German Music Box

As a child, I spent most of my time at my grandparents house. On a bookshelf, underneath the front window, sat this music box. After spending all morning outside tending to the gardens with my grandma, we would seek refuge from the heat inside the house. As my grandma prepared lunch, I remember excitedly picking up the music box and turning the small silver key, prompting the tinkling sound of what I now know was "In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus," a popular Oktoberfest song. My grandfather had immigrated from Germany as a child and my grandmother was also the child of immigrants. They had met in the small town I grew up in, my grandfather working in a steel plant and eventually owning the entire street that they lived on. I grew up on that street next door to them and my parents remain there today. While I don't know how they acquired this, I know that on the bottom there is a sticker that states "Made in West Germany."  I've discovered that these music boxes generally were made between the 1950's and 60s, many years after my grandfather had immigrated at the end of the 20's. The fond memories I have of it's song and delicately touching its coarse, faux greenery now inspires a host of questions; how did it come to be in my grandparents home? Was it a token to remember parts of my grandfather's early childhood? The answer to these questions will remain a mystery but the memory of it will continue to inform my childhood, as well as how I think about my ancestry. 

Place(s): Germany
Year: 1928

– Laura J. Brownlie

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant