Sunday, August 21, 2005

Traveling to my Heimat (Homeland)...

Traveling to My Heimat (Homeland)...

Tuesday, 9 August 2005, marked a very significant day in my life: I returned to my Heimat... I was finally getting to go to Germany, the home of my family on both sides!

In the mid-1870's, my father's family, the Börner's, had emigrated to the United States and settled in a small farming community in western Minnesota... Herman, Minnesota, to be precise. I have a book that details the history of that region given to me by my father; it talks about my great-great-great-grandfather traveling with his family to that community. It documents the marriage of the children and the presence there of the Boerner (the ö being transliterated to oe) family band. They were farmers and fairly well-to-do; their journey from Germany had apparently taken place about the time that Bismark created a united German state in 1872... I don't know additional history related to these events, but I do know that my father's family had moved to the St. Louis Park suburb of St. Paul so that he and his brother's could attend high school. During the depression, they moved to California.

On my mother's side, my grand parents had emigrated to the United States in 1911, just before World War I. They emigrated separately. My maternal grandfather apparently lived in the northern region of Germany near the Dutch border, hence the name Inderbieten. My maternal grandmother emigrated from the then eastern part of Prussia where her maiden name had been Radowsky (unsure of the exact spelling)... They both moved to Southern California were they met and married. My mother and her brothers did not speak English until they started school at the age of 5.

Hence, my roots ran deep! This was the land of my forefathers and this was all enabled by the pending marriage of our oldest daughter Tasha. We were going to Kassel in northern Hesse for her wedding. And we were to meet our future in-laws as well for the first time.

We departed from Heathrow on British Airways without much fanfare. Our Airbus 319 make the one hour fifteen minute flight was anything special and we arrived at Frankfurt Airport about 1:15 p.m. The airline provided a wheelchair at both Heathrow and Frankfort airports and we got through passport checks and the minimal customs screening without incident.

At Frankfurt am Main airport, we needed to take tram from Terminal 2 (where we landed) to Terminal 1 (where we were to make the connection with the ICE (Fast) train to Kassel. Not having made seat reservations before, we needed to do that now, get to the departure track platform, and board the train.

The process was relatively straight-forward. More on this in the next installment...


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