The Berlin Wall Falls Down
It's November 1989.
The Berlin Wall, built in 1961, came down.
Ripped down by the people.
I remember the day well, reading about it in The New York Times as I rode my commuter bus into work in the financial district of San Francisco. I was utterly amazed.
If you had asked me back then, in the 1980s, if I thought The Wall would come down, I would have answered, "Yes, someday, but not in my lifetime."
And then, there I was, in my lifetime with a fallen wall.
You see, it seemed for my whole life, I'd only known of that Wall being up.
West Berlin, East Berlin
I visited West Berlin and that Berlin Wall when I traveled to Northern Europe in the winter of 1983.
I know, that's a crazy time of year to go, but that was our only downtime when I was singing with the San Francisco Opera Company. It was the break between performance seasons, before the next round of rehearsals that would begin in April.
My journey into West Berlin came by a round-about-way – from Moscow on the train. I had stayed 10 days in the Soviet Union (not Russia in those days) and was coming back out from behind the Iron Curtain.
(It's funny, because now we easily and simply say "Berlin" – but, back then, it was clearly either West Berlin or East Berlin. A single Berlin did not exist.)
Below is the Ampelmännchen – pedesterian stop signal used in East Berlin.
Stop! East And West Cannot Meet
I stayed in a modest pension, run by a quiet man in his mid-40s. He served us soft boiled eggs in ceramic egg cups at breakfast. I got to talking with him and he disclosed that his mother lived on the other side of The Wall. He had not seen her in over 20 years. This was not a time of easy-access home computers, FaceTime or Skype internet telephone calls.
He could not go to the East; she could not come to the West. That is, not until she retired. Then she could go to the West and stay there, thank-you-very-much, so the East would not have to pay for her retirement. He described the situation with such sadness.
I had The Second Degree of The Radiance Technique® at that time. I had just finished my class in January 1983, before I took off for my trip. It was wonderful to have the expanded TRT® hands-on of the Radiant Touch® and to be able to direct energy to the various situations I encountered on my travels.
When The Wall fell, six years later, I directed radiant energy to my hotel man and his mother, hoping that they were happily reunited. I didn't have his name or address anymore.
After The Berlin Wall, Reunification
Even though it was fiercely desired, reunification was no easy feat. A lot of history had to be reconciled and East and West differences in thinking and attitude had to mend. No longer would manufactured goods say made in West Germany on the bottom – only Germany existed now (and again).
Granted, I speak as an outsider. I am not German, only German heritage. But, while The Wall was up, my German friends confided with me how they experienced a deep, dividing schism in the psyche of the German people. They often spoke about the need for enormous healing for Germans from both sides.
25 years later, long, good strides of healing have been accomplished. Isn't it interesting that German Chancellor Angela Merkel is originally from East Germany?
They said it would take at least one generation to fully reintegrate East and West in spirit, some said it would take two. We've passed one generation now.
I recommend taking a look at this article by Spiegel Online, with its wonderful gallery of photos showing the same place before and after The Wall.
Do you remember The Berlin Wall falling down?