El Cajon’s Oktoberfest full of culture, rich in heart

0
40
WEBColorEyeonEC.jpg

Every year I look forward to the German American Societies of San Diego’s annual Oktoberfest celebration in El Cajon. And there are many reasons why. Although my last name has a strong German heritage, along with England and Russia, I’m really not sure whether I have any German bloodlines at all. But as a military brat born abroad in Stuttgart, Germany, I do have a strong influence of German culture that my parents embraced and I grew up with.

Every year I look forward to the German American Societies of San Diego’s annual Oktoberfest celebration in El Cajon. And there are many reasons why. Although my last name has a strong German heritage, along with England and Russia, I’m really not sure whether I have any German bloodlines at all. But as a military brat born abroad in Stuttgart, Germany, I do have a strong influence of German culture that my parents embraced and I grew up with.

Leaving Germany at a very young age, I do not remember anything about living there, but the memories that I have with my family and the influence that living in Germany brought to our family is something that I love and consider part of my heritage. I possess all of my father’s bier steins, along with a kitchen musical shadowbox that I loved as a child, my childhood pair of lederhosen, which my oldest son has worn and I am working on getting them refurbished so that we can take photos of his young son in them, eventually displaying them in a shadow box to be handed down to the next generation of Fulcher in my immediate family. There are also a few other German trinkets of my fathers that I know have from Christmas ornaments to a, well lets say a slightly inappropriate nutcracker that I love.

Although an American born abroad to an American couple, I have no ties to Germany as a citizen, but as my mother would love to tell the story how I am the child that brought every grey hair to her head, beginning with my birth there. I was not a planned baby, fourth out of five siblings with the youngest at that time being 6-years older than me. I believe that I was the aftermath of an officer’s cocktail party. That being said, I was born in the middle of the worst snowstorm Stuttgart had seen in 30 years. Trying several forms of transportation, I did not make it to the military base and was born in a German hospital on German soil. My birth certificate is in German. Without my American Born Abroad papers, there is no other proof that I am an American by birth. All of these things, even though I don’t remember them give me a strong sense of belonging within the German culture and every year I look forward to attending El Cajon’s Oktoberfest.

This year, my schedule was hectic and for the first time I spent the afternoon at Oktoberfest on its last day. Plans to bring the family failed and although I was meeting a few friends there, I was tired and only planned on a couple of hours to get photos, grab some wonderful ox and red cabbage, then in tradition, come home with a box full of Bavarian pastries. That was the plan.

As usual, I wore my “Made in Stuttgart” T-shirt that I proudly wear since I was literally made in Stuttgart. I wound up having one of the best Oktoberfest experiences, despite all of the setbacks. Unexpectedly, there were so many people there that I knew that I wound up spending way more than a couple of hours there. I ate, did some shopping from the German vendors there, and had some wonderful conversations with some great friends I have made here in East County and got to spend some quality fun time with a few friends that I do not get to see often enough.

But putting the feeling of German heritage aside, I find that I am comfortable and fit in whenever I attend this particular Oktoberfest. It feels much more like a large family get-together rather than a festival celebrating cultural heritage. This year, was especially so for some reason. I am so happy that for the first time I attended the last day of the event instead of a day in the first weekend. I love this festival and look forward to it each year, but I believe that regardless, I will make personal plans to make it on the last day. It is special and gave me a more comforting, heartwarming and fun experience than ever before. It has become more than an assignment for me, it is much more becoming a tradition and I cannot think of better people to spend it with.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here