samedi, juillet 17, 2010

Sudden Memories

It's funny how memories work. Some seem to be buried deeply and then suddenly emerge, for an unknown reason.
These days, I had to think about a tragedy that happened when I was 11 and did have a pretty deep impact in my emotional life.
My Grandfather loved to go to beautiful Restaurants on Sundays, with the whole family. Mostly those outside in the country, so Grandmother and me (and my uncle, if he was there) could take a long hike trough nature, all while he waited in the Restaurant for our return. He was 15 years older than my grandma and not so good on foot. When we came back from walking, we all had a dinner at the restaurant. This tradition is amongst my brightest memory from childhood.

This particular day, it was not a Restaurant in the country, but one in the Town of Rheinfelden. or was it Birsfelden? I hate to admit it, but I forgot that. Probably because of the trauma.
Anyway,  It was an old, historical house, all with wooden beams and timber. Historical sites and places with heritage of importance were also very appealing to us and so we went there on a sunday.
It was late summer, the day was sunny, bright and warm. We took our diner on the Restaurant's balcony that was build above the Rhine. We could watch the river and the range of historical houses on each side of the Rhine. But the very best thing was, how nice the Restaurant keeper family were to the guests. There was a grandmother who came talking with us and had a great charisma. And 2 little girls who enjoyed to to serve us our plates, playfully and with great pleasure. I remember my Grandfather giving them a bit of money, saying that as real little waitresses, they deserve gratuities. The girls were out of herselves, thanked him a lot and went playing. We enjoyed our stay. It was one of these utter perfect days.

When leaving, I admired once more the magnificent wooden stairs, the decorations and walls of the probably more than 300 year old house. We all promised to come back soon.

The next day, we heard in the early news, that the Restaurant burnt down during the night. I can't describe, the shock it was. I saw the pictures on TV and in the paper. The wooden house didn't have a chance. And the most terrible thing: The grandmother AND the two girls died in the flames.
The House father and his wife were heavily injured.
I was 11 and it was the first time I was confronted with the fact that life, happiness and joy - all can disappear in one single moment. A day of perfection that was reduced to ashes. Just like that.
It happened more than 30 years ago. But when I think of it, it is as it was yesterday. The deep sadness still chains me from the inner heart. I think it was the kind of thing that made me loose the universal trust most children are born with.

1 commentaire:

Feronia a dit…

How sad. I know what you mean, somewhere at some stage in childhood there is that realisation that things are not good and right all the time.