At Five Minute Friday writers gather and set a timer for a 5 minute writing practice on the word of the week. This week’s word is CULTURE.
It was my Oma’s culture before I knew it was German. What I associated with a woman I adored and who took care of me was a whole place across the ocean.
The rituals instilled in me were centered around coffee, food, cleanliness, perfectionism, privacy, and order. Strong coffee was served several times a day with sugar for my Opa and thick condensed milk for my Oma.
Brotchen (rolls) with liverwurst and sandwiches with a variety of breads were a regular staple. Potatoes went with everything. There was cabbage of some form on the table as well: red cabbage, cabbage soup, and sauerkraut.
Oma had daily rituals for cleaning and one was to have all the dinner dishes completed by 10 p.m. so she could watch her news program. The image of her standing with the overhead sink light on is seared in my brain. After the last dish was done, the kitchen was closed. No exceptions.
Privacy was a large issue in my Oma’s house. I had no idea my Oma and Opa were at odds throughout my childhood. When I was in college I was deemed “old enough” for the truth to fly all over the car on a trip to dinner out. I would have been content to have never reached an acceptable age for that kind of sharing. To be a perpetual child would have been a gift.
My Oma is still with me even though she passed away in her sleep in 2000. She influences me in ways I sometimes don’t even notice. I bought a house that was the exact layout as hers. I didn’t notice until another family member pointed it out.
If I am half the woman my Oma was in strength and grit and love I am doing ok as a human.