Gunter Loos and his wife Birgt Braeske and their two boys Lukas and Simon came over to the Jollie home to pick me up. When they came in the boys wanted to know about this string stuff. They had seen a little from their father and wanted more. We had fun with the two girls and two boys and 3 adults all trying things. Then we ate the open faced sandwiches that people here are famous for. What an assortment.
We then drove to Velbert (vut the V sounds more like an S) where they live in a flat right downtown. We parked in the parking garage and walked down to the street and up to their apartment. They have an enoumous kitchen, living room, and 3 bedrooms. Simon gave up his room for me and he slept in his brothers room. I had my own bathroom, out the door of the apartment and down a half flight of stairs. We visited over a bottle of wine and then turned in.
Monday morning they had breakfast for me. Breads fresh from the bakery downstairs and either sweet things…honey and jelly or salty things…cheese, ham, sausage. We also had tea. That is for breakfast. Coffee comes later in the morning. We did some planning and went for a walk in the town. I needed hearing aid batteries and some information about my phone. We stopped and got the batteries and there was a long line at the phone store so we didn’t stop.
Later, Gunter’s son Lukas…the 7th grader said he could help. He punched in the right things so I could tell how much money I had remaining on my phone. Leave it to kids to program the tv, video machine and phone. They are great boys and so helpful. Simon is a little bashful with English.
We drove to Neviges to see the Mariendom, the next largest cathedral to the Dom in Cologne. It is modern in structure and built to resemble a tent…with many poles and the inside has balconies and levels to simulate a market place. It can seat 6,000 people and is a very magnificant structure. Plain in outside design and inside also is almost stark.
We left there and walked to a traditional church building from the 1400’s. It is now a Lutheran Reform church. It is a round building on the outside and around it are period houses. What a beautiful picture of old Germany in contrast to the modern cathedral.
We left there and went to the Bethesda Gastehaus or Methodist Deaconess home in Wuppertal. Besides being home for the Deaconess who are retired and the current ones, it is a retreat center and guest house. We had a small tour of the beautiful facilities by Elizabeth Drackoff the manager of the retreat center. I had must come in contact with the concept of Methodist Deaconess’ in India. The director of the girls hostel was a Deaconess.
There is also a large Methodist hospital there that used to have a lot of the women from the home working there. They now have a clothing store for needy people in the area as well as other respinsibilities. Gunter and I then drove back to his home for a wonderful meal that Birgit made.
She is taking Italian and came back from her class and fixed us a wonderful Italian meal….no tomato sause. She is such a great cook and has many of the special rices, pastas, spices and things needed to try new recipies. She loves to cook and is teaching the boys also.
After a nap and some computer work, we were going to go to the church where he is the pastor but his car broke down. He walked and said that we could come later after he found someone to pick us up. Thank you God. We were having an evening program of strings for anyone that wanted to come.
We ended up with at least 25 people from many areas. There were two Catholic women who work with children, a woman from the YMCA, some of the older people from the church, one refugee from Togo, a couple of confirmation students and others. We had a rowsing good time. They tried things, laughed and tried again. This trip is going to affect many people as the leaders reach out to teach others.
After the program we got a ride home and had another good meal of bread and meats, cheeses, fish, jellies, and condiments. I went to bet early since I had to get up early to be at the Gynmasium or Secondary school first thing in the morning.
Met Alexander Reis, the religion teacher at the secondary school. My first class was grade 7 which had Lukas in it. There also was one girl that was at the program last night. The kids were not sure what was going to happen and not sure they wanted to listen to this old man. Things changed quickly when we started doing things. Alexander had checked the web site the night before and thought he understood the string stuff but when he saw the first ‘illusion’, WHOH! he was taken aback. I think he was more amazed than the kids.
His ENglish is great and he translated for me and tried to do the string things at the same time. He would get confused and the kids thought it was great. He is a super person and the kids love him. After the class he said that he couldn’t wait to see how the grade 11 students would do with it.
On our way home we stopped at the bakery and I bought a couple of breads that I thought looked good. We went to the apartmant and had coffee and bread. One was a cheese cressaunt…spelling… and the other was a sesame one. They were delicious. I will have to find a German bakery in Oklahoma City.
Gunter wanted to take me to the key museum in Velbert so we went on our way back to the school. Velbert was the lock capital of Germany. They have a museum showing the earliest locks to the present and future. It is a hands on museum with things that kids…and adults can manipulate. Very interesting.
We then went back to the school and found Alexander. There was some confusion as to there the new room was to be and some students came in late but we started with a trick. That had their attention from the very first. They had already heard from the grade 7 kids that it was good so they were primed. Boy did we have a good time. What bright minds. They were very relaxed and had a wonderful time. When we were finished we could have stayed for another hour with them but decided they needed time to process all this and put it in context of their religion class.
Gunter and I walked home from school and he made lunch. I had mentioned that I had not had sauerkraut and bratwurst yet so he fixed it. I got to see how a ‘real German’ does it. I picked up a few good ideas and will have to try them at home. I then finished packing and he took me to the bus station in Velbert where I was to take a train to Wuppertal.
I had two schedules so if I missed the first connection, I could take the next one. The train from Wuppertal was 30 minutes late and I would have missed my train in Koln main station so I took one to Koln - Messe. There I made connection to take a train to Frankfurt. I am getting confident at reading the signs and numbers to find the right gate and time for the train. I then took the U4 to the station near the Seckel home. I made it home safe and sound. Praise the Lord.