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Historic Rendezvous in Marlenheim

In the summer of 1969, two seventeen year-old girls and one fifteen year-old boy, met in the Vosges Mountains of France at a hostel where our parents had taken us to do hiking in the mountains. I was staying with a host family in Alsace, the Wendlers. My memories are vague and foggy at this point, but I know that Michele and I met Klaus, who was near to our age, and we spent time together that weekend and exchanged addresses when we parted as both Michele and I had many ‘pen friends’ that we kept up with across the world. Klaus and his family were from Frankfurt, Germany.

I continued my correspondence with Michele and Klaus after our chance meeting, and Klaus ended up visiting me, along with his girlfriend, Elke, and his older brother, in 1979. I was living in New York City at the time, and my home was on the route that they were taking to the west of the U.S. Despite spurts and starts of correspondence through the years, I had not seen Klaus since 1979. He married Elke, has a lovely daughter named Anna Maria, and lives in Frankfurt today. Most recently he was involved in researching a branch of my German family which comes from a small village north of Frankfurt called Raboldshausen. Somehow, he tripped upon a cousin of mine (our great-grandfathers were brothers) who lives in Rochester, New York, who is also involved with family research. This cousin is named Dean and he is a retired university professor who lives in Rochester, New York.

Klaus connected Dean and I and this led to a very interesting discovery for me about my Froehlich family. In fact, Dean was the repository of family research done by another relative from the Detroit area (my home town and region). Dean sent all of these records to me — it was quite a surprise! But Dean is alone and over eighty years old now with no children to pass on to so perhaps he decided to send all these research results to me since I was at least someone who was interested in our common roots.

Klaus has been wanting to get-together so as I was traveling to Alsace to visit Michele and Jacques, I suggested that we all meet in Marlenheim, a small village with a lovely restaurant and auberge. We met as planned and celebrated our reunion with a multi-course Alsatian meal, beginning with a glass of champagne! Regional specialties such as fois gras terrine, brochette of escargots, and choucrout garni were presented artistically. It was really a special meal to mark the celebration of old acquaintances meeting again, now all of us in our sixties, after forty-five years from our first meeting.

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