In may 2003 Mrs Elfriede Polatzek sent us the following mail. Fortunately she is translator and gave us an English version, too:
Some days ago, I discovered your wonderful Sulzbürg homepage. Congratulations on how beautiful you are describing and depicting your little town!
With my E-mail and the attached photographs, I would like to make a small contribution. I really love this town where my grandmother (Margarete Geissendörfer, née Staudinger) lived about 90 years ago for nine years. It would be wonderful for me to read "my story" of Sulzbürg with a picture showing her as a young girl and some other old Sulzbürg pictures she once brought back from there. My grandma who died almost 40 years ago has deserved this story!
Pfr. Moritz Graf, geb. 1858
Sulzbürg and good old memories of past times
Although I am living about 200 km away from Sulzbürg, I love to visit this beautiful little town time and again. What attaches me to this town are some very old photographs taken at the beginning of the last century and many beautiful souvenirs my grandma once brought back from there and left me after her death. Far away from her home - situated in the Middle Franconian Ergersheim - she lived for nine years in the former parsonage and worked there as housemaid and cook for pastor Graf and his family.
Between her and the whole family there was a very close and friendly relationship. Together they went through the entire World War I and saw both good times and bad times. My grandma not only celebrated with the family the wedding of their adoptive daughter, but had to witness the death of the pastor's first wife dearly beloved by her. Later Mr. Graf married again a very attractive elderly lady who soon began to have full confidence in the young housemaid and talked to her even about her most intimate thoughts and feelings.
Ehem. Pfarrhaus in Sulzbürg
Even several years after my grandma had left Sulzbürg, had been married and two own daughters, she was still in close contact with pastor Graf who in the meantime had to live with the death of his second wife. He always loved to visit his "Retas" (Margarete's) family. His affection even went to a point where - in the thirdies - he expressed his wish to live on the Franconian farm of my grandparents so that his former housemaid could take care of him in his old age. However, my grandma know her "old gentleman" and that tranquillity was very important for him. He would never have found this tranquillity on a farm with two little children and an uncle also living in the same house. With a heavy heart she therefore had to convince him that his plan to rebuild the house for him to have his own room and especially his own bathroom was not a good idea.
The children would certainly have had their fun with the "Pfarronkel" ("uncle pastor") as they called him. My mother, Margarete's daughter, who is almost 80 years old today, is still telling me with enthusiasm how - on the occasion of one of his visits - Mr. Graf once asked her to tell him what she would like to get from him for Christmas. What else could it be than a doll! She was enthusiastic and gave him two small newspaper clippings with two pretty dolls. It should be one of these two. A few weeks later, exactly on Christmas Eve, their "uncle pastor" came again with a gift nicely wrapped up. Endless joy! Litte Luise was impatient to get her doll. Finally, he gave her the packet and said: "Here is your doll, a beautiful baby doll!" Quickly and full of excitement she unwrapped her gift. But what came out of this beautiful packet - a large bible for children with a handwritten dedication and with just those two newspaper clippings sticked in showing the pretty dolls!
Endlich überreichte er ihr das Paket mit den Worten: "Hier ist Deine Puppe, Puppe! Eine schöne Puppe!" Gespannt und voller Eifer packte sie ihr Geschenk aus. Doch was kam da zum Vorschein - eine grosse Jugendbibel mit Widmung, in die der "Pfarronkel" gerade jene Zeitungsaussschnitte mit den beiden Puppen geklebt hatte!
Today I am keeping this bible like a treasure - just like the old hymnbook Mr. Graf once gave to my grandma as a gift in remembrance of her "nine faithful years in the parsonage Kerkhofen zu Sulzbürg".
When I was a child, my grandmother told me many stories about her time and life in Sulzbürg. These stories left me with a lasting impression. A few years ago I became curious and on a sunny summer Sunday, me and my husband made our first excursion to Sulzbürg. Unfortunately, we could not find any more the old house shown on the old photograph. An elderly lady we met on the street behind the Marktkirche told us that it had been pulled down some years ago. What a pity! Much to our surprise, she could still remember Mr. Graf and his wife when we showed her their beautiful portrait and all the other pictures which of course accompanied us on our way to Sulzbürg. This nice old lady recommended us to visit the Landlmuseum. This was a highly interesting and impressive experience. Since that day we love to visit Sulzbürg time and again. It has become a fixed item on our summer holiday agenda!
Margarete Geissendörfer, geb. Staudinger
Sunday stress and mishaps
It was not easy - a young girl's life as housemaid and cook for the pastor and his family. The job was especially hard on Sundays when the young Margarete was expected to attend the service before she had to serve a fine meal not only for the pastor's family but also for their visitors. To meet the manifold requirements, she quickly learnt to manage the household brilliantly and to make her way. But since not everything in life goes off smoothly, the following funny incident(s) happened in Sulzbürg about 90 years ago.
It was again one of these Sundays full of stress and hurry. Preparation of a roast meat with a large special white bread dumpling boiled in a napkin. But first Margarete had to go to church. This time the service was conducted by a young curate. Since it was obviously one of his first services, he was very nervous and got stuck during the Lord's Prayer. Of course everybody understood this little mishap and nobody spent a word about it, everybody kept a straight face. Afterwards the young gentlemen was invited to eat with the pastor's family.
Now it was Margarete's turn to show how good she could cook. But sometimes everything goes wrong! The whole family was hungry, sitting around the table and waiting for the meal. However, the housemaid stayed in the kitchen until the pastor's wife came to look what was going on. Here the good young Margarete was standing, completly desperate. The special dumpling has always been perfect - and just today it broke into pieces! What would the visitor say? What should she do? She didn't want to serve it like this. But the pastor's wife said: "Put it on the table like it is, it will be eaten just like that." There was nothing else Margarete could do. Blushed with shame, the young girl was sitting at the table together with the others. She didn't dare to look into the curate's eyes.
In the afternoon the young visitor said good-bye to the family. When has was shaking Margarete's hand, she asked him politely to come again soon. "Oh yes, with pleasure", he said, "but then you must prepare again exactly the same dumpling as today!"
With a ready tongue and an answer for everything, she replied to this ironical remark: "Oh yes, and you must learn the Lord's Prayer by then!"