Sabina, my wife, and I...
…step by step agree on what should be published here.
My parents, my sister, my brother and I in 1944
My grandparents in the times of the German Reich on a passage to Helgoland. After this experience they would have liked to travel by ship to Sansibar. Martial developments thwarted that plan.
Sabine’s father in the age of three years with his mother.
When the overnext generation was brought into being, it did not catch anything of the war or of what kind it was. Except from some rumble of gunfire. The grandchildren chose quiet places like islands which were far away from any conflicts. For example, the Eivissa of the hippie era.
That peaceful plot of land guaranteed in the sixties and seventies of the last century
a contemplative life. Among the hippies material goods were of little consideration, but someone who could not or would not go along with them intellectually, did not feel well in a community
based on kindness and warm courtesy. Game girls and game boys were of flesh and blood, and mobiles did not exist. There were few phone lines on the island. To contact someone, for what ever it
was, you inevitably had to meet him personally.
In the third volume of Snakiestory, which is still in progress, the half-brothers Billy and Manuel (nicknames Quee and Jiggy) enter in a period characterized by creative work and daily life dedicated to contemplation.
Billy’s and Manuel’s live-in girlfriends take care of them, so that the boys in their kinkiness…
…maintain a healthy level.
In four decades Sabine and I had to deal with more than a dozen changes of domicile and location. The books, of which we were most fond of, required special care. They occupied the centre stage of moving to another home. For lack of space the less close friends among them had to be left behind. But they remained in other trusty hands.
Our cats shared the same fate. The very first of them, Mauli, was an extremely distinguished animal of Ibicenkian country gentry. He lived with us five years. His life ended as discreetly as we hope our own death will be: Being mobile and happy until the last hour. Mauli jumped on his favourite place, our bed, outstretched himself for the last time and deceased. Presumably of a heart attack. The cat reposes under a pine tree in a piece of woodlands near the bay of Salt d’en Serra, where the animal liked to roam around.
Mauli was followed by Tiger, Diablo, Tabby (the smoothest creature who ever lived with us, although a bit simpleminded as to a cat) and Betsy Benilde Campos. Other cats only paid us a short visit, for example Bingo, an enormous Carthusian cat. He was so heavy, that loose tiles on the garden path rattled under his steps. The picture shows Titi, who enjoyed making himself comfortable on his master’s short leather pants. Unfortunately, he had an unhealthy affection to car tyres and never became tired to sniff about them. One day the wheel of a land rover began to move without the warning roaring of the engine. It broke Titi’s neck.
Titi’s friend was Sir Schnurrli, our actual feline. That animal, where ever it might be, only needs some tender words without being touched physically. Promptly it starts purring. That telepathical expression of fondness as well as the obsession of cleanliness are phenomenons, which might have induced the people of Ancient Egypt to worship felis catus as a deity.
Furthermore, Sir Schnurrli is on cold days a trusty and useful warming pan.
Since twenty years, the Upper Ampurdan in the Spanish part of Catalonia has become a second home for Sabine and me. The landscapes at the foot of the Eastern Pyrenees are wide and empty.
A lovely spot where besides odd people rooted to the soil is much space for art subjects and other beautiful things of life. Even though retired persons like us generally not do a stroke of work, Sabine likes to carry on a bit with managing young artists who do not have any know how.
Georg Eisler · Für Sabine Leingartner · 1973 · From our collection
The early affinity for the fine arts turned out to be Sabine’s vocation. By work experience in galleries of Salzburg, Berlin, and London she put her knowledge on a sound basis in the field of an art director. Her gallery Junge Generation in Vienna became a stamping ground for painters of most different orientations. It’s hardly surprising that the young woman was often portrayed. A special remembrance is the drawing of Georg Eisler, son of the the composer Hanns Eisler.
Robert Zeppel-Sperl · Quartet · 1977 · From our collection
A friendship of long standing existed with the Austrian painter Robert Zeppel-Sperl, who unfortunately died very early. We were closely linked in our love for the beauty of the Mediterranean world and other marvellous things in life.
Concerning Walter Benjamin, who, being on the run from the Nazis and being tired of persecution, ended his life in Portbou, by now we are able to help interested visitors in understanding this or that aspect of the philosopher’s biography. An important element for us is the always pleasant and patient help from the former mayor of Portbou, Josep Maria Moré i Canals.
Besides all that, daily life does not come off badly. Let us mention, for instance, the Club Societat Coral Erato, Plaça Triangular, Figueres.
Where a blitz chess game is like a gulp of life elixir…,
...as well as on peculiar days old men’s dialogue under the Mediterranean sun.
The day should ever be concluded with a nice drink and the aroma of tobacco.
And, as characteristic for aged people, with reminiscences, going back everywhere. Back to all the friends who accompanied us. Old acquaintance should never be forgotten.