We got a marvelous welcome in Enschede. This city had a textile economy that made it a trading partner with Memphis for decades. Memphis helped rebuild her partner after WWII and sent cigar boxes from all the children of Memphis to the children of Enschede stuffed with things they couldn't otherwise get.
My great grandfather helped spearhead that effort, and my family participated in an exchange in 1982. In March, some leaders of the Memphis Heart and Sould festival came to Memphis to find musicians and renew ties. They had a newspaper clipping from 1947 that had a photo of my dad as a boy. The mayor recognized him and called Dad, and he had lunch with the Enschede folks. We decided to come over for the festival and got a warm welcome.
There was a documentary shown the first night about the link between the two cities, and Dad was in it. He was introduced at the reception afterwards and said a few words about his grandfather. I was proud of him and touched by the warmth of everyone who has welcomed us so kindly.
Here's dad being introduced at the reception.
The documentary was marvelous. They had done a huge amount of research and went everywhere in Memphis and its surroundings that I would have recommended for their cotton and blues double focus. I hope we can get it shown on public tv when they get it fully subtitled.
We spent yesterday at the festival and also wandering around the center city a bit. It was Saturday, market day, and I was entranced by the cheese stalls at the market with the big rounds of cheese.
Today we get to go visit our two hostesses who had our family to stay in 1982. It was a special trip, and I'm looking forward to seeing them again.
Martha Kelly is an artist and illustrator who lives and works in Memphis, Tennessee.
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