My father and I did a lot of talking about his dad, Henry V. Beck, while we were in Berlin. We wanted to see where he was at this extraordinary time of his life as an army man stationed overseas. I have some of these old photographs – we always love to compare how much my brother looks like him – and a very real and moving poem he wrote while so very far from the ones he loved. These artifacts sat for decades in an old army trunk in his closet and are now some of my most beloved possessions of this thoughtful and very elegant family man.
In the 1950s, my grandfather Beck was stationed in Berlin. Growing up as a child, I was always so fascinated by the old black & white photos of him from this era in this place unlike anything I knew on the country roads of Texas. I’ve always wanted to go and walk in his footsteps, to think of him as a young man, his family so far away, the devastation of war in front of him. We walked from East to West, we studied the differences from old photographs. We wandered the streets of Scheunenviertel and Kurfürstendamm. We had pretzels and beer, schnitzel and sauerkraut and look back in time of a city that changed so much.