|A rare shot with my four grand parents, dating back to 1993 (when I still had hair): Fern (2nd from left; he's probably the reason I lost my hair...) and his wife Marcelle (far right) were from Alsace; Edmond (far left) and Paulette were from Vinça|
|Fern and I in the early 1980s|
|Artwork by Fernand Gebhardt (1926-2012)|
|Old postcard of Rosheim|
|Christmas market in downtown Niederbronn-les-bains|
|Family house in Niederbronn-les-bains, November 2012 – fun fact: about 12 years ago, I planted the tree you see on the left side...|
|My grand parents Fern and Marcelle in the 1950s, when my mom was about 2 years old|
|View from Fern's apartment –which now belongs to my parents– in Strasbourg|
|Sandstone cathedral in Strasbourg|
|Panoramic view from the top floor over the village and the Vosges mountains|
I recently hiked in the area again, and I paste some of the pictures taken from that hike below.
|Niederbronn sits at the heart of the Parc Naturel Regional des Vosges du Nord|
|Forest near Niederbronn - check out the soft bright green moss on the ground, isn't that just awesome? Straight out of the Shire...|
|Further down the same hiking trail|
|A lake ("etang de Hanau") at the end of the trail. My parents actually got hitched there back in 1975!|
Stories I also like to tell and that you may thus have heard —in spite of Chrysa protesting with a "oh no, not again!"— are that Alsace is the home of the Statue of Liberty, and of the glass ornaments we are so used to hang on Christmas trees :)
South of France and Alsace are as far away as Latin America and Scandinavia, in many ways: culture, mentalities, pace of life, etc. So it's been quite difficult to find my own identity. Over those years of living abroad, particularly in the US melting pot, I think I realized that I am a blend of both places! I am in particular grateful to my grand parents for having planted seeds of our traditions in me and for having watered them over the years.
Fern passed away on November 27th. Like that of Edmond, Paulette and Marcelle before him, his spirit goes on, with me and the new generation it is now my turn to help raise. Such is my promise to them!
|A week after Vinça, another pilgrimage to a cemetery where my ancestors are buried|
|Rose on my grand father's grave|
|C and Q with Fern in Niederbronn in April 2010|