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Crossing the Big Pond

Time 0:04:50

Transcript:

I was born in Bremerhaven on January 23, 1941 to Karoline and Theo Muller, two doting parents. Everything was on fire, chaos everywhere. Although I was born in St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, I was baptised Lutheran immediately. Since Bremerhaven was bombed continuously and our survival was questionable, my grandmother invited us to live with her in Malente in Schleswig Holstein. In fact, our house on Kaiser Strasse was completely destroyed after we left.

After living in Malente for 11 years, we returned to Bremerhaven. It ‘s a port city. There is a 1 km long pier where 3 large ships could be docked including American troop ships and immigrant ships. Two big bands always played for bridging the fear of leaving the « Heimat ». I was fascinated by it all, the air was full of sound, names were shouted to and from the boat, cries, so many tears, so many bed sheets being waved. All that gave me goosebumps. I was 13 at that time and the idea came, that one day, I was going to be on the other side. I had dreams of leaving Germany to live in Windhoek, South West Africa. When I was 18, I was going to leave home, but my father said, that when I moved out I could never come back. That scared me, so I finished my education and stayed until I was 21.

I needed a year to find myself so to speak, so I moved to West Berlin. Before leaving Bremerhaven, I met a young Canadian, Wilf, who encouraged me to come to Canada instead of going to Africa. Wilf was sending me big, long tapes with sounds of Montreal. I was impressed! I went to the Canadian Embassy in West Berlin and was greeted with open arms by the young consul saying « We need people like you » That did it– I applied for immigration to Canada.

I booked a passage on the Arcadia from Bremerhaven to Montreal. Unfortunately most ships ferrying immigrants were old, some engines conked out and I arrived on a very sunny day : April 30 1965 in Quebec City instead. Life in Montreal was exciting – Expo 67 was coming, we stayed for 2 years.

Wilf had a dream to built a trimaran. The best place to build one, weather wise, was going to be on Vancouver Island. We found the hamlet, Mill Bay. It took us 2 years full time to build. We wanted to call her Thunderbird but there were so many Thunderbirds and we did not want to be Thunderbird # 18. We had made some friends in the Nootka Indian reserve and there we got the Nootka name for Thunderbird – Tzitzka. I lived on Tzitzka for two years on Fisherman’s Wharf in Victoria, B.C. Wilf went back to Montreal to make more money and the marriage fell apart.

I was free again, moved to Vancouver, got a job with a French cosmetic company to travel in 5 provinces and did this for 7 years. It was exhausting work and I decided to be self employed. I opened my own business and I am still working, that after 37 years. Through one of my clients I met Horst and we are happily married for 25 years.

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