By appointment, I called with Mama and Emily on Herm. Piege, and he took us to the house on the Hohe Strasse where I was born.
When I looked him up at his home in the Klosterstrasse, I met a lady at the door and asked for Hermann. She asked me whether I could tell her what I wanted, and I told her that my name was Jacoby and that I wanted to see him. Oh, she answered, we do not play in the lottery. It seems that there is in this city a man by my name who sells Lotterie Loose. Well, I told her that I was another Jacoby from America, and she bid me welcome and took me into see him.
They expected us for coffee in the afternoon, and she showed me a set of dishes which she had brought out in our honor and which she received from Father as a wedding present 41 years ago.
And now he took us over to the house, and it bore the number 13, and this explains why I always considered 13 a lucky number and why I have been such a lucky fellow all my life long.
I could not find the exact spot where my cradle stood, for the house, “For a wonder” has changed hands since we lived there, and it has been altered, but Mama and Emily and I entered and stood under the spot or rather under the roof which covered the spot anyhow.
I made the cabbie drive us along the Langes Strasse, the Faulenstrasse with its reminders of our old hardware, dry goods, and grocery store and along the Geeren, past the Diepenau to the Stephani Kirche, and along the Doventhos Strasse, past the old Doventhors’ Kirchhof and the house where I called on Fraulain Stadtlander, to the new Micahaelis Kirche, which is built between the Dusteru St. and Doventhos Steinweg on the Daventers Deich.It has a very fine altar and modern stained glass windows. From here, we drove to Armine’s and called for our packages, and thence to the Am Wall where I addressed an old inhabitant with a long pipe attachment and tried to locate, with his help, the house in which we lived when I was about nine years old.
He finally referred me to Miss Kotzenberg an old teacher, who still lives in the same house where she was born some 5O years ago, but I did not know how to approach her, and, although I remembered the name, I did not call on her but located the house anyhow.
After dinner and a short nap I took train for Blumenthal where Fred Schrecks brother lives. I passed through Vegesack where I changed cars to a road which runs to Farge.
Autumn is approaching, and, up to now, we have not had any summer weather. The harvesting has commenced, and it looks very queer to me to see them mow grain with scythes, and I have even seen them carry it in their arms into the hall room to be beaten or thrashed by hand.
It seemed so queer, too, to ride in a railroad car through old Lesum to Blumenthal. There is a very large woolen mill here employing some 3000 hands in which Jean Schreck, Sr. holds some clerical position. I easily found his home and his son, Jean, Jr., has a dental office in the same building.
I was received by Jean’s wife and taken upstairs to Fred’s mother, a firm old lady, same size as our “Fidjan,” and dressed in black with a pretty black cap like Mother wore. She can hardly see anymore, and her hearing is bad, too. She is 83 years old and looks very contented and happy. We managed to understand each other, and I had to answer many questions.
Fred really ought to visit them once more before she passes away, but she looks good for 90 years and more. They all were delighted to hear me talk Bremer Plattdeutsch [Bremen Low German].
Jean’s wife is a fine lady with gray hair. She has 7 boys and 3 girls and looks young in spite of this fact. As Jean was not expected home before 6:30, I took my feet in my hands and, accompanied by 2 of the girls and a cousin, walked to Hammersback (a twenty minutes walk) where Fred’s twin sister, Mrs. Pusch, lives.
We found her busy at work ironing, but she was glad to see a friend of her brother “Fietjen” and took me into the best room and showed me his picture when he was married and Mary’s hanging on the wall above the sopha [sic], also Frieda’s picture in an album.
I had to look at her vegetable garden and at her big St. Bernhard dog, Bismarck, and at the chickens and pigs and the cherry tree with red cherries ripe for picking, also at the gooseberries, and she insisted on the girls picking some of these to take along to my ladies.
As I could not take coffee with her, I had to take a “Lutgen bitters,” and, when she saw how I enjoyed it, she filled a small bottle for me to take along. She is a little bit of a woman, smaller than Fred, something like Frida Lucke Wagner.
A walk home through the woods and past an immense park with a summer home, the property of Wetgen, the Bremer merchant prince, brought us to the main street of Blumenthal just when the gates of the woolen mills opened and poured forth the thousands of men and women going home from their day’s work, neatly dressed and clean, so different, so very different, from our American factory hands.
Jean Sr. looks almost exactly like Fred, only a bit more corpulent and a little bit taller. Jean Jr., a bright young fellow, showed us his office and waiting room, also his home. He lost his wife after one year of happy married life. Jean Sr. saw me to the depot, and at home I found Gartners, and we spent a pleasant evening.
Ta, Ta, Papa.