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Growing up in Philadelphia, after the wonderful experiences of the Christmas season faded into memory and the reality of cold and dreary Winters set in, keeping us sheltered inside our homes, I couldn’t wait for Spring and the rebirth and renewal it usually provided. I still have vivid memories of anticipation and finally going outside without being bundled-up, and then being excited about the greening and budding of trees and the blossoming of the first flowers of the season in our city parks and backyards.  Our Spring family shopping trips also provided an opportunity few will experience today:  viewing the young chicks (Peeps, in Pennsylvania) and Ducks for sale in Kresge’s 5 and 10, Woolworths and Farmers Markets. Once I was allowed to buy 3 chicks for a quarter, raised them in our home, then experienced sadness and loss when I needed to donate them to a poultry farm once they grew too large to keep at home in the city. Spring was also time to visit members of our extended family, open my Easter Basket with decorated, colored eggs, jelly beans, and a variety of scrumptious chocolates in the shape of bunnies and eggs, enjoy a delightful family feast and finally watch the local or New York Easter Parade where participants strutted their newest and finest wardrobe.

My Oma and Opa were immigrants, arriving shortly after the turn of the 20th Century. They lived in a large, diverse German-speaking community in the heart of Philadelphia, and it was a special joy to visit them in Spring. As a young boy I learned that the one way to identify an German-American community was to look for the obvious (to me) signs: a collection of Roman Catholic Churches, Lutheran Churches, and  Jewish Synagogues in close proximity because that looked like the community of my grandparents. I remember the German clubs, singing societies, bakeries, butcher shops, and, of course a major brewery, where German, of many dialects, was spoken. Of course, we participated in an annual Frühlingsfest at one or more of the clubs in which my grandparents were active members. That community is long gone but the memories remain; what I remember most are the values of that community: faith, hard work, and the sharing of good times, and bad, as a community.

This year Spring runs from March 19th to June 20th. Unfortunately, due to measures to reduce the spread of the corona virus and cases of COVID-19, we are required to shelter in place, reducing some of the ways we have celebrated the arrival of Spring and observations central to our faith traditions. Before the Shelter in Place Order was published by the County of Santa Clara, our Board of Directors made the difficult decision to suspend our Germania Verein activities and events from March 15, 2020 through May 31, 2020. Recently, we also made the decision to cancel our planned Annual Picnic at Vasona Lake County Park on June 7th.  Fortunately, from the information we have in hand, our members seem to be managing this difficult period with caution, resolve and optimism, keeping healthy and engaged in the process. We know that these difficult times will pass sooner or later, and we will be able to come together again, physically, as a community. Many of us have experienced difficult times in the past, some more severe and dangerous than these. Yet, we survived and prospered.  In due course we will be able to share our experiences and make some new ones. Personally, I am looking forward to listening to the traditional, sweet melodies of our choir, again, hopefully in August at our Vienna Café. Later in the month, I hope to renew and participate in our monthly Schützen sporting event.

Please stay safe and well; we miss you!  Until we meet again, I am wishing you, your friends and family,

A koshern un freilichen Pesach

Fröhliche Ostern!


Carl Schmidt