music was a gift of God, coming out of nothing.
Despite of a happy family life at home, mom's youth was marred by the happenings of WWII. She was the only girl in a class at high school. As the war went into its last stages, Hitler recruited boys down to the age of 14. And as it happened, there were mornings at school when one or the other student was missing. They had been drafted into the war. "Feed for the canons", people said. Mom's drafted school comrades never returned to school and the number of students in class was shrinking. And some times, the teacher would sit at her desk and cry when the dreaded message came that another student had fallen. Mom told me this once in a while, and a shadow would fall upon her. We also had family near the city of Cologne and as mom was visiting there, one night Cologne was bombed. From her distance she saw the sky turn red. Like so many other people, she had to carry those memories with her for the rest of her life.
Mom's funeral was held in the church where she sang Christmas and Easter Carols in the eighties. We are still missing her.