So a little known fact, H and I can polka and pretty well actually. We took the kids to the Oktoberfest this weekend. I have to say the Oktoberfest here is as about as authentic as the Irish Fest. It is an American version of why a Oktoberfest might actually be.
And that isn't all that fair. H and I have been to some festivals in Germany and they are similar to ours-- food, beer, wine, and fun. I do recall the food being better...
When L was young and we went to Germany, before this blog existed and before E was on the scene, we went to a Spring Festival. There was music and dancing, kids activities and plenty of drinks. Drinks served in real glasses.
Germans have a tradition of beer halls, beer gardens and Stammtisches. Time to gather and drink and socialize.
I have to say the bands at the Oktoberfest were very good and the kids danced and H and I did too...
The children are over half German. H is 100% and I have a quarter or so in me. It is their heritage, even if we do no belong to a German-American society like H's parents did. We don't use real candles on the Christmas tree and while I make a mean schnitzel, I can't make a strudel to save my life.
I remember when all things German were treated with suspicion. When I was a child there were whispers of Nazis and Walls and responsibility. East Germany was a scary place. (And honestly, it was... and I have some toilet paper from East Germany, from my time studying aboard and that stuff was like sandpaper...)
I remember one of my first non-academic run ins with East Berlin and the realities of a totalitarian regime was the movie Gotcha. We would get it from the library. I know I watched it more than once before my trip and after.
So while we polkaed away and the kids ate American food and wrinkled their noises at H's goulash, I wondered, what will they remember of their Oma and her country? Is that the reality of the melting pot, does it all fade away to a facsimile of what is real?