#Relationshipgoals is a phrase that you hear every once in a while or see it on the internet and I guess most of us have an idea of what they want from a relationship. Many of those #relationshipgoals are lived by celebrities such as Brangelina, Will and Jada Smith or the Beckhams, but if I am completely honest my #reltionshipgoals can be found much closer to home: my paternal grandparents. I love them as individuals, as a couple and their story, although I am not the biggest fan of the cheesy, romantic love stories you can find in many book stores and films, but to be honest Nicholas Sparks would probably earn a lot of money with their story.
To make things a bit less confusing (my Cousin and I got told some more stories and if you just use grandma and stuff it gets suuuuuuper confusing) I will now introduce the names and their respective relation to me and from then on only use their first names to make it more understandable for all of us. So starting with my grandmas side. Her name is Irmgard, her mum is called Christel and her father called Max and on my granddad’s side of the family we have him, Heinz, his mother Olga, his father Fritz and his younger sister, Ruth.
Let’s start with the story, so get your popcorn ready:
Fritz and Olga had just built a house in Königsberg, East Prussia (today part of Russia and called Kaliningrad ) when there was a young couple, wanting to get married, looking for an apartment they could rent. As it happened to be Fritz and Olga had space and so Christel and Max moved into the house and soon Heinz, Irmgard and Ruth were born. They grew up together for a while and despite Max being a soldier they did not hear/ see a lot of the war until Christel and her family got a message that the Russians were getting closer and they got evacuated to an island in the Baltic Sea called Rügen where at first they lived in one room with Christel, Irmgard, Irmgard’s grandmother and an uncle at some random families. As Christel’s dad was ill he had to stay in Königsberg and Christel went back and forth a couple of times to see him and to try to get him out, but it was not possible at all and then herself got lucky as she was on the last ship that ever left Königsberg and arrived at its destination and returned to her family. They stayed on the island for a couple of years, Irmgard went to school and Christel worked and they even had their own small apartment. Of course life was hard because it was the war and they didn’t know what was happening with Max but at least they were kind of safe and had a roof over their heads.
Fritz’s family was still in Königsberg because their house was all they had and all their pride and as he was not a soldier he got to stay with his family for a relatively long time, but in the last offence by the Germans called ‘Volkssturm’ he had to go fight as well and had to leave his family behind who still wanted to remain in the house. However, when the Russians took over they didn’t want German families to stay there so they transported them off. They were taken to cargo trains where as many people were packed into each coach as possible and then they were transported off. After they were dropped off in eastern Germany they were living on farms and had to rely on other people’s generosity and they always had to work for their food and bed without getting any extra pay. The time of war and being a refugee didn’t make it possible for Heinz to go to school a lot. In total he has been to school for four years but never consecutively. Heinz still doesn’t really talk much about this time.
After the war both Max and Fritz were prisoners of war and their stories and what happened to them is the story for another time. But when Max returned to his family in Rügen he faced rumours of his involvement with the Nazi party and soon it got intense and there was the fear of him being taken prisoner so he fled to the Western part of Germany where some of his family already lived in Grevenbroich. He found work as a carpenter, but he did not earn that much. Soon there were also comments of Christel being involved with the Nazi Party and she also had to flee as there were rumours of her being arrested and she followed her husband in the West. She still had to get her children over, Irmgard had a little brother at that point, but again, that story may be for another time, and after getting them over to Germany they all lived together in Grevenbroich.
Fritz had been released to Düsseldorf in Western Germany after he had been prisoner of war and had contacted the Red Cross to find his family, as Olga had done the same they were also soon reunited in Dormagen where he, as a builder, found work quite easily. However, they at first also simply lived in a one room shed with the entire family.
So now to how the families got reunited. As money and food were never enough Max, who played various instruments, went to a party of a company where it was announced that the entertainers would get free food. The party happened to be by the company Fritz worked for and they recognised each other and although they now stayed relatively close they did not see each other that much. They only really started to get back in contact after Christel’s mother died and Olga came to the funeral and a friendship and regular contact developed again. Through that at 17/18 my grandparents met again and kind of started courting each other. Apparently at some point Heinz invited Irmgard for a trip to Amsterdam at some point. The two of them got married after being together for 5 years, when my grandma was 22 and they had two children, my dad and my uncle (what a surprise, ey).
And no matter how cheesy their story may be the reason that they are my #relationshipgoals is the way they are now after over 50 years of marriage. The two of them still love each other so much, they care for each other and they speak about each other with so much respect and care. They help each other with ‘their tasks’ and they keep mocking each other. When I asked them about how they started dating they were looking at each other the entire time and smiled. They still kiss each other when they get home and they stay up talking at night before they go to sleep. It is honestly goals. I mean I am sure their marriage wasn’t always easy but if they still have a relationship that is like this after all these years, it must have made them stronger rather than anything else. I asked them if they regret anything and they said never.
I know that marriage sadly today is not the same as to what it meant in their time but to be fair all I want at the end of the day when I am their age is to be able to say that I do not regret a thing.