Wednesday, May 17, 2023
My dear mama Alice.
It hit me deep in my heart to hear that you left us. Three times in my life I was able to experience you as a hostess and even more as a host mother.
First time as a kid. For years there has been a lively exchange between little Berlin in New Jersey and the big one in Germany. Your two children, John and Leah, stayed with us, and my big sister and I stayed with your family in return. I couldn't speak a word of English when we visited you, the Shaughnessys, with my whole family for vacation, as English classes didn't start until after that summer. While Joe translated every object for me on walks with your Golden Retriever "Girlfriend", you spoke English to me as a matter of course, as if it was my mother tongue. That was good because I was forced to understand English. And: it has not only helped me to speak fluent English, but also to dream in this language. So every song text that I now write exclusively in your language has gained depth thanks to your help.
The second time as a teenager. Because John made a deep impression on me, I was completely into rock n' roll at the time. I was your host son, but it felt more like being your own child. Because you were kind-hearted and honest from the ground up, not a person who smeared honey around my mouth. Even better: you protected me with full energy when the "gossip" spread around about me, when I sneaked slightly blurred into your house quite late as the eccentric long-haired guy I used to be. Well, I was used to the German 16+ beer and wine laws, which didn't fit well with some conservatives in the community. Okay, I could have behaved a little better, but you never blamed me for my missteps. Thank you for being there when needed.
You passed on the honesty, which is a typical thing for real "Berliners", to your wonderful children.
Leah was a really dear sister to me back then and a cool friend who introduced me to the life of college students and much more, that still shapes me to this day (sorry Leah, I still owe you a few bars of "Ritter Sport" chocolate ).
Without John I wouldn't have become a professional musician if I hadn't had the chance to have my first gig in the US. Because his flair for melodies and his musical preferences, but also his philosophy have had a strong influence on me. I didn't get to know Betsy and Joey very well, so I apologize for not mentioning them in detail.
The third time as a student on a choir tour in the USA together with my girlfriend. John picked us up at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere and brought us to Leah's house in Philadelphia to spend some wonderful time.
When we had to go back to the rest of our choir, you and Joe drove us to Trenton to pick the train. Unfortunately you have been diagnosed with Parkinson, but you were still the same deep personality with the heart on the right spot and an inner smile.
As well as the rest of family, Klaus, Regina, Kirsten, Michael, I will dearly miss you.
My deepest thoughts and condolences to your lovely family on behalf of my parents, my sizzlings and my own family, I hope, well, I certainly know you will find a decent place in heaven, for you with all the good people who passed away around you.
I will, we all will miss you.
Rest in Peace, dear Alice.