Saturday, August 05, 2006

corners of my home: Gartenswerge

Gartenswerge means, more or less, "garden gnomes" in German. But surely you remember that from your high school Deutsch. (What? You took Español and learned words like "mojito" instead? Hmph.)

So perhaps I should have posted this to Corners of My Yard, but if you want to get all technical (and I sincerely hope you don't) these guys live on our front porch. Someday we'll make a nice gnome home for them in our backyard, someday when it's less of a jungle out there. As with my basement, I won't be divulging any corners of my backyard for some time.

I did not exactly invite the Gartenswerge into my life for the same reason that I never have and never will see the Lord of the Rings trilogy: I have an aversion to hobbits, leprechauns, and all other imaginary (that's right, IMAGINARY) little people living in alternative societies underground. But sometimes you don't get to pick your cultural signifiers.

My Gartenswerge were a present from my father and stepmother. A few years ago, we visited them in Holland, where they were living at the time, for my birthday. My stepmother is formidably organized. She keeps notebooks of lists. One of them happened to be lying about, and I happened to spy in its open pages the imperative, "Get dwarves!"

Get dwarves?!?

The implications of this were so profoundly weird, I forced myself to put it out of my mind. Until my birthday, when I unwrapped my present and realized "Get dwarves" had been a reminder! To pick up my birthday present! Whew! Garden gnomes – you shouldn't have!

Actually, the perfection of this present was in the good laugh we all had over my genetic destiny, which is, apparently, to adorn my home with Gartenswerge. You can take the girl out of Germany, but you can't take the German predilection for gnomes out of the girl. Much less her parents.

A postscript to this story, which is actually J's favorite part: the next time my American mother, who is effortlesly fluent in German despite not having spoken it daily in 35 years, came to visit, she remarked offhandedly, "Oh, where did you get the Gartenswerge?"

Because once you learn about garden gnomes, you never forget.


Anonymous kirsten said...

ah, deutsche klasse - was your teacher as crazy as mine?
i can kind of understand your aversion to dwarves/hobbits - i used to have one to - i realized that it all stemmed from those dumb animated hobbit movies. i always loved believing in fairies, though.
but i must say - you're missing out! the lord of the rings books and movies are marvelous!

3:20 PM  

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