The Wedding

Claudia and JurgenFriday was the big day. Minerva's maid of honor Sabine, and another friend came over at 8 AM to help prepare food. The family members arrived at the apartment at about 10. From Jens' side, the family included his parents, his brother Jürgen with girlfriend Claudia (very pretty), and two older couples related to Jens' mother.
Claudia and Jürgen

From Minerva's side, the family included her parents, her brother with his girlfriend, and some close friends.

Minerva and JensWe all walked to the U-Bahn (subway) station two blocks away, and took a train to the Rathaus (city hall). After a short civil service, there were some hijynx outside the Rathaus conducted by some of Jens' friends from the police force. Jens and Minerva were handcuffed together and they had to find a key buried in a large bucket of sand.

Then all returned to the apartment for hors d'oeuvres and a little champagne. After an hour or two, everybody piled into cars for a two hour drive to the hometown of Westerstede.

Hans-Jurgen and Herbert KolpackAt Westerstede, in the home of Hans-Jürgen and Gisela, the next phase of celebration began. There, we were joined by some Kolpacks: Hans-Jürgen 's brother Herbert and his wife, and the wife of his brother Helmut who could not attend because he was recovering from a recent surgery.

Hans-Jürgen and Herbert Kolpack

Bruce, Sabine, Minerva, Jens, Claudia, Jürgen, Grandma

In Hans-Jurgen & Gisela's GardenAlso in attendance was Gisela's mother who reminded me very much of my recently deceased grandmother, Alma Arndt.

The Kolpacks were initially very reserved, but as the evening grew on, became quite personable and were very interested in me and the American Kolpacks. My biggest mistake of the trip was not bringing enough family pictures. But I did bring a recent family picture of my Mom and brothers, and an old picture of my grandparents, Albrecht (Albert) and Mary Kolpack. Everybody was interested in these photos. I was told that I have Kolpack eyes.

The first order of business was the traditional cutting of the wedding cake by the bride and groom. This was followed by other cakes and pastries and coffee. After a couple hours, we all went to a local restaurant for a big dinner of excellent German food.

It was at this dinner that Minerva returned to me a dollar bill that she had stashed in her brassier for the ceremony. I had told her about the tradition of something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. She had everything covered except something borrowed; hence my dollar bill.

Jens and MinervaAfter dinner, all returned to the Kolpack house for more celebrating that lasted until 2 AM. It seemed that my German got better as the beer flowed. By the end of the evening, I felt very much like a member of this family of Kolpacks. I was touched when Minerva told me that she felt like she had known me for years even though it had been only three days. I issued an open invitation for all to visit me in America and received an invitation to return again any time.

The rooms at the Kolpack house were very full that night. Unfortunately I had an early flight, but Hans-Jürgen and Gisela graciously offered to drive me to the Bremen airport which required getting up at 5 AM.

After a short flight to Paris and a layover of a few hours, I boarded my flight back home.

-The End-

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