Friday 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.
We 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
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.
At 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
Also 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.
After 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
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.
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