I'm 1/2 German, 1/2 Sicilian. My mother's father came to America from Sicily when he was 17 years old. Her mother's parents were born in Sicily, but my Grandmother was born here.
Growing up, I heard a lot of Italian being spoken. But I never heard any German. My roots on my dad's side go back a couple of more generations before they actually find footing in Germany.
So when I learned that German was available in my high school, I was quite excited. I took German, and joined the German club, becoming vice-president in my senior year.
One of the fun things the club did was take annual trips to Helen, Georgia for Oktoberfest. Helen is a small town with an interesting history. From their chamber of commerce website:
Helen's evolution into an alpine village began in 1968 when a group of local business men met to discuss ways to revitalize their town. They approached a nearby artist friend, who had been stationed in Germany. He sketched the buildings, added gingerbread trim, details and colors to the buildings, giving an alpine look to the entire town. In January of 1969, business owners and local carpenters began turning ideas into reality and all downtown stores were renovated. Faces of buildings were painted with scenes of Bavaria and North Georgia, mirroring the migration of early settlers.
And this from Wikipedia:
|Bavarian styles houses in Helen|
Here is is, to the right of the church, 30 years after it was built:
|Dad's Christmas Village 2011... much smaller than it used to be.|
|The 42" x 90" village in all its glory|
Edit: Sadly, I just found out my German teacher, Dr. Robert L. Shuford III, passed away last August. I just did a google search on him to see if I could find a contact to send him a link to this post, when I found an online memorial.
|Rest in Peace Doc!|
"H" is for Helen, and April is Parkinson's Awareness Month