Norbert Werner Visits the ‘Golden West’

My Travels to the West in 1955 and 1987

(Chart IV – III, IV and Chart I – III, IV)

Contributed by Norbert Werner

Part II

From my uncle Walter (Biene’s brother) we had received many travel reports about his life in the USA as well as about the life of the Klopp family in Canada. Besides my wife’s uncle lived with his family in Toronto. And so my curiosity for the land and people had been awakened. Above all, I desired to see my aunt Biene after more than 20 years.

I figured that (at least by German standards) Stefan, the youngest member of the family, would have to start school by September 1987. Under these circumstances I saw a worthwhile cause to apply for a travel permit. With this idea in mind I began the long arduous task of travel preparations. One needs to know that everything had to be arranged by mail. We had no phone and there was no possibility this way to make contact with people in the West.

The first step brought me to the travel agency of the GDR to explore the necessary travel connections. The information I received was quite favorable, for there was an itinerary from Berlin-Schönefeld (GDR) over Belgrade to Toronto for a total cost of about  3,400 marks. At that price I was able to finance half the trip by myself (For your understanding: My monthly salary being on the lowest rank of the salary grid at that time in the people’s owned state enterprise (VEB) was about 1,500 marks).

Now I had to inform Biene about my intentions; for up to now she had absolutely no idea about my ‘invitation’. There was great joy on both sides of the Atlantic. There was just one little obstacle left that had to be removed. How would I get from Toronto in Eastern Canada all the way to Fauquier not far from the West Coast (The reader needs to be reminded that Canada is the second largest country in the world. PK)? Walter was able to help me and took care of all the remaining arrangements.

Part III will be published on the next post.

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