Geschichten aus Kalifornien

Ein Dichter, der mir im Café ein Gedicht vorliest. Eine Schülerin, die mir erzählt, wie sie mit acht Jahren von Schleusern in Mexiko festgehalten wurde. Palmwedel, die nach dem Wintersturm unsere Straßen blockieren. Eine nächtliche Fahrt mit dem Bus durch Los Angeles.

Von Begegnungen und Beobachtungen wie diesen kann ich in meiner journalistischen Arbeit selten erzählen. Das finde ich schade. Deshalb habe ich dieses Tagebuch angefangen.

Public Library - Culver City, CA

bookscrop

First there is the call: your books have arrived and are ready for pick up. Then there is the walk towards the library's book shelves looking for my name. Sometimes I have forgotten what I ordered. Most of the times, I am really excited because I know what is waiting for me: a poet I want to discover, a first time female novelist I hope to learn from, a self improvement book to finally teach me how to find my real inner voice. And use it.

Today FOUR books were waiting for me! I picked up one more on the way out....

Coyote - Playa Vista, CA

"The coyote is a teacher of hidden wisdom with a sense of humor."
"A trickster and a jokester in Native American folklore, using deception and humor to rebel against social conventions"

"Coyotes Active In This Area" warns a sign at the side of the path close to our neighborhood. I came to stretch my legs and get my blood pumping after too many hours in front of a computer.

Are coyotes cowering behind bushes watching me walk by? Are solitary animals howling from these hills at night? If the traffic noise rising from the streets below would stop, would I hear woofs and growls, huffs, barks, yelps and whines? I look around ...

Bernadette W. South L.A., CA

"My grandmother was born in Belize. She came here when she was in her 20s. I appreciate her, because if it weren't for her decisions, I probably would not be here."

I met Bernadette through the story telling of her grandson J., a high school student in South Los Angeles. For a book project we collect memories he shares with her, and compare his life with Bernadette's. The way J. talks about her, I can tell, he loves his grandmother a lot. She likes to laugh and to shop, works hard and tells him about times when she was able to walk the streets of his neighborhood without a care in the world.

She came here from Belize, where she spoke Garifuna, a language - and a culture - I had never heard of, and almost nobody understands in the USA. It is the language of a proud people. Bernadette left her mother and her young daughter behind looking for education and a job in California. She built a new life, her daughter joined. J. was born in Los Angeles. 

One thing he vividly remembers is, how one day when his grandma and his mother picked him up from school, they  started speaking this language he did not understand:

Frances Sch. - Hollywood, CA

"Das Dorf hatte eine große Wirkung auf mich,
und ich wusste immer: wenn meine Mutter stirbt,
dann geh ich nie mehr dort hin."
 
"The village made a big impression on me. I always knew: when my mother dies, I will never return."

Frances Schönberger interviewed them all: Hollywood stars, TV celebreties, Rock'n' Roll legends and teenage heart-throbs. She got wet in Woodstock, made out with David Bowie, put KISS on a cover for the first time, and watched Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nastassja Kinski splash about in her pool. The highlight of her reporter career was a day with John Lennon in New York.

But it all started in a small Bavarian village ...