Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Palast der Republik

Academic journal article Michigan Quarterly Review

Palast der Republik

Article excerpt

When the Palast der Republik had its grand opening, I was in third grade. My teacher s name was Fräulein Kies. Fräulein Kies held up a printed envelope featuring the new palace and explained to us what a first day cover was. It didn't immediately occur to me that the term "first day cover" not only has the same number of syllables as "one-hit wonder" but also contains similar vowels. Fräulein Kies said that now each of us would be given a first day cover and that we should put it somewhere safe, because one day we would be proud to have been there for the opening of the new palace. After the first day covers had been distributed by Fräulein Kies, our class took a field trip to visit the brand-new palace of the people.

At the time, I was still planning to study archaeology to dig up palaces, and for this reason I appreciated the different varieties of marble down by the coat check counters. Up in the picture gallery, there were carpets everywhere. Very high up, hanging from the ceiling, were lamps that looked like air bubbles, making it easy to imagine yourself underwater. These lamps had been organized by the company where my Aunt Sigrid worked. This company was also responsible for the silverware in the palace café, including the spoons I used later in life to stir first hot chocolate and then coffee, as well as the knives and forks in the wine bar with which I would slice into a pork knuckle or schnitzel Hawaii when my first boyfriend took me out to dinner. …

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