|Bremen Postcard from 1911|
As we saw in the last post, Lisi spent three nights in Bremen before heading to the port and the ship that would take her to America. She wrote nothing of her feelings about this momentous occasion, only the schedule details:
Arrival in Bremen Saturday, 9/16/11
9/19/11 8:00 a.m. Depart [Bremen]
Like Josef did nine months earlier, she was taking a train from the city of Bremen to the Bremen Port, Bremerhaven, about thirty miles south. These two postcards, mementoes in our archives which I assume she purchased during her stay a century ago, are the only clues I have of what she saw in those two days and three nights.
|Port of Bremen- Bremenhafen|
While it doesn’t surprise me that my grandmother, Lisi, didn’t write much of her emotions, (I remember her as an exceedingly practical person), I was struck by the contrast between her diary and that of my grandfather. Grandpa's diary has given me an entirely new view of him. We always saw his joking, teasing, funny side, but through his letters and diary, I have discovered he was also romantic and in touch with his feelings.
As his ship, Friedrich der Grosse, pulled away from shore nine months earlier, on December 31, 1910, he wrote from his heart:
I was moved by sadness, joy, and fear as the mighty colossus pulled us far out over the waves of the great sea. Everyone on land waved after us with their handkerchiefs as they wanted to share with us a last and friendly farewell. They know such a trip deals with life and death, and we’re never certain if we’ll see each other again. (See Out to Sea).
Lisi must have observed a similar scene when she boarded her ship, Kaiser Wilhelm II, but wrote nothing about it. However, she did save this wonderful postcard of KWII, noting details of her arrival on the back (more on that coming up). In the upper left is written: "Norddeutscher Lloyd Dampfer "Kaiser Wilhelm II." Norddeutscher Lloyd (North German Lloyd) was the shipping company that owned the ship. Dampfer means steamer.
|Kaiser Wilhelm II - the ship that brought Elisabetha (Lisi) Ebner,|
my grandmother, to America, departing Bremenhafen 9/19/1911
In his diary he had written:
Another problem on the ship was eating. As long as I had mother’s bread and wurst, it was ok, but when I had eaten all that, I just stood there and didn’t know how to get something to eat because the cost [of food] is miserable on the ship. (See Out to Sea)
In contrast, Lisi’s trip is marked by a bounty of food. The first day she boards the ship on September 19th, 1911, she devotes her entire entry to the menu choices:
Fish baked with lemon and Potato salad
Steamed beef with horse radish or gravy and roasted potatoes and steamed/stewed cabbage [or]
Baked duck with apple compote and salad
vanilla cream (like custard)
apples, oranges [or]
Veal liver or
Chopped schnitzel (minced meat -- maybe like hamburger meat) and roasted onions
Every day, Lisi compulsively recorded the food, drinks, and snacks she consumed. But she also noted several purchases, as she kept track of expenditures. Her desire to record and save details of her and her family's life, even if mundane, has been a boon to my ability to puzzle out my family's history.
On the next post: the records Lisi did keep -- and the clues they provide to piecing together to the provenance of several century-old artifacts and documents.