I got an email from my son this week that read: “I’m on my way to Sulzfeld.” Now that may not mean much to you, but it caused my heart to flutter. Sulzfeld is a Germany village near Karlsruhe and the ancestral home of my father’s family. I’ve never been there. The Zimmermann family came to Virginia in the early 1700s and became part of the Germanna Colony around Culpeper.
Now, some three hundred years later, my son was in the very town, at the very church that our ancestors had worshiped centuries ago. I sat at the computer as the messages between us flew halfway around the world and back. Within minutes I had pictures of the church, pages from the record books with my relatives’ names, births, and deaths recorded, and pictures of nearby Ravensburg Castle and the vineyards that still cover the hillsides.
A step back in time can warm the heart. Such discoveries provide context to our lives and connect us with the past and the people who populated it. We gain a glimpse of those who came before us. Learning of their daily lives and struggles helps put our own woes into perspective.
It’s not just pictures or places or stories that invoke memories. When it comes to the past, we are told that the smell of certain foods can trigger feelings, remind us of earlier times and those with whom we once shared meals.
Cooking the foods that make for memories is yet another way to stay connected as families. That’s why holidays and family get-togethers matter.