Pres. Patty told us that she sat with Heide for about 3 hours putting together the slide show and she learned so much about this amazing woman. Some words come to mind: resilience, creativity, determination, curiosity. 

Heide told us that her family was from Berlin and had to escape during the Russian invasion when their home was destroyed. Heide’s mom took her older sister Hel-ga (14 years older than Heide) and sister Doris (10 years older) to Marienbad, a town on the border of the Czech Republic and Germany where, shortly after, Heide was born. Heide’s mom was dealing with health issues at the time so older sister Helga basically raised Heide. 

When she was 4, her family returned to Berlin to reunite with her father. He was an amazing man who served in WWI where he was shot 8 times and was exposed to mustard gas. They lived in a small town where her dad was in charge of a camp for Russian soldiers. At the time, there were only women in town because the men were off fighting so the fields could not be planted. He had the Russian soldiers plant the fields so the women would have food, which they shared with the soldiers. He also used to ride around on his bike collecting pinecones from which he collected the seeds so the forest could be replanted. He also collected apples and pears during the summer, had them made into juice so children would have access to fruit in the winter. 

Sadly, when Heide was 10, her dad passed away leaving her heartbroken. To help her take her mind off the loss of her father, she was sent, by train, to school in Sweden where she got to see the Alps and experience live in another country. When she was 12, she returned home and the family relocated to the larger town of Hano-ver where Heide could receive a better education, learning both English and French. To help with expenses at the time, her mother would rent out rooms in their house to students from Turkey. One of the students was a boy named Engin. After he returned to Turkey, he sent a letter to Heide and her mom inviting them to visit he and his family in Turkey. Engin came from a large family who had a beautiful home and a large ranch. Heide and her mom were treated like family while they were there and 4 years later, she and Engin married. They moved to Munich where Heide was first exposed to computers. She read about classes being offered and read-ily took them and became quite good at computer programming. Engin always dreamed of moving to the Unit-ed States. At the time, the wait for a German to immigrate was years. However, since Heide was born in Mari-enbad which at that time was part of Czechoslovakia, she was considered Czechoslovakian and was issued a visa. After spending some time in Rochester, NY, Heide finally came to California. 

Thanks for a very interesting presentation, Heide. We look forward to hearing more about your amazing life.