The German American Family Album

GermanAmerThe German American Family Album

1996, Oxford University Press





Excerpt from The German American Family Album:

In the German American neighborhoods of St. Louis, there was a short season after Easter when breweries produced bock beer, a stronger, darker beverage than lager beer. Even the children remembered this as a holiday season, like Lucille Kohler, who was a child in St. Louis in the early 20th century.

“We knew that while bock beer lasted the Eltern [Elders] would be gayer, kinder. We knew that while bock beer lasted pretzels would be free at all beer saloon counters, and patrons, moved to song, would grow hoarse in Sangerfests. We knew that while bock beer lasted, there would be many who would marry, some even for a second time; and second weddings were twice as much fun. We knew that with bock beer and pinochle, the grown-ups would let the evenings stretch and give us our fill of games and peanuts….

“From after supper until dark we might follow a Little German Band from beer saloon to beer saloon in our neighborhood, listen to the singing, and reap pretzels and soda water…we attended charivaris [shivarees, or mock serenades for a wedding couple], pinochle, and klatsch fests [gatherings for a festival], a concert at Liederkranz Hall, and never did we see our beds before nine, even ten, o’clock.”


Selected for the New York Public Library’s Books for the Teen-Age