The summer I was nine
my family visited relatives in Germany.
It was the first time my parents
had returned since emigrating to
the US ten years earlier.
Tante Resi’s house was our base of
operations. My grandmother turned her
bedroom over to me. It contained a
wardrobe, a bed, and a nightstand. A door led to
a balcony from which you could see the
garden, the Bavarian village, and the woods beyond.
But the best thing in the bedroom was the
Federbett, literally “feather bed,” a colorful,
puffy ticking envelope filled with feathers.
Today we might call it a down comforter.
I’d never seen one before.
Even though we visited during the summertime,
the temperature plummeted at night, and the
only heat in the house was the wood stove
in the kitchen downstairs. (Heck,
they didn’t even have a bathroom,
but that’s another story.)
The Federbett was so thick
it weighed several pounds. At bedtime,
Tante Resi covered me, and I remained
toasty warm all night.