Journal: News & Comment

Friday, December 22, 2000
# 11:03:00 AM:

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Happy birthday, Oma

I neglected to note it here on the day itself, but Monday, December 18, was my grandmother's 90th birthday. She was born Hedwig Olga Anders in 1910, in what was then part of Prussia and is now (I think) in Poland. She has lived through two wars and lost two husbands: Karl Müller in 1947 (to tuberculosis contracted in a Russian PoW camp), and Milos Purkart in 1981 (to heart disease). While evacuated from her home in Berlin in the late stages of World War II, she skillfully bartered with rural farmers to feed and clothe her kids when food and cloth were scarce and money worthless.

In Germany before the War, she had worked cleaning government buildings. After coming to Canada in 1955, she helped her second husband run several resuaurants, including the then-legendary Schnitzel Haus and Hofbräu Haus. Her two children, Erika Stoiber and Jürgen Karl Miller, are both successful professionals in Vancouver, Canada. J. Karl is my dad.

Into her eighties, she was still regularly walking around Stanley Park -- a 10 km trek. Although she had a stroke in 1995 that partially paralyzed her left hand, my Oma has continued to live on her own in a condominum on Vancouver's Coal Harbour. She still makes great food. Last week, she slipped and broke her other wrist, unfortunately, so she has been staying with one or the other of her kids until it heals. So I'd like to say a public happy birthday and wish her well. She has made no history, but she has been part of it, and is a remarkable woman.


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