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Blog 28 - The Wall

I am going to enlist the help of you, my readers, to unravel the significance....indeed if there is any, of the arrows on my scarf today. I will give you all the clues I have and I then look forward to your ideas. I don't have an answer myself.

This is the first time I have shown a German scarf. I have good German friends in Germany and in UK and who knows? .....maybe elsewhere in the world. My scarf is of first class quality silk with hand rolled edges in two colours only, a deep burnt orange and dark blue. I was attracted by the orange colour and bought it in England, second hand to me but in pristine, brand new condition. The designer is Heinz Oestengaard. It took me a long time to decipher his signature on the scarf, but then I was off on my research. He was born in Berlin and served in the army during WW2, imprisoned in Russia and on his return to a blitzed Berlin, set about designing clothes with whatever materials he could find, mainly from old military uniforms. His first clientele, with cash in hand, were the ladies of the night, to use a euphemism, but from that somewhat shady start, he went on with innovation using the new synthetic fabrics , going from strength to strength, gaining a wealthy clientele and dressing the German film stars of the day like Romy Schneider. He then moved to something quite new with the organisation Quelle in Munich dressing a wider public with outlets as far afield as Hong Kong. His other claim to fame was designing a work overall without front buttons for the powerful ADAC, Europe’s biggest automobile breakdown service, like our RAC or AA in Britain. This overall was orange and designed without buttons so the vehicle cellulose would not get scratched when breakdown repairs were being carried out. And not least, he was invited to redesign the uniforms for the German police force! They were certainly not in my burnt orange colour. So there you have as many clues as I can give you on the design of my scarf. There may be no special significance to the arrows.

So which personal memory does this bring to me? When our children were very young, we extended hospitality to young foreign students. If we could not travel easily abroad, then I brought the world to my home. We had many German visitors. One lass had visited three years running and her parents insisted on our visiting their home in Dortmund on the fourth year. They did not speak English, we spoke no German. I struggled with schoolgirl French with our friend's father and somehow we all got along. The two men went to the beer tavern with no common language, yet united in their love of convivial company and a raised glass. It was Easter and my young daughters were introduced to the German Rabbit with egg hunts in the garden and more chocolate than they had ever seen..... the raw wounds of war were forgotten. Looking back now, I can hardly believe my husband and I left our precious, very young offspring, in the care of this family whilst we did the precarious journey from Düsseldorf to Bremen, taking from there a small plane through the air corridor into West Berlin. That was one of the most emotional days of my life, visiting the prewar Berlin Olympic Stadium, having coffee and cream cakes on the Kurfürstendamm where well dressed ladies sat with well coifed tiny dogs.......and then seeing the total contrast of life on the other side of the Berlin Wall.......grey, blitzed, hopeless. I had tears in my eyes and felt guilty at peering at the misery from a tall viewing tower. I had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude at my own good fortune and could not wait to see my children again who had been very well loved in our absence. This friendship continued despite our moving around the world; our German friend graduated from University, reached professorship herself, moved to India with her work, later her husband to China, my husband and I to Hong Kong and USA. We lost and found each other many times. Finally, to add a postscript to the East-West Wall experience, we visited Germany again, this time to Hamburg. The entire wall separating East and West was now down and together we collected a souvenir from its ruins. I still have that little piece of concrete today.

How relevant this blog is now with walls and barricades all over the place! Now what is the significance of these arrows on my scarf? ......or am I just longing to get out of the house and line up on arrows to get around Marks and Spencer again instead of ordering my groceries on line? The vaccination programme is rolling out, so I have high hopes.

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 28.

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