Saturday, June 03, 2006

Sunday Scribblings #10 - ... earliest memory

My earliest memory is probably so vivid because of this photo of my young parents and 3 year old me with my Oma, my father´s mother. I remember bits and pieces of this day, the day that my parents and I left our little town of Fohnsdorf to first spend a few days with relatives in Vienna and then leave the country to go and live in far away Australia. After months of planning, selling bikes, winter coats and household items and trying to learn english, my mother said goodbye to her parents and my father farewelled his mother and we drove away to a start a new life. This was back in 1969 and my mother was pregnant with my little brother who was born in Sydney about 4 months later. My parents knew that it wouldn´t be possible to just pick up the phone and call overseas, they didn´t know if they´d be able to come back for a holiday soon or ever, if they would see their relatives again or what their lives would really be like in the "new country". I can only imagine what was going through their minds as we drove away in my father´s little VW beatle, past their friend´s houses, past their schools and everything they knew so well and out of town. I remember feeling excited and I can remember looking out of the back window as we were driving away, waving and thinking "why is Oma crying?".

17 comments:

boliyou said...

what a poignant first memory. Thanks for sharing.

Laini said...

I love the photo -- and it was very brave of your parents, and all others who immigrate, knowing they won't see their families often or for many, ever. It's hard to imagine taking that leap. It must have been very scary and exciting for them and you.

~Kathryn~ said...

what a memory to have ... i too can not imagine what it must be like to leave everything you have known to start over in a strange place

Colorsonmymind said...

I love that you shared this memory and photo. I always called my grandma, Oma. Now we call my aunt Oma to my son since my mother is no longer living.

My mother moved to the states from Germany when she was 7-8. There is so much involved and so much courage required to make such a large life change.

AnnieElf said...

What an amazing memory that points up the difference between innocence and awareness. For you it was an adventure. For your oma, it was a heartwrenching good-bye.

susanlavonne said...

What a bittersweet memory...and the photo is precious!

Amber said...

Oh, how touching this is. I can just see Oma crying. How brave your parents were to try something that changed everything they knew.

:)

Angi said...

What an adventure. And to handle it so well as a child says something about you. A great picture too!

Kerstin said...

Isn't it amazing how adventurous our parents were? Travel involved so much more in those days, and communication was nothing like it is today.

I love those kind of old photos, my parents had a VW beatle just like that!

I think it is wonderful that you have a memory of the beginnings of such a big change in your family's life.

Take care, Kerstin

papyrus said...

What a touching personal memory. I'm sure emmigrating like that must have been a major step. It's interesting that you decided to return later in life.

Jennifer said...

great photo. What a touching story.

Jess said...

This is a great picture to go with a bittersweet story. My parents live only an hour away from all my grandparents; I can't imagine how thrilling and terrifying it must be to emigrate to another country, especially before the advent of email and cell phones! How brave.

Alexandra G said...

Very poignant ending to a beautiful, moving memory Claudia. I've moved to other countries before, but I always knew I would be back within a year or two. I just can't imagine picking up like your family did. What guts you have to have. You obviously inherited your courage and adventurous heart from them, yes?

Terri /Tinker said...

At first I thought how sweet the photo was, the grandma holding onto her little granddaughter - then it gained even more poignancy as I read your post...Very touching (& well-written) post.

Madeleine said...

What a lovely photo, full of mixed emotion.
I remember moving from England at the age of 8 to the middle East, and the feelings of excitement and anticipation I felt.
It was a lovely first memory to share. Thankyou.

HoBess said...

How the world has changed! When friends and family moved overseas we kept in regular touch thanks to the earliest incarnations of e-mail. It's hard to remember life before that, when you had to have the money for overseas phone or those great special envelopes for international mail. Life altering adventure, what a first memory!

Jennifer said...

Thank you for the photograph. I love the photos that have been shared for sunday scribblings. I like the way you offer your memory of the time this was taking from the perspective of an adult and a child. The last lines really stand out to me...

www.jenniferwells.typepad.com