19 June 2007

Marge Zihlman-- 90 years old

This Saturday was the birthday of my great Aunt, Marge Zihlman. She was born in Philadelphia to the Brugger family, and remained there until marrying Uncle Eddie, my grandmother's brother. He was in the Navy during WWII and was stationed in Philadelphia when the war ended (he suspects he was making heavy water for the atomic bomb tests). He met Marge at an USO event, and they were married after his discharge. He and my grandmother had inherited the Zihlman dairy ranch, and moving from Philadelphia to Windthorst, Texas was a big shock to her. Especially the outdoor plumbing (with snakes). She only got occasional glimpses of my grandfather, who apparently never left his bedroom. I asked if he was sick at the time, and Mom said, "No, that's when he was drinking." (I'll ask about that some other time.)

Having a digital camera with a video function has been a godsend. My last trip to Texas I took a 10 minute movie of Marge telling this story, and the medium is so much more revealing than pictures or a written narrative could ever be. She never mentions the obvious culture shock, but its presence is clear in her tone of voice. She may not have been amused at the time, but she put it behind her and can look back on it with a sense of ironic bemusement.