Yvonne Stories is a title given to unlikely encounters that have been happening to me my entire life, by many friends I have shared them with throughout the years. In fact, after having sent the following story for my first blog with this title to a few friends one friend, who has known me for well over 30 years, wrote back and commented not only had such encounters often happened to me but that often life somehow manages to arrange unbidden meetings with famous people or people I admire. Thus, Yvonne Stories as a blog came into being. I will share new stories as they happen but I will also share stories from my past.
During the Licht Mauerfall or Wall Of Light 25 Years Later celebrations, November 7-9, 2014, a reporter named Frederik Pleitgen gave a fascinating interview from the East Side Gallery here in Berlin (the East Side Gallery is an entire, intact section of the Berlin wall upon which artists have made a mural). Mr. Pleitgen spoke about how things have changed AND at the same time have stayed the same adding some of the many shades of gray in between since the wall first fell 25 years ago.
Mr. Pleitgen spoke about having grown up in Washington D.C. although both his parents are German and that he’d lived in Cologne as well.. His observations, I felt were right on from my perspective as an American living in Berlin while, at the same time, he was able to look at this issue from both the east and west perspectives of the residents of this city in what seemed like a fair and balanced way. Pleitgen’s voice was rich and resonant, his style struck a nice balance between the personal and the objective. From all this, I got the sense that this journalist was a regular, approachable guy and was someone I would like to get to know. That impression inspired me to google him, which led me to interesting discoveries one of which is that his father, Fritz Pleitgen, is a prominent German journalist himself.
December 7, 2014 I was invited to a much anticipated, nearly annual Advent party here in Berlin. Just after I arrived, I greeted the hostess, who was talking to a couple both of whom were very friendly, open and striking. The hostess and I speaking English with each other hastened to share with the couple she introduced me to that I spoke German even while adding, for my benefit, that they also spoke perfect English. The husband’s rich, baritone voice struck a bell in my mind’s ear. I took a second look at him and without filtering my thoughts, in a manner typical to me, I blurted out:
How lucky you are! It must have been thrilling to meet such an outstanding and respected correspondant/reporter!!
This is a lovely story. I have found Fred Pleitgen to be quite enchanting. I completely understand your delight in meeting them. And you helped me understand why he sounds so American. My favorite city is Berlin, and I was married to a Volksdeutscher many years ago. I am from Ohio, majored in German, and my great-grandfather was from Baden Baden. Elizabeth Gabber, Salinas California