December 31, 1989: That’s me on the left, 21 years old, drinking from a bottle of cheap champagne, about a block from the Berlin Wall. This photo appeared in Stars and Stripes, a newspaper that covers the military. My guess was the caption writer didn’t know we were Americans (that’s my old friend, Keara, smiling for the camera, who was spending her junior year abroad from Rutgers-Camden).
“The lit sparklers and drank champagne,” the caption reads. “They hugged one another and danced in the streets.”
I climbed up to the top of the wall, hammered away some rock to take home. The East Berlin side was rust-colored, uniformly yellow; the West Berlin side was glitzy, crammed with people. David Hasselhoff sang from atop a crane, wearing a suit of lights. I had no idea who he was.
I learned how to say “I am a messenger from God” and “Don’t feed your dog chicken bones” in German and shouted both at the top of my lungs.
It’s all a blur now, as I hold Beatrice and keep Miriam occupied. Twenty years ago.