Good afternoon, Herr Wickertsheimer. It's nice to see you again.
Ah, Fräulein Hildegard! Have you made yourself at home in Lahr and settled into your new job?
Indeed, I have, Herr Wickertsheimer. It’s really nice here, I like it.:
Well, this snug little café is a nice place to be, as anyone will tell you. You've been lucky, what with your aunt being here. Although... I do sometimes think the café’s furnishings seem a little the worse for wear. Those heavy red curtains and – if I may say so, the wallpaper – do have rather a yellowish tinge and look tobacco-stained. When did you say it was last refurbished?
From what I know, Herr Hildebrand renewed all the furnishings after the Great War, in 1921. By way of a fresh start, you might say...
Oh, Carl Hildebrand! Yes, I remember him well. He ran the place before he passed the café on to your aunt.
Herr Hildebrand and his wife … Else! But hold on a moment ... 1921... that would make the business ... not quite 20 years old. Not very old at all...
Yes, and my aunt says the furniture is timeless. The tables with the marble tops and the benches with leatherette covers and the plain coat stand... they never go out of fashion, she says. And besides, it all looks a bit like one of those famous cafés in Vienna.
The style is called "Art Deco", my dear.
And your aunt is quite right. This style is certainly timeless, and will continue to convey a homely ambience for many years to come.
Well, actually Herr Hildebrand was going to have the whole cake shop rebuilt, and to refurbish the exterior as well. He’d planned to add a handsome bay window at the front and even install a first floor balcony. But then the inflation crisis hit, and all the money was gone, and he could only afford to do the interior.
But that was before your time, my dear. Wasn't it?
A year before I was born. But I've often heard people talk about it. About inflation...
... and about the Roaring Twenties, I imagine! When women wore their hair in a little bob and danced the Charleston... while flaunting their cigarette holders!
Yes, I heard about that, too. But surely that didn’t happen here in Lahr. Did it?
Well, who knows, who can tell? This beautiful parquet floor... it would certainly have been perfect for dancing.
Do you really think so, Herr Wickertsheimer?
Perhaps I shouldn’t have said anything! After all, this isn’t the 1920s any more; we’re living in very different times.
Yes, Herr Wickertsheimer. But... what would you like me to get you today?
Oooo, I'll have... a nice cup of coffee with cream, and a piece of Black Forest gateau. Because I'm delighted that there is now not just a cake, but a gateau that bears the name of my beloved Black Forest... and it’s absolutely scrumptious to boot!
Very well, Herr Wickertsheimer!
And Hildegard, would you mind bringing me the newspaper?
Let's have a little look and see what’s going on in the world ... and whether it looks as if another war might be brewing...
Foto: © Wagner Roland und Adelheid, Lahr