Black cherry tree c. 1952 Schwetzingen, West Germany (in the US Zone)
This 30 foot tall black cherry tree stood in the garden next door to the house I lived in for about 5 years, between ages 5-10. The elderly gentleman, Herr Breunig, who owned the 3 story tall cherry tree, could no longer climb the tree to pick the cherries. He asked me to pick cherries for him and in return I could eat as many as I wanted and give as many buckets to my family as I wanted.
Every year I spent several weeks climbing from the top to the bottom picking cherries as they ripened. Herr Breunig would raise the empty buckets to me on a pulley system and I would lower the full buckets to ground level.
Cherries were a favorite of mine even before I picked cherries for our neighbor . Nothing better than an ice cold glass of milk and a bowl of cherries. My German friends and neighbors waited for me to die each cherry season, some thought I was sure to fall from this huge tree and the rest knew I would surely die from consuming milk and cherries together. They all believed that milk and cherries was a lethal combination, most likely because unpasteurized milk was commonly used and the quality of water was sometimes substandard. We got our milk from the PX so there wasn't any danger of the cherry/milk combo being lethal.
I'm about 9 years old in this picture showing me standing on a wall that divided our gardens. It stood at about the 10 foot level of the tree and provided great access to the lowest branches. This is usually where I crossed over a main limb to the center trunk to climb higher up in the branches.
After we moved into Heidelberg proper, I did return for a couple of afternoons each summer to pick cherries until we came home to the states in 1956. When I returned to Schwetzingen many years later in 1989, the tree and Herr Breunig were both gone.
Can you smell those delicious cherries?
Thanks for stopping by!
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