This photo-brooch is more than 100 years old. It belonged to my great grandmother from my mother’s side of the family. The pictures of her and her husband were either a reminder of her engagement or a wedding gift. When my mother gave the broche to me, she knew I would like it a lot. My mother told often about her nice childhood memories, when she spent holiydays in the little village, where her grandmother lived.
Her maiden name was Luise Jost (1885-1961) and she was a midwife. She was an interesting woman, but not in a fancy way as my grandmother from my father's branch of the family tree . She married in 1906 Johannes Friedrich Link (1875-1916), who was a tailor but he worked in an aniline factory. Maybe that was the reason he died (cancer?) in 1916 – even a treatment in a health resort in 1913 couldn’t spare him his fate. The couple had 6 children, two of them died at young age. When Nikolaus, died and was burried, his father Johannes said to Luise: “Don’t store away the fine porcellain set, you will need it soon.” He followed his youngest son only two weeks later.
Lotze-Louis (a nickname after the name of the house she lived in) was widowed at the age of 31. She had four children between the age of 5 and 9. She never remarried. She struggled through her remaining live in poverty. There was only a very small income by farming a very small piece of land. Therefore the butter wasn’t for her or the children, the butter had to be sold. She asked for financial help, but the mayor of the village denied it. She never forgave him for this wrong. Especially because it wasn’t only unethical but he didn’t help her to get her rightful pension. She got her first own money, her rightful pension, at very old age – maybe by the help of her daughter-in-law. It was her greatest joy to have her own money for the first time in her entire life! The four children, Adam, Georg, Maria and Katharina, helped her mother as soon as they earned their own money. Luise lived all her live in the same house with her oldest son and his family until her death.
My mother loved her granny and liked to visit her. She slept in her chamber and she learnt the bake the best bread from her. These are her most cherished childhood memories. She stayed with her even during the increasing bombing campaigns of WWII.
I didn’t know her, she died six month after I was born. But I love the stories my mother told me and I love this brooch, which is not my only heirloom. Every time – which is very often - I wear it on a jacket (yes, even jeans!) people ask me who they are.
I like this kind of questions – they are the spark to let people live on forever!