Wednesday, 9 November 2011

When my mother in law met Louis Armstrong

At the end of the war, Gardelegen was eventually handed over to the Russians, but first of all the Americans took over Isenschnibbe. And the two Major Generals in charge got on famously with Rosemarie's family. As she had learnt English at school, Rosemarie was often required to translate.

One day, one of the Major Generals came to Rosemarie's parents to invite them to a concert. Louis Armstrong and his band were going to entertain the troops. I'm not sure how long they stayed, but Rosemarie couldn't believe the lavishness of the event- Louis Armstrong was flown over from the States, roses were flown up from Rome, for a family who lived off the land and wasted nothing, it seemed the height of waste, luxury and extravagance.

What was Louis Armstrong like I ask? Nice, says mil - but that's what she always says, everyone is nice to mil - they all were. And we enjoyed listening to him play. For several Christmases afterwards, he wrote to Rosemarie's mother. We still have copies of those cards.

So you liked him? I say. Oh yes, says mil, shutting her eyes and going back to sleep. He was tip top, very nice. It was lovely.

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