Tuesday, October 28, 2008



"SOPHIE CELEBRATES TURNING FORTY: THE BIG FOUR-OH" is dedicated to an unforgettable person--my lifelong beloved friend and mentor from Frankfurt an der Oder, Germany, later Murnau am Staffelsee, Upper Bavaria, to whom I am greatly indebted for inspiring me to write about "Herr Meinke-Haibl".

May 19, 1924 - December 25, 2003

If you love someone and that person dies, your love for that person does not die.

Thanks for the memories, Marcel.
You are dearly missed.

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

"SOPHIE CELEBRATES TURNING FORTY: THE BIG FOUR-OH" is the exclusive property of Marti Burger, and is not to be reprinted without
her written permission.

© 2003-2008 Marti Burger

To Madame Maria Anna Thekla Mozart
Im Windhof 4a, Augsburg

Wien, den 1. Oktober, 1803

Gruess Dich Gott, meine liebe (my dear) Marianne,
This day, the first of October, 1803, I celebrate the milestone of reaching the venerable age of forty years.
I was born on October first in the year of our Lord 1763.
Has it really been so long ago as that?
I am as ever the youngest among my sisters, and am still sometimes regarded as the "Nesthaeckchen"--the baby (in its nest).
Well, I feel still young and chipper, and the main thing is how one feels, is it not, Marianne.
All my life, my good mother has been of an indeterminate age to me, and I have not reached that stage as yet.

Marianne, I hope that this letter finds you, your lovely daughter, Josepha, and your son-in-law, Herr Streitel, in the best of health!
Since my dear mother departed this earth these ten years ago, I have been lodging with my dear sister, Constanze, Widow Mozart.
Marianne, we have another lodger.
Constanze has formed an attachment with a Danish diplomat, Herr Nikolaus Nissen.
Such a good, honest, serious, and affable a gentleman as ever there was!

I cannot compare another man to my beloved, late brother-in-law, Mozart.
There was never another man like him.
However, I am speaking only of the living......
Nissen and my sister have been together for some years now and, alas, his position as diplomat expressly forbids his taking a wife.
I believe Constanze and Herr Nissen ARE as man and wife, although she is the landlady and he the renter, so no scandal, you see.

And, Marianne, my beloved friend Herr Meinke-Haibl and I are still attached as ever--united in spirit and in deep friendship.
Marianne, my dearest one has a wife all these many years who is still living, though their unfortunate marriage has been but on parchment.

Marianne, I have not the boldness of character to openly court scandal.
Therefore, I reside demurely with my sister, though Herr Meinke-Haibl and I manage to see one another often enough.
He lodges with his father in a spacious, light and airy apartment very near the Freihaus-Theater, where he is engaged as composer, actor, and singer.
Herr Haibl Senior, his father, still does play character parts there in operas and plays as does, of course, his son.

More and more, my dear Herr Meinke-Haibl gives himself over to composing operas.
I rejoice in his success, Marianne, since several of his works have been performed in recent years.
One opera in particular, "Der Tiroler Wastel", has enjoyed great success here in Vienna.
Herr Meinke-Haibl's study is the ideal room to compose in, where his muse visits him--such a warm and cheerful place!

I myself am still engaged at the Burgtheater, where I play and sing supporting roles.
I am content with my lot, Marianne and--I being the youngest--was not encouraged by my parents to aspire to prima donna rank.
I thus also lacked the ambition to pursue that goal.
I thought that by now, I should have long since been married with children, but such is life; one never knows.

On this day in the beginning of October, as the waning summer unites with the cool winds of autumn, our family has made it a tradition, starting with my seventeenth birthday, to spend the afternoon in the Prater when the weather permits.
Providence must look favorably upon our party, or else we have had fantastic good luck, Marianne, since most years this early autumn day has been mild and without rain.
So is it today, Marianne.

This afternoon, therefore, Herr Nissen, my sister, Constanze, and myself shall take the carriage to the Prater--homemade victuals in hand, and we shall be joined there by my eldest sister, Josefa, and her husband and daughter, as well as my second eldest sister, Aloysia, and her children.
My beloved friend, Herr Jakob Meinke-Haibl together with his father, Herr Alois Haibl, shall also most certainly be present at our celebration this afternoon.
My two beloved nephews--Constanze's sons, Karl Thomas and Franz Xaver--are alas living abroad at the present time.
We always look forward so to their letters and visits home!

Dearest Marianne, I must make haste and finish packing the sandwiches and fruit.
I am so looking forward to the soothing breath of nature to be found in the Prater!
I shall pack some champagne as well, and my family shall not fail to heartily drink a toast to your good health, well-being, and happiness.
Dear Marianne, that is our news.
Now we both are one year older and for us, let the New Year commence!
Many affectionate greetings from your faithful friend,
Sophie, nee Weber

No comments: