October 14, 2010 § Leave a comment


from the archives of Robin Hirsch, Minister of Culture, we present an ongoing historical pre-blog

One early evening in July, our lovely host (I can’t quite remember which one, but all our hosts are lovely) called down to the office and said, “There’s a woman at O1 (O stands for outside, and O1 is the first table on the left if you’re facing out from the bar room) who says she was here seventeen years ago and she would like to speak to you.  I am a sucker for these kinds of moments, so of course I came up.  At O1 were three people—a mother, a father, and what I assumed was a daughter.  I introduced myself and the mother asked me how long I had been here.  I said that this month we were celebrating our 24th birthday and that I had been here since the day we were born—indeed from the moment of conception.  I detected an accent.

“Where are you from?”

“From Germany.”

“I taught in Germany a hundred years ago.”

“Oh, really, where?”

“In the Ruhr, at the Ruhr Universität Bochum, in the first year it opened, 1965.  I understand it’s quite big now.”

“Oh, my sympathies.  Yes, it is huge now.  But it is no more beautiful.  May I present my husband?’

“How do you do?”

“And my daughter.”

“How do you do?”

“She is about to go to university.  But in Heidelberg, I am glad to say, not in Bochum.”

“And what brings you here?”

“Well, to America, we come on holiday.  But to your café we come for a quite specific reason.”


“I was here at this table seventeen years ago.  I was alone.  My husband stayed home with our son, who was a baby.  It was a beautiful day.  I remember it very clearly.  I was pregnant and I sat here at this table and it was such a perfect day and the light was just right—this time of early evening—and I was very content.  And I said to myself, I will always remember this moment, on this street, at this café, at this table.  And I said to myself also, if this is a girl I will call her Cornelia.”

And she extended her hand and said, “May I present you my daughter, Cornelia?”

So, of course, we opened a bottle of champagne and we took photos of the family, and of the four of us, and of the café from the outside, and of the famous table at which, seventeen years before, this beautiful young woman had acquired her name.

Stories about the Cafe you’d like to share? Comment, call, or contact us via corneliawebpr@gmail.com


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