Wednesday, February 4, 2009


As I sit here drinking a final cup of tea while I wait for my husband to arrive home from a trip, all is quiet here. The boys are nestled snugly in their beds and our world is at peace. I love to keep the house cool during the winter time. To me it only seems logical that, as the temperature outside drops, it should also be cooler inside... no running around in shorts and flip-flops here in mid-winter. I keep the thermostat at a standard 67 degrees (sometimes lower unless my husband complains). We have a separate system that serves our master bedroom... in there I turn it completely off. Many mornings I'll jump out of bed to turn on the heat for my husband (who really doesn't share my enthusiasm for cold rooms) and the temperature will show only 54 degrees.

The trick to making it nice is a beautiful down-filled feather bed -- not the type you put underneath, but the German type that goes on top. I first learned of the joys of feather beds when we lived in Germany in the mid 1980's. The first time I stayed at my husband's Opa's home and snuggled into that warm bed with the soft-as-air 'federbett' on top, I was hooked.

Before the Berlin wall came down, we made a trip to East Berlin when my parents came for a visit. We drove through East Germany, staying carefully on the approved corridor and driving neither too slow nor too fast, lest we be stopped by the East German police and questioned. My husband was required to wear his military uniform during the entire visit when we were in East German territory. We had been counseled before our trip that we should try to be inconspicuous and try to blend (I am so sure we were going to blend in with our West German car and my husband's uniform). The counseling did no good. My mother and I were so excited to see the huge piles of featherbeds for sale (at a very reasonable price in comparison to West Germany's department stores) that we ended up with a fairly large mound of bedding to try to stuff into the trunk of the car.

Two of those same featherbeds, purchased in East Berlin in about 1986 or so, are now warming my two boys during winter nights. Things have certainly changed in the world in the past 23 years... in a huge way for Germany and the former Soviet Union. But the comfort of a warm bed on a cold night is the same...

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