Memories from Germany



Sometimes things come back to you – fleeting memories that make you smile.  I have a few that crop up every now and then, and they’re quite familiar.

Occasionally though, you recall one of those memories from a long time ago that you haven’t thought of in ages, and it *really* makes you smile. And with it come other memories.

I had one of those the day I first wrote this post.

Sparked by ‘something and nothing’ in a conversation, I found myself thinking back almost thirty years. I’m in Tubingen during the third year of my four-year language degree, and I’m thinking of a strange German caretaker who was obviously tired of foreign students who didn’t speak German and didn’t look after their rooms, who just got drunk all the time and broke things….well, you get the idea.

He’d been quite grumpy all year while I was at University at the Eberhard-Karls Universitat, in Schwaben in southern Germany and I was quietly proud that I’d actually tried to speak German and I’d tried to look after “my little piece of Germany” – most of my funds for the year had been spent on coffee, it’s true, but I’d been fairly diligent and no trouble.

Then someone kicked my door in the week before end-of-year. I never found out who.

I was going to lose my 50 Deutschmarks (yes it was that long ago), and I really couldn’t afford it.

I think it was after I said that the deposit was “my money” and not funded by a college or bank, that he decided to let me have all of my deposit back but I remembered vividly how surprised and happy I was at that precise moment.

Danke sehr, Herr Mang – I know you had to come out the week after and rebuild and re-paint the door frame, and I know you probably had to do it out of a general maintenance budget rather than with my 50DM but I really appreciated it. I hope I said thank you enough at the time, but I fear I may have lost my silky-smooth German skills (you’re not fooling anyone. Ed)

The other memory is the pic you can see, two great friends and I discussing (sorry) toilet noises to try and make us all laugh. Looks like it worked. 🙂

Good times indeed….

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  • I spent my third year at Uni in Tubingen too! I had such a great time, it’s a lovely town, I hope that I get to go back one day. Now you’ve sparked all my memories of Germany, I’m going to go and dig out my photos!

  • I spent my second year of Uni in WHO. I remember Herr Mang! We went to try and get him to sort something out late one evening… I just remember him opening his door the merest of CRACKS and growling “Ich hab’ kein Dienst!”

  • What a great post, absolutely tickled me pink as you do get a strange image of a really tired old caretaker just letting out a huge sign and shaking his head when he saw your door. You must have been devastated, but in the end very relieved, what a wonderful gesture from him! Love the picture – about time I got some of my old pictures out and had a walk down memory lane too!

  • Good old toilet humour – my 5-year old can’t get enough of it 😉

    A lovely gesture from the caretaker, must have been such a relief. I remember travelling in my 20’s with my sister and we were so broke, losing even a small amount would have been a nightmare for us at the time.

  • My kids love nothing better than a bit of toilet humour too, they are all a tad youger than you were there though! It is a great photo and super to look back on memories. Mich x

  • I love how memories can be triggered when you least expect them. For me it’s smells that trigger memories!
    LOVE that photo! I can imagine the Bruce I know laughing like that now too 🙂

  • What a brilliant picture! Makes me laugh just looking at it. And what a lovely memory. It’s funny how these things just come back to us all of a sudden isn’t it. I wonder how Herr Mang is now?