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August, 2004 - Nr. 8


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GS Hospitality Connections


The Editor
Vorsicht Satire!
Rachel Seilern
Dear Mom
Saying "Good-bye"
KW & Beyond
210. & 150. Jahresfeier
Herwig Wandschneider
Dance Students Graduate
Clinton in Germany
German Fest Milwaukee
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
Health Newsletter
From Pensions to Hotels
Anton Kuerti Performs
2004-2005 Season
Cabaret from Leipzig
Chinese Are Coming
Frida Kahlo Remembered
"Best Word" Jury
No German Beer at World Cup
Bundesliga Attendance Tops
Hopes On Klinsmann
Berlin's Olympic Stadium
Lots of Free Time
Free Trade Deal
On The Road
Surf's Up in Munich
Plattduetsche in Long Island
QM2 Stops In Hamburg
Solar Cell Break-Through

Letter from the Editor

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister  

Dear Reader

By now it has occurred to everyone that this summer feels like the forerunner to a glacial age. Thus the very few days the weather was actually bringing temperatures into the high twenties invited everyone onto the beaches of Ontario.

Going to the beach felt like being on some European meat market where thousands lay, parade and prance, packed as tight as sardines, especially if it is a weekend, like the long one we had in July.

Hordes of huge family clans invaded my favourite spot on Lake Erie, hogging all the tables and, of course, the best spots. Good thing we arrived very early!

On the holiday Monday it was found that they had left their humongous amounts of garbage lying around in the dunes instead of bringing it to the designated space.

But that is not the only thing that is wrong with going to the beach at a Provincial Park.

I have frequented this particular beach, Long Point, for 35 years. It is a Provincial Park, but also part of a UN designated Biosphere; in other words it is a protected place for any form of wild life, plant or animal, and the study thereof.

Common sense should tell us that our parks are there to be cherished and protected, not used and destroyed. Yet these many people, who trample carelessly down what little beach grass and plants grow there and tear out the wine growing over the dunes to make more space for their man-made pleasures - like putting up Hammocks on tree trunks hardly strong enough to carry them and cooking on the ground, or polluting the air with their brand of favourite music- have no common sense; and believe me: that is common!

I remember from many years gone by that every time we entered the park for the day or for camping, we were given a set of instructions to acceptable behaviour. Those instructions reminded us of how delicate the natural balance is and what our responsibilities are in preserving the habitat around us.

Nowadays one gets with a day pass nothing! And it is apparently those visitors, which are the most destructive and uncaring.

In the absence of an adequate amount of rangers or other personnel supervising the area we suspect that it will not take long until this park - and others like it - will be closed to the public altogether, because the public is so destructive.

Now, if a politician were to come to me and ask for an extra buck to keep our park facilities properly staffed and cared for I would applaud loudly, especially if the money would be used to insist on making sure that everyone understands their responsibility towards our natural resources, including our parks!

I do not mind sharing a beach with many people if all of them know their proper place on it. Common sense and basic good manners (like not running through someone else’s site without as much as a word of recognition or apology) have become a thing of the past. Unfortunately there is a need for education of the most basic things in life.

I have knowledge of a little booklet called "The Way to Happiness". You might call it a simple step-by-step survival guide of daily living. I used it once to pacify a bunch of older ladies in my mother’s apartment building. All of the "trouble makers" got a copy from me and when they had an upset with each other they were requested to look up in the book what it was that was violated and point that out to the offending party, without going into verbal combat.

It did not take long to calm down this bunch of lively and sometimes cantankerous ladies. Instead of getting upset with each other they wrote a little note pointing to chapter such and such and the particular point that was violated in their eyes.

They had all agreed that this was a much better way to handle unwanted situations, was easier on everyone’s health too, mental as well as physical!

And by the way: I have heard that his little book has done a lot in changing conditions in all sorts of situations. Just think: If it can bring hundreds of dangerous inmates of the penal system to "raison"- it has been used in many prisons in many countries with even the most dangerous offenders - what can it do to your small community of people that do not take out enough time to consider the pros and cons of good conduct on a daily basis.

Any situation that brings a lot of people together would benefit from this method. Many unsavoury situations could be avoided and need for serious arbitration could be cut down to practically nothing.

Why? Because it is so very simple, anyone can make use of it, regardless of creed or race or religion. It is a universal guide to better survival in our stressful times. So if you think that you have an area that could use some help in calming down or handling disputes that pop up too often, or simply feel that good manners and common sense have gone by the wayside, call me and we will find a way to get you together with some real simple help.

Representatives of the entire world live in this country and all have different customs. Wouldn’t it be good to have a guideline for common ground? Something we all could agree on as acceptable behaviour, something that would make no one wrong, but instead remind us of what will benefit all of us, regardless of our background.

Sybille & Henry - New Year 2004Speaking about help I must mention that Echo Germanica lost a very good friend. Henry Bunge left us the same way he ran his life: Well planned and with everything in order. His extraordinary insights into human nature far exceeded his educational level. He had something very rare: an education of the heart that transcends academic training and is much more valuable, yet sadly so absent in so many people.

With Henry everyone involved always knew what the score was. He did not hide behind a social veneer; he was always genuinely himself, never taking life too seriously. His opinion was usually based on inspection, taking into consideration what would be the most advantages for all concerned.

The skipper that he was knew how to circumvent unseen rocks and weather the storms of life. Together with his wife Irmgard, who left him a little over a year ago, he raised a wonderful family, which will carry on the best things he instilled in them.

But best of all was that he had the capacity to laugh and love, in abundance! His brand of affinity was so potent it brought out the best in all people, therefore the glass was never half empty; it was always half full and getting fuller. His family and close friends will all vouch for that.

We understand that he had to go, his watch was up, and we thank him for his friendship and help over so many years. And while we will never forget him as Henry, our friend, we wish him well, wherever his destiny takes him now.

August is for us a month of friendship, a month were we have had to say good-bye to many an old friend, but when we also celebrate birthdays.

So if you have birthday this month: consider yourself congratulated!

Until next time

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister


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