That rock stuffed into her coin collection that is stuffed inside her closet? Not just any rock. “It’s teeny, little,” she says. “About an inch-and-a-half round and cementy-looking.” It was part of boundary that for decades separated West Germany from East Germany, divided those living in a democracy from those under communist rule, and maybe only a stone’s throw in itself from the Berlin Wall.
“From no-man’s land,” this history buff says of the pebble’s origin. “A friend of mine went back to visit her mother, and she got this during the time the (Berlin Wall) came down.”
But a unified Germany wouldn’t be the first stop in her return to Europe. “I’d take my boys to Wales,” she said. “That is where my (maternal) grandmother was born and when I was (a freshman at Bridgewater College in Virginia), she took me.” But the Reading-born Selinsgrove Area High graduate turned Kutztown University transfer wasn’t impressed by the old house in the old country, that red-brick cottage in Pen-Y-Cae, North Wales, where her great-grandfather was a minister. “I didn’t like the decor,” she said.
“It had red velvety decor.” Nor is she impressed by part of her house in the country. “I have an old kitchen,” she says of her Union County spread. “We bought our in-laws’ farm, which I love. But I don’t have a fabulous kitchen.” That would be luxury item No. 3 if she were to win $1 million. “I am a very practical person,” she says. Splurge No. 1 would be a vacation to Japan.
“My parents were there and they loved it,” she said. “It was clean. That really impressed my father. When the bullet train stopped, people got off and the cleaning crew got on.” Then, she says, she’d fund her two sons’ college education, so they would not have to walk dogs — like she did — to raise money. “For two or three years, off and on,” she said of the mid-1990s.