And then there were flowers

My grandma (mother of my mother) was born in 1900 and died more than 90 years later. She raised her five children more or less alone and was an independent and strong woman. She got furious about politics sometimes when she got older, fantasizing about shooting them all with a laser gun. I liked her.


Aunt Lori, grandma Charlotte, and my mother (also called Charlotte)

She was a gifted painter (I would say) but apparently she only painted flowers.

When I emptied my parents’ house after they had died, there were a number of flower paintings hanging on the wall, and several jugs, jars, trays, boxes and such everywhere over the house, all covered with flowers. I don’t want to keep it all (not sure who would want to have this stuff) but I took it home with me, and took photographs (or scans) of everything. Then I uploaded them all to flickr, a popular photo community that has lots of groups, some of them about flower painting. My grandma’s work will get a little bit of digital immortality.

Here are some of her pictures. Go to flickr if you want to see them all.








(This is the writing on the back side of one of the postcard sized paintings, from the 1960s like most of her work. Funny how the writing style has changed – I have a hard time deciphering this)

Blue Volume

The birds outside my window on Monday morning, 5:30 am.

      Biesfeldbirdscape_20090504_0530

 
“Er ist’s” by Eduard Mörike is the German romantic spring poem – every German knows it.

Frühling lässt sein blaues Band
Wieder flattern durch die Lüfte;
Süße, wohlbekannte Düfte
Streifen ahnungsvoll das Land.
Veilchen träumen schon,
Wollen balde kommen.
— Horch, von fern ein leiser Harfenton!
Frühling, ja du bist’s!
Dich hab’ ich vernommen!


Here’s a modern automatic Babelfish translation:

1. German>English

Spring lets blue volume be again to flutter by air Sweet, well-known smells Strip notionful the country Violets dream already, Wools balde come Horch, from a distance a quiet harp clay/tone! Spring, you bist’ s! You I heard!


 
2. German>English>German>English

Spring leaves blue volume, on the airway, which is sweet, to that far away admitted notionful smell strip already to flutter again its countries violet dream, wools, which come balde Horch, from a distance a calm harp loam/clay/tone! Spring, it bist’ s! It, which I heard!


 
3. German>English>German>English>German>English

Spring leaves which is sweet, far certified notionful smell strips, over again from a distance to already flutter its countries violet dream, wools, which come balde Horch, to blue volume, on the airline, a calm harp loam/loam/clay/tone! Spring, it bist’ s! It, which I heard!


 
Babelfish has a number of semantic problems. “Band” means “ribbon”, not “volume” in this context. “Wools” is Babelfish’s sad attempt to translate the perfectly usual “wollen” which means “want”. “Balde” means “soon” and “Horch” is a somewhat oldfashioned way to say “listen”.

Here’s a manual translation by Bertram Kottmann that is a bit more poetic.



(Incidentally, the guitarist on this photo is called Robert. I wonder why?)


 
My office this morning. Usually I sit behind these windows, trying to earn some money. Can you imagine that it is difficult to sit inside and work while all the action is outside and the flowers wait to be photographed?