Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | May 4, 2010

Cookie Crumbs of Love

Sonthofen, Germany

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to connect a thin slice of my history to Oberammergau. My Dad arrived at this historic village in December 1951 to be trained to serve with the Air (Military) Police. The mountains and the snow that winter were a world away from Dad’s hometown of Mission, a small South Texas town located a few miles north of the Rio Grande River. Dad wrote some of his first love letters to Mom from this place. It was great listening to him tell Paul (my brother-in-law) and me what it was like to be so far away from home and the girl he loved. Being here gave us geographical context for his love for Mom, but his stories gave emotional context to that love.

After our time in Oberammergau, we set off toward Füssen, the town at the southernmost end of the beautiful Romantische Straße or Romantic Road. We stopped just outside of Füssen to see the fairy-tale-looking Neuschwanstein Castle – the inspiration for Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle. This massive 19th-century castle is built on a rugged hillside. From a distance it appears to float on a lush green carpet of trees. The word impressive does not seem adequate enough to describe it. I’m also glad that we drove through the area around Füssen because this is where Steve McQueen’s famous motorcycle stunts were filmed for “The Great Escape,” one of my all-time favorite movies.

Dad at Sonthofen in 1951

This morning we drove from Füssen to Sonthofen, the southernmost town in Germany. Hitler built the Ordensburg (fortress) Sonthofen here, one of the places where young boys were trained for service in Nazi Party organizations. For that reason, this beautiful location in the Bavarian Alps was bombed twice during World War 2. When Dad arrived by ship at the port city of Bremerhaven, he and other young recruits traveled by train to Sonthofen for orientation. Although Dad did not spend a lot of time in Sonthofen, we wanted to come here because it was where he received his orientation and marching orders. We stopped by the place where he stayed but could not enter because of construction. However, Dad showed the German guards some photos of what the place looked like when he was here.

Dad at Sonthofen today

During our drive to and through Sonthofen, Dad talked about the care packages he would receive from home. My grandmother was very connected to her three boys in military service and would send care packages filled with cookies, letters, the local newspaper, and practical goods to them on a regular basis. My Mom was very close to my Dad’s mother and would help her bake cookies and to prepare Dad’s care packages. Dad said that sometimes the packages arrived in great condition. And, at other times they arrived so damaged that there was nothing but cookie crumbs inside. But, that was ok. Even cookie crumbs were a connection to home – to his mother and to his future bride. It was good to visit one of the places today where Dad received some of his many care packages from home. To a young man far from home, even cookie crumbs sent with love taste better than the best mess hall food.


  1. Dads do so much for us throughout our lives! Thanks Omar.

  2. Amen, John.

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