Aachen and the 1930s

As I polish and clean and think of travelling again, I come full circle back to Anne Frank's fountain pen. Her grandmother lived in Aachen in the 30s and it was her grandmother who gifted Anne her pen.

Aachen is the most western city in Germany and near both the Belgian and Netherlands borders. I believe one must fly into Maastricht to get to Aachen.

While pondering, I had a memory of sitting on a terrace in Zurich with my own adopted grandmother, the matriarch of a large Jewish Dutch family, and only one of two family members to survive the war. Fortuitously, and with some clever guile, she and one of her two sons escaped Holland before it was over-run by the Nazis. Her other son, the older of the two, stayed to fight in the resistance and perished.

I can see her lovely, soft face, thick grey hair pulled back in a chignon and twinkling grey eyes smiling over our tea, but concentrated and recounting the past that separated her from the Netherlands, her lost son and brought her to a June day more than twenty years later.

If I focus, perhaps I'll be able to capture something magical from those wonderful days and evenings we shared together and also touch the store-house of her knowledge and intuit what she would have given me or Miriam had she thought to give either of us a fountain pen.

Not rich but affluent, price would not have been an issue, but surely practicality. Colour and comfort would dictate to a large extent what she might have chosen, and most of all she would have selected a fountain pen that she hoped Miriam and I would cherish.

Each time I see a fountain pen offered on the 'bay from this period in history I bid $18.00 and wonder if somehow handling a Soennecken, Geha or Pelikan circa 1930s will reveal to me the secret.

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