I took the train from Hamburg to Muenster (Monster) today. It stopped in Bremen en route .
My mother was born in Bremen, in 1935 (ish). My mother, like the protagonist in the movie Big Fish, doesn't tell factual stories, so the details of her life are hazy to me at best. It seems probably that she was in Bremen during the war, and later Hamburg, and that still later she was put on a train with other children evacuated from the city to Switzerland.
My mother has left Germany behind her, totally. Germany as a whole is her Monster.
She doesn't know I am here.
Today the train sped through fields of remarkable flatness, over bridges above narrow canals of water, through groves of tall, straight-trunked trees whose small round leaves explain incontrovertibly what Klimt was going for in his paintings, past two-storey farmhouses with clay-tiled roofs, and into Bremen with its ornately-fronted Geibel-Hauses (reproduced in the Eighteenth-Century style after the bombings or original? Hard to tell from the train). It's beautiful here.
Mother tells the story of being at her grandmother's farmhouse (where? Somewhere in this flat green countryside?) and riding the black pig across the fields, until it plunged into the canal at the end of a field in order to get her off.
(It's nice to be thinking of my mother and not so much of the various ways my heart is parceled.)