That Mädchen in München

Photo - Karlsplatz Stachus, Munich. Model: Monica Morton 

It was a simpler time. Interpersonally. And, surely, geopolitically. Many young Americans would think nothing to just pick up and go. Anywhere. The world was ours. No worries. No plans. Plans? Things would sort themselves nicely when we got there. Ah, youth!

So, true to my national character, I skipped heading off to college after middle school. Instead, a rail pass trip in Europe. How long a stay? We'll see. Then, the world was an open book. Only my own first few pages had been turned. 

I'm remembering her now. In Alte München. It was a late sunny morning and I was wandering about, aimless and free. Looking for adventure? Not really; as such. But, heck, a young man, fancy free ... adventure would find me.

And then, there she was. In Karlsplatz Stachus. Could've been a fashion model at that fountain, a statue of some water nymph come to life. Like young men will do — and, just like that, as they will do — I fell in love. Maybe not with her. But, the idea of her. Alas, try to make that distinction when you're young and your chemistry is fully stocked. I know it's an overused expression; but, love is blind. Well, now in a more mature time in my life ... it can be [blind]; but, not necessarily.

Like Americans are reputed the world over, I took the plunge. Not in the fountain, silly. But, I might as well have. Wait and see.

Her name was Claire. So romantic. All springtime and fragrant flowers. Soft as a mountain breeze. And, as fresh. I won't reveal her surname, out of respect for her privacy. This is, if I hadn't mentioned it, a true story. As true as any story can be, that is. Whether, in fact, it is true; I'm not saying it is, or that it isn't. 

Besides, her family name was so archly Teutonic, to mention it even for sake of completeness would shatter the romantic spell she clearly had cast on me. You know, multi-syllabic, with lots of hard vowels and points of emphasis and guttural pronunciations. Let's just say ... Claire. "Von" something. So you should know this was one class act. Class was in her bloodline. As if I should have to say. Just look at her! That get up!

It's not that she was trying to cast a spell. But, there she was. There I was. Kismet.

So, to bring the story along for you ... I casually walked up and then, without a pause, I sidled next her on the lip of that fountain. Like two young bashful kids we were. She knew I was interested. She might be too. But, girls in those simpler times didn't let on. How you then can say that it was "simpler", that's too complicated to figure. Just say she wasn't showing her hand. Ah, the mysterious feminine charm. It's built in to them. Thankfully. She wasn't playing a game. Just being proper. Despite what her own chemistry might be brewing. Women seem to have a good portion more control in matters l'amour toujours.

I came out with the basic classic opening gambit. "Good morning, are you from around here?" "Yes," she said. But, in her native tongue: "Yawohl." Oh, the romance of the German language. So matter of fact. Then she said something that changed the mood, and furthered the romantic possibilities. "Du bist der mann meiner träume!" Before I could thumb through my German-English translation guide, she scooped me up without a warning, and we went off together tethered like two lovers. Looking back, it's hard to know if what she said was for real, or just sarcastic irony. 

Never mind. There I was, arm in arm, with the most beautiful girl in Munich. In the world, for all I knew. We were in a world of our own making. Like lovers all over, and all times.

But, wait! Lovers? Young men have rich fantasy lives, you know. But, girls in Europe don't necessarily have the same signals as those I knew back home. All's I knew for sure was that we were walking together, arm in arm. But, in a very real connected way. Unspoken. Comfortable.

It can be a special thing when a man and a woman don't share the same language. You have to rely on instinct. Gestures say a lot. Holding my arm so closely and softly as she did, that said all I wanted to know. We belonged together. Maybe not forever, but for now. Now! Potent with possibility. Mystery. 

After a while, just walking together as we did, having become so comfortable with one another, she spotted a café. Konditorei as they say thereabouts. Bakeshop in the front. You select something to nibble, get a strong cup of Coffee; then, go with your tray to the crowded back space to find a table. Never mind the crowd. And the din of conversations, and forks, and cups and saucers. We, as I said, were in our own world.

We sat there, enjoying our treats. Me looking deeply into her beautiful dark eyes. She, letting me take her in, wordlessly. As you can tell, I was in love. After who knows how long, she stood up. Gesturing for me to stay seated. She bestowed the softest kiss on my cheek. And, with a finger raised as if to signal, "wait just a moment", she walked away. I waited for her to return. She didn't.

I never saw her again. I think s
he must've been an angel. For real. It was miraculous, really. For an eternity it seemed, I was so full of her, and my feelings for her ... and then she was gone. The realization brought me back to the moment. Snapped. Untethered from the past. Sitting there with my feelings and thoughts, the sounds and sights surrounding me. Nothing else but the present moment. Transcendent.

As you might suspect, she took up a place in my heart. Did I fall for her? I think so. I visit her in that private "stachus" in my heart. Hoping she is well. Loving, And, loved. 

Auf wiedersehen, mein liebchen. You are a song in my heart.

Blast From The Past

Now here is a true blast from my past. We had that very radio. Philco 1946 Sliding tambour cover.

In the early 1950s it was a kind of a thing — maybe because portable radios were fairly new tech then — for youths to stroll around outside with portable radios. This unit could be plugged into a wall electric outlet. It also could carry a battery.

I remember once trying to get in on the trend and went out with this radio on my shoulder. Early boom box.
Angels Among Us

The other day I was sitting in the reception area at my office waiting for my appointment to arrive. Sitting near to me in the small set of chairs around a coffee table with magazines was a gentleman and his little daughter. Very little. Looked like she'd been walking only for a little while; in diapers. And, small and as delicate as an Iris blossom.

I made an attempt to make some simple hello contact. The little girl was very quiet, moved softly and slowly, seeing everything. Reacting to nothing. Fully aware. And, no response.

I asked her if she talked. Nothing. Dad suggested she was "shy". I said to him she seemed to me to be more ... observant.

At some point she picked up a magazine her Dad was going through with her earlier and came to stand right in front of me. I asked I I could put her on my lap. Dad was fine. She just let me pick her up.

There I was with this little wisp of human thumbing through a catalog with mostly faces of people giving Yoga-centered workshops. Not too much to talk about with a one year old. Then — nice surprise — in a two page spread there was this beautiful flower covered tree. "Look at that, it's called a tree. It has flowers. Can you point to the flowers." She just sat there silently taking it all in. It felt so heartwarming to be in a parental teaching role for that brief time.

The Dad and Daughter were waiting for Mother while she was having a prenatal exam. Little brother or sister soon coming. The doctor called them into his office. The little girl carefully placed the magazine on the stack on the table.

As she was leaving the area she gave me a nice wave goodbye. Very unschooled, hand facing upward, fingers opening and closing. Queen-like. But, not prompted.

A blessing. I took it as a signal that we had made contact with one another.

I had asked Dad what was the girl's name. It sounded to my ear like, "Ashuleah". Very delicate and lyrical, just like the girl herself. I asked if there was some meaning to the name. "The first part is an Old Jewish name. Nobody knows what it means. The second is Leah, from the Bible."

I looked it up and the best I can find is that Altschul is an early 14th century Ashkenazi name associated with the Old Synagogue in Prague. Leah from the Old Testament, the story goes was Jacob's first wife and mother of six sons and a daughter. Jacob, you see, was not all that keen for Leah. So God consoled her with many children. The name originates from the Assyrian language and means "ruler".

Did I tell you the Father was an Orthodox Jew?

Looking back on our exchange it struck me how I remarked the girl was "observant".

Angels among us.

Giving Mother Her Respect

I am thinking about how our mothers share in our lives. Our joys are theirs. And our sorrows.
Our sharing is not just in terms of outer events, like getting together and keeping in touch. Stories. But, in some mysterious way, more directly and intimately in the conduct of our lives and our experiences. It may be that our mothers feel us living inside them. Maybe not directly as such. But, in a shared resonance.
Also, Mother Earth, doesn't she also share in our lives. And, maybe, in a way more visible and apparent. When we live heedless of our surroundings, the Earth . . . that has consequence to the environment . . . in the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we grow and consume.
XXX Rated xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Proceed Cautiously ... Offense Can Be Taken

[If So ... Take It With You. And ... Get Over It!]