Monday, October 27, 2014
The Queer Part Of Germany
The plaque that accompanies this sculpture indicates that this piece is from the early 16th century, made of wood and leather, and originated in either southern Germany or Austria. Oh Lord, I thought after I'd read that last bit. Like most Pennsylvanians, I have German ancestry, quite a lot, actually. My paternal grandmother would loudly tell all and sundry that she was 100% German, and proud of it! Her first husband, my father's father, was zero percent German and that marriage ended in tears when my father was but five years old. Next my grandmother married a fellow German, but one that she always claimed cryptically was from 'the queer part of Germany'. I had no idea what that meant and when we'd press her for clarification she'd yell that we (my siblings and I) didn't know nothin', and that the answer was somehow obvious. We were blind idiots.
I suppose the answer was obvious, once I had the answer. My grandfather, technically step-grandfather, but I grew up with him, so he was my real grandfather, for reasons relating to my father being something of a no-account swindler, left me in charge of his estate when he died. While writing grandpa's obituary for the local newspaper, I discovered amongst his documents that his parents had immigrated from....Austria. So, in my grandmother's thinking, this was the 'queer part of Germany'. Austria.