Letter: Reflecting on the Crailsheim experienceKudos to Jane Turpin Moore. I’d participate in a standing ovation but feel silly at home alone in the kitchen. It surely wasn’t silly when a church filled with Crailsheim citizens stood and clapped and clapped after our concert at Johanneskirche, a 600-year-old church.
By: Terry Morrison, Worthington, Worthington Daily Globe
Kudos to Jane Turpin Moore. I’d participate in a standing ovation but feel silly at home alone in the kitchen. It surely wasn’t silly when a church filled with Crailsheim citizens stood and clapped and clapped after our concert at Johanneskirche, a 600-year-old church. I could feel the tears sneaking into my eyes.
At Rothenberg I spent two hours in what we called the torture museum, or what is officially known as the “Criminal Museum.” There we could see documents and a myriad of 1,000-year-old items used to garner “confessions.” Not all things were gruesome. There were dozens of shame masks, mostly for women. Centuries-old metal work was very creative and skilled. The common offense was for hearing, seeing and then speaking too much. In other words, they locked a steel shame mask on your head for gossiping. There were some for men as well, but not as many. I was late for the bus on the return trip and nearly had to wear my own version of a shame mask.
The sister city idea is alive and well with the Germans. Each and every waking hour I was treated as a very special guest. I found myself enjoying the language and learned maybe four or five words, one of them was essen (eat). I asked Haley, the returning exchange student, what the highlight of this year meant to her. Very quickly she said “the food.” Meals were healthy and table settings marvelous (candles and fresh flowers always).
I was lucky to meet several German exchange students who are now graying and experiencing retirement. A quick friendship was formed with Roland Hilt. After our rehearsal one night before the concert in Johanneskirche, I asked if I could buy him a beer. In perfect English he said, “Terry, I will drink a beer with you, but you cannot buy it”. This was common and I had a tough time spending euros for any restaurant or pub bill. The generosity and hospitality of people was marvelous.
For me the trip was beyond all expectations, and I think maybe it can be summarized by sharing a very short conversation with one of the Hungarian interns for the city of Crailsheim. She is soon to be working on her masters in public administration and is leaving for France. This young woman speaks four languages, and I asked her about that old stereotype that the French can be distant. She said, “Oh they won’t help you with language, it’s so different than here. The Germans are very helpful and friendly.”
I enjoyed the people, and felt their warmth and love for me and for each other. I believe our sister city relationship with Crailsheim allows us to look beyond the corn and bean fields. Jane quoted Franz Kasimir (city manager) as saying, “When people know each other and understand each other, they do not make war.” I’d like to add that at this point, we also have a lot to learn from Germany. The public transportation is amazing, and I saw acres of solar/electric arrays everywhere I traveled.
Indeed, the world is getting smaller, but the Crailsheim/Worthington relationship helps us embrace the change.