As I was scrolling through my photos, I came to one that made me smile and brought a tear to my eye all at the same time. It is amazing how many fond childhood memories this one photo can invoke for me. For my color challenge, I am sharing with you all a photo of my German grandmother, my Oma, at the age of 90 on her market stand in Heidelberg, Germany.
My grandmother is a strong, free-spirited woman who up until this year, at the age of 93, still sold flowers at her market stand. After fleeing the Soviet invasion of Latvia and, winding up at a displaced person’s camp in post-war Germany, my grandmother started selling flowers on the market to make ends meet for her family. She has been selling flowers to people with a true devotion to her floral works of art ever since …. approximately 60 years. Market work is hard but my grandmother had a true passion for “her” flowers. She treated them almost like her babies. If a flower lost it’s bloom, she would pick the bloom off the ground and put it in a bud vase on her windowsill. She hated to see any single flower lost. She had an amazing eye for which flowers went together and hands of steel with which to hold her bouquets. The roses she used had thorns like daggers.
As children, we spent many summers in Heidelberg helping her sell on the market. This requires getting up quite literally at the crack of dawn and working until about 3 or 4 in the afternoon. My grandmother bought many flowers from the wholesalers but was an early adopter of locally sourcing her flowers as well. This meant driving around tiny farm roads picking up freshly cut snapdragons, sweet peas, daisies, roses, and anything else that was in season from local gardners. For us children, these old farmers would always give us little bags of freshly picked cherries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. We would then stop at the local bakery and pick up some pastries and a canteen of coffee to have on the market. I’m pretty sure my Oma is the source of my sweet tooth. She would buy so many wonderful pieces of plum cake, apple cake, and of course there had to be freshly made whipping cram.
She became such an icon of the markets in Heidelberg that on her 90th birthday, the main newsaper in Heidelberg (Rhein Neckar Zeitung) wrote an article about her and her history on the market.
I’m sure I’m way off of topic for the color challenge but I just felt compelled to share this story with you all. I hope you enjoy it and