Let me set the stage. I’ve just returned from an overnight visit with my folks. We had a fun card-playing-filled afternoon/evening followed by the usual line up of tv shows and early bedtime. Then a sunny day of errands and a walk in the park. I’m home now on the back deck. The Bay is still and crystal clear. I have the Hallmark channel on Sirius (I love this channel …. all great love songs!) a glass of wine and my train of thoughts. While Rudy and Molly nap peacefully ….
We drift back in time to 1952. The war is over and the mood is getting brighter. Better days are ahead and the rebuilding of a tattered nation is exciting and promising. Youngsters are oblivious of the destruction that passed with its dark shadow. Parents are hopeful. Teenagers are breaking free from their forced limitations and restrictions. It’s a new world and spirits are filled with adventure and new beginnings.
Somewhere in a small village called Oberkochen there’s a dance school offering teens a chance to refine their skills and provide a much needed social outlet. An acceptable way to meet possible suitors and young ladies. There’s no dating websites. This is it. A social gathering of available and eager people.
It’s here at the weekly dancing classes that Brigitte and Reinholt joyfully twirl and twist to classical staples. All of the dances are choreographed to their delight. There are many other “couples” who have enlisted to mix and mingle. It’s a popular and acceptable (read rated G) way for youth to express themselves. Also in the crowd is Rudi and his partner a lively girl from Austria. When the dance series ends after so many weeks there is a finale including a party. All of the ladies bring a cake to have with coffee. It seems that this is a showcase of culinary skills that does not go unnoticed. Brigitte brings a complicated bouche with cream and intricate braids and the Austrian brings a cheesecake. I’m delighted that these details are so vivid almost 70 years later!
The finale is called the Tanz Krenzle (the dance circle) and all of the couples socialize after dancing at tables set for dessert and coffee (otherwise known as Kaffee und Kuchen). It’s here where Rudi makes his move on Brigitte. He offers to take her home. His Austrian madchen is meeting her cousin so he is free to bust loose. Reinhold is not impressed; he insists that HE will be the escort home. Rudi asks Brigitte if she has her house key and Reinhold responds that he has the key.
In a bold move Rudi requests the key from Reinhold politely with a thinly veiled threat of physical domination should the key not be handed over immediately. Reinhold assesses the situation, and, getting no encouragement from Brigitte, takes the key and tosses it in the nearest snow bank. A very politically correct FU for the times. Rudi retrieves the key and escorts Brigitte home.
Such is the beginning of a lifetime of love and partnership.
It so happens that my in-laws also met at the local dance hall. Stella was 14 and Rudy was 19. They were happily married for almost 80 years. Can you imagine?!
The parallels are not lost on me and I can’t think of a more romantic way to start a lifelong love affair. I’m sure there’s a cheeky and clever comment to be made here, but I’m just overwhelmed with gratitude. And love. ❤️