By Wally Ritz
Introduction to letter below: Uwe Mersch and myself went to school together in Germany. Upon graduation he chose the path of law enforcement and has been a police officer ever since. He built and maintained his life in the local area and is an active member of the Historical Society there. Thanks to the German version of Facebook, which my nieces there talked me into signing up to, we re-connected. When he heard about my brief visit last year in April he even managed to organize an impromptu class reunion. Myself, I was born in Linkenheim, my father being a native of this town and my mother of Hochstetten. Two small towns in the Rhine Valley. In 1975,the year I left, due to growth and proximity our towns were told by the County to consolidate by choice or end up paying fines-much like the school district isssues here now. So, the two towns became Linkenheim-Hochstetten, first through town government and nowadays also due to more growth and construction as there is no more open space between the two towns.
I met his wife last year and she also is on the PD, yet in a different district.
It has been over 30 years now since you decided to leave Germany and make the big jump across “The Big Pond” to settle in America.
In the course of this time our two little Towns — Linkenheim and Hochstetten — have not just united Town government wise rather have also grown together through construction. Combined we now count 11 000 citizens. In the meantime we also have the streetcar connecting us to the next big City, Karlsruhe. Thus many no longer need a car to get to work and rather use the streetcar.
You would also notice a difference about the houses, which is something not as popular yet in America. Solarthermal and photovoltaic systems on the rooftops. Through a solarthermal system one supports through the sun the hot water and heating, saving up to 60 percent in oil or gas consumption. The photovoltaic system generates electricity also through sun. I myself have these systems and you can check it out yourself on the net (www.solarlog-home.de/aland11) This system generates double the electricity I need. The rest, per law, the electric supplier has to buy it from me for at least 20 years at a set price. So, aside supporting the environment I also make some money. The system pays for itself within 10 years. If you or anyone want to know more about this just send me an e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In my next letter I will tell you about why most cannot afford to eat eel anymore and why some in Germany love cormorants, the European species called Shags, while others hate them.
Lots of sunny greetings to America.
PS: like my neighbors, I will now retire to my backyard with a glass of red wine. Right now it is 77 outside here.