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Thursday, March 03, 2011

A Fitting Place, A Place of PIECE!


My first trip to Germany will definitely not be my last! I’m already in talks to bring me back in perhaps 2014…a LONG way down the road I know, but it eventually comes around again and gets here. Time marches on, and we will fill it full!

The Black Forest Quilters are such an active group! About 1/2 are American ladies whose hubbies serve in the US military or are there on contract. The other half is comprised of German members from the community, and the Quiltership is STRONG!

After spending several days with the ladies, I learned something….The military life is so transitory, that it is often the German members, and ex-pats who are married to German citizens, the ones with deep roots who have spent their lives in the community that feel “left behind” when their American members move on to their next post. The German quilters are the ones “holding down the fort” so to speak, as military wives pack up and go.

I have German heritage on my mother’s side of the family ((Oh yes, Mach is nearly as common a name as Smith or Jones!)) and being there has made me want to research more about where my mother’s side of the family came from. I do know my Grandfather was born in the states in the early 1900s…his father likely was here in the late 1800s…so a good long time in the states…but I want to know more. My mom is into genealogy, I’m sure she will be happy to try to light THAT fire in me, just like I lit the quilting bug in her! I just want to know where they lived, what part, what it was like there, I guess anything and everything I can get my hands on.

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This building? It was the “Officer’s Club” on what was a German military post back in 1939…..before the Americans received possession! I really felt a sense of awe and interest in this place…and other things I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I love history….and history IS part of who and what we are today.

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This bronze work is of a stag and a lion, both upright at a tree. This is mounted over the front door of the “old officers club” building. I got an eerie sense of just what was going on in Stuttgart, and in Germany in general in 1939.

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When you walk through the hall, you can still see the shields labeled with the territories they represented……Some of these territories no longer exist! There were more, but they flanked the windows and the light was too bright to get more of them…..Lots of Eagles, Horses, and Stags!

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This chandelier is in the entrance hall…and the sconce on the right is what lights the big hall where we were having our classes. Can you imagine the things these light fixtures have seen?

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The room we met in is LARGE…I bet there were dances and other things in here! You “KNOW” how big my quilts are! Look at Virginia Bound there on the stand…look how it is dwarfed by this mural! The building is a “historic landmark” for many reasons, so they have to up-keep it, but can’t just paint over or remodel. Much of the original wood floor is still in tact as well. Look at THAT fun chandelier…

I was fascinated by the mural and spent quite a bit of time studying it. The lighting isn’t the greatest in this pic, but here is a closer-up of the knight on the horse on the left:

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Doesn’t that cape on the horse look like a QUILT? Again…more Eagles. The year of course was 1939:

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Whatever happened to this Artist that painted this mural?

I love how he signed his signature Calligraphy Style!

At the end of the war, the US army was pretty brutal on Stuttgart….it was a manufacturing area, but they thoughtfully did not destroy the base…and today it is an American army post…and home of the Black Forest Quilters!

As we were driving around, Aby told me to go between a pair of buildings to see what used to be the stables:

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There is now a basketball court and playground…and places for boy scouts to meet, etc. But this is the original structure.

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Another Eagle poised over an entrance door.

Don’t you think it is just an Amazing thing…that a place with such a chaotic history could be used for such a wonderful purpose!?

Believe me…there was much laughter, and joy and creativity and communicating and joining of nationalities going on just while I was there…Who would have guessed that QUILTING is a Universal Language!?

Okay, that and FOOD too…always food! Rolling on the floor laughing

Do you see that pineapple upside down cake?!? I believe that was made by Deb…and it was fabulous…the wonderful array of GOOD EATS was never ending! We all know good times are made better by good food and good friends!

And who would think 70+ years later we would fill this hall up with the likes of THIS:

Of course with THIS much fun, I had to have more than ONE piece of THIS:

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Do you know what THIS is?! I don’t think it is German…it could be, but in my world, this is Intercontinental-Universal-Quilt-Food!! Take it from me…((Yes, those are my teeth marks on it…LOL!)) Crumb cookie crust…FUDGE in the middle..and oatmeal cookie on TOP! Oh Goodness!

I don’t think this building has ever had a happier history than when it is filled with Quilters and good food, and I was so happy to be a part of it!

14 comments:

Melinda said...

Thanks for sharing so much of history you encountered on your trip. I also hope you got the recipe for that chocolate decadence and will share with us.

YankeeQuilter said...

I'm still in touch with a lot of folks back in the UK that I was stationed with...you have made me very antsy to get back to Europe again!

karenfae said...

lovely photos. Sometimes I wish when my husband had been in the navy that we would have lived over seas for awhile but never did. It looks like you had a wonderful time.
Karen
http://karensquilting.com/blog/

Lori said...

What a gorgeous base! And that it quite the room for a quilt class.

Quilter Kathy said...

Absolutely...see what you created?!?! All those happy memories for the quilters...they will never forget the wonderful time they had there with you!
And such great projects were being made that day!

Lisa Werdel said...

Great, that you had a good time on top of all the work you had ! we definitely had a good time attending the course :-) I cut my missing 100 fourpatches today, so the Cathedral Star will not be another UFO in one of my boxes, promised!

LintLady said...

Hi Bonnie,
just make sure you will come back to Germany. I will be there next time,too (I hope *g*).
I guess this piece of cake is called "Streuselkuchen" - Mhhhh .
xxx Doris (still mad, that I couldn`t make it to Stuttgart!)

regan said...

Love all the pics....really love the row of tract-houses with lights on towards the end of the slideshow! Sweet!

All that food looks so good....yum!

Tonya Ricucci said...

woohooo!!!! love all the loving going on in the Love Shacks. so much fun and creativity. that hall is beautiful, what a gorgeous building. that is one dangerous looking dessert!

Man for all seasons said...

What a great post, Bonnie - it really felt like you gave us a personal tour of that interesting building. Just for reference (I used to teach history) a lot of those medieval banners and horse trappings WERE appliquéd, and the knights often had quilted padding under the armour so they didn't get chafed to death on the metal. Many many quilting connections in history, it doesn't all start in an 18th century cottage in the snow!

Carole said...

Well if you come back in 2014, then you definitely would have to plan a couple of days to come and visit Alsace ! Strasbourg, Colmar are really worth the visit, and since I live near Switzerland too I could show you around Basel and some neighbouring charming little towns ! If you're interested and it could fit into your plans, that could be something fun to do ! (besides sewing !)

Laura said...

I am curious to know what kind of sewing maching most German quilters use.

Nancy said...

I am curious to know whether German quilters do their measuring in centimeters or inches.

Rocknquilts said...

Fantastisch!