Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Gift of Adopted Families

Emma and Martina joined us for the weekend just a few hours after we dropped Matt off at the Salzburg airport.  These two sisters from South Tyrol are Neas' daughters and their lives are deeply entwined with ours.  Neas' mother is the woman who "took in" Peter and his brother during WWII.  Neas and her sisters were like older sisters or aunts to Peter until their mother died - then Neas stepped in as the farm mother for Peter.  Martina is Peter's goddaughter;  Emma is my age and was already married, mother of one with one on the way, and in charge of the farm when Peter and I lived there (Afers, Italy) in 1982.  We will spend our Christmas with this family - their children, grandchildren, friends, and lovers.

In December 1945, Neas and her sister rode the horse that pulled a sleigh from Afers to Brixen.  This is a distance of about 15 kilometers and a drop from 1500 meters above sea level to 500 meters above sea level.  It was bitter cold and Peter's four year old brother, Klaus, was wrapped in a tight bundle to protect him from the icy night air.  He was dying from dyptheria and by the time they reached Peter's mother in Brixen, he was dead.  The war continued to take lives even after it was over.

Neas - she died in July 2009

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