Everybody has a story: Similarity to dear old dad failed to halt romance

Couple’s love rose above difference in nationalities

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I grew up along the River Rhine in Germany. My father was a professor who taught in universities before the war. Because he was a government employee, he had to be registered as a leader of the party. He refused two times, but then a card came saying if you don’t register, you have to take the consequences, which is losing your job. So he had to do it.

I always swore never to marry anyone in that authoritarian profession -- but never say never, I guess. Years later, I was in Wies-baden, and I had a blind date. My blind date was of a different nationality, spoke a different language, had a different religion and came from a different country. But he shared my father’s teaching profession. You always marry someone like your father, they say!

My blind date was an American named John. We both were very tired and looked our worst on that first evening. The two people who brought us together were not close friends at all. It didn’t matter to me; I just wanted to practice my school English and have a look at that famous American way of life.

On our second date, in front of the von Steuben Hotel in Wiesbaden, I was one hour late. Not my fault, really -- the hairdresser was late. John waited for me and did not ask any questions. We had a very nice evening, and I took a second look at him.

Two wonderful years of courtship followed. Nobody thought it would work, but it did. Even though we were different nationalities, it wasn’t difficult for us -- just different. My parents were not thrilled that I would marry an American and leave Germany. But my father and John had so much in common -- they really liked each other.

We had our reception at the von Steuben Hotel in 1962, looking out to the spot where we had our second date. I have been practicing my English ever since (John’s German was pretty good) and the famous American way of life has become my daily experience for the past 50 years.

Two successful daughters and grandchildren completed our love story.

John unfortunately has passed away. I enjoy living in the beautiful Northwest, thanking him for waiting for me.

Everybody Has a Story welcomes nonfiction contributions, 1,000 words maximum, and relevant photographs. E-mail is the best way to send materials so we don’t have to retype your words or borrow original photos. Send to neighbors@columbian.com or “Everybody Has a Story,” P.O. Box 180, Vancouver WA 98666. Call Scott Hewitt, 360-735-4525, with questions.