A date I will never forget

berlin-wall-comes-down

One of the trending topics on Twitter today was ‘mention a date you will never forget’. It’s incredibly rare that a trending topic is of personal inspiration to me, so I thought I would share my answer in blog form, here. The only date that came to mind was November 09, 1989. That was the day the Berlin Wall came down.

I am of German descent, on my mother’s side. I have family in Germany. For the majority of my life, when asked where my ancestors came from, my answer was West Germany. Even though I was raised in Canada, thousands of miles away from the Fatherland, I had spent some time in Germany and always felt a deep connection to my German roots. I never thought I would live to see the day that the wall would come down.

So, that day in 1989, I found myself sitting in front of the television, in stunned silence with tears of unbridled joy streaming down my face as I watched images of the German people tear down the wall that had divided their country for decades. I sat there riveted, as families who hadn’t seen one another for a lifetime were reconnected in rapturous embraces.

The Berlin Wall falling planted the seed for a united Europe. Just as a united Europe might one day be seen as the impetus for a united world. A united Germany is proof that we can work together to improve our common future, even if we fundamentally disagree.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I will leave you with images of that fateful day set to the powerful music and lyrics of the Scorpions singing Winds of Change… a song that instantly transports me back to that day in November, 1989 and never fails to make me cry.

I invite you to share a date you will never forget.

A New Year’s Eve tradition

Recently, my mother told me about a New year’s Eve tradition in which my German relatives partake. At some point during the evening, they watch a sketch called Dinner For One (also known as The 90th Birthday) and laugh their collective asses off.  It seems that they are not the only ones enjoying this brilliantly done bit of British physical comedy. This sketch is known as a New Year’s Eve tradition in many countries other than Germany including, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, the Netherlands and South Africa to name but a few. Ironically, it never really took off in Britain. Sadly, it has yet to take off in North America, but I hope to remedy that, in some small way, by showing it here. Dinner For One was originally written for the theatre in the 1920’s and first filmed for television in 1963 as a one shot/take 18 minute sketch. That it was done in one take without an edit just serves to make it that much more brilliant. So, without further ado, may I present, Freddie Frinton and May Warden in the original black and white version of Dinner For One in English with introduction by Heinz Piper in German (the sketch begins at the 2 minute 23 second mark).

The sketch was so popular that there have been many versions performed along with several parodies, most notably (and recently) one in which the heads of Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy are superimposed upon those of the original actors’ and the dialogue deals with the Euro zone Debt Crisis. In 1999 German television station, NDR colorized it, presumable to bring it more up to date.

I hope you enjoyed this bit of proof that, yes Germans do have a sense of humour after all.

Here’s wishing you and yours a prosperous New Year with a picture from last year’s New Year’s blog.

baby-newyears1Same procedure as EVERY year.