Over a year ago I wistfully blogged about the demise of handwriting in schools ( German Handwriting). In it I made a plea for someone out there to transcribe the pages in Mom’s cookbook that were in her handwriting.
I googled “German Handwriting” around the first week of November 2012 and came across the website of “Sutterlin Stube Hamburg eV”. which appears, of course, in German. Using the on-line translator, it showed the following information:
The Sutterlin Institute was founded in 1996 as a local working group for the transfer of old documents from German into Latin script by residents of the Old Centre Ansgar in Hamburg’s Long Horn. In subsequent years (there was) worldwide expansion of this volunteer activity. On 6 May 2009, the club Sütterlinstube Hamburg e.V (was) founded as a nonprofit association. Members come from the city of Hamburg and surrounding areas.
The second paragraph:
Does your family have old handwritten documents, family documents or seals in loving grandmothers autograph book? And you can not read these family treasures? Maybe we can help you! …
Wow! I didn’t waste any time sending my scanned pages and had a reply in a very short time. The results came to me by email in the German language, but with the use of both Microsoft and Google translator, I am now making some sense of the writing. I will be posting the results in the near future.
Stories are handed down in most families, and undoubtedly get warped over time. I really warped this one about the cookbook! Somehow, my story was that this cookbook (undoubtedly!) was a gift of Mom’s brother, Aloys, who was by trade a baker. Uncle Aloys died in WWII. Mom had said at some point that Aloys made a delicious “Butter Kuchen”. So, my story goes that Aloys had given Mom the cookbook as a wedding gift with his prized “Kuchen” recipe among the beautifully handwritten pages. This made sense to me because a number of the recipes had “Kuchen” in the title. Now, isn’t that just a lovely story? But was it true?……
My sister Eleanor said “I don’t think so! I think these are recipes that Mom wrote down, herself. Remember, she worked in Holland for a doctor’s family and I think those recipes came from that time.” Hmmmmmm…..I checked the family tree again. When Mom and Dad married in 1929, Aloys would have been only about eleven years old! Well, my story began to unravel!
Ellie’s story proved a lot more substantial than mine when Google identified some of the terms in the writings as “Dutch”! Alas, I am inclined to believe that the writing in the cookbook was, indeed, my Mom’s. The handwriting looks to be done very carefully on the menus and recipes that were in black ink. The handwriting on two pages in blue ink do not appear as carefully done, but I think they are also Mom’s and probably were added when she was a busy housewife and mother.
I think it’s ironic that my noticing an article about the demise of handwriting coincides with the mission of this group of German people. I am really enchanted with their objectives and am posting them as revealed to me in the online translator:
Our statutory objectives
Activation of the ability to read the Romanised and write. To do this the Club offers its own courses and action by individual members in the context of other educational institutions.
Assistance in the transfer of historical documents from the German in the Latin script as a contribution to a meaningful life in retirement, for an understanding between the generations and (in some cases) to preserve world’s German heritage from oblivion and make it available to the wider research.
Accompanying historical research that make a “history from below”, i.e. the history of the often forgotten culture of single people in the German-speaking world.
On the basis of the transmitted texts (possibly in collaboration with other cultural), organization of exhibitions, readings and publication of written communications.
Assistance in the establishment of similar institutions in other regions.
Support for the publishing of publications and plays that have arisen from the transcriptions of the Sütterlinstube and still emerge.
Promotion and cooperation with institutions which have similar or the same objectives.
Support for projects of stationary care for elderly in non-profit organizations in connection with the purposes of 1-6.
Sounds like a win-win situation to me. I am benefiting because my pages are finally transcribed; the people doing it are keeping their brains active and doing something they feel is useful. Big smile here!