Back in Chicago

We cannot fashion our children after our desires, we must have them and love them as God has given them to us. – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

In 1966 Frieda, Leopold and Hans moved back to Chicago. This would be the final time they relocate and would spend their remaining years in Chicago. Gaby had just graduated from high school and she decided to stay behind in Florida with her friends. Hans completed his final high school years in Chicago.

Gaby’s decision to remain in Florida turned out to be ill-advised. Within a few months she called her parents in tears, begging for money to take a bus back to Chicago. The details about what may have happened to Gaby in Florida are sketchy, but she came home a changed person.

She was no longer the sweet daughter that Frieda remembered. Gaby had begun smoking and drinking and seemed utterly lost. Within a few months of returning home Gaby met and became engaged to a young man. Frieda and Leopold encouraged the marriage, thinking it would help their daughter find some direction in her life again.

Unfortunately that wasn’t to be. Gaby divorced her new husband within months of the marriage and moved back in with her parents. Still seeming lost she tried finding solace in the arms of other young men, and soon found herself engaged again. It was It was now early 1968 and Gaby was getting married for the second time. Before the year was out, Gaby was also once again divorced.

After the second divorce she initially drifted, living with her parents, still seeming lost. She finally found a job as a secretary and found that she excelled at that. Her life seemed to stabilize, much to the relief of her parents.

Meanwhile Hans had graduated from high school and joined the Air Force. He was lucky to not get sent to Vietnam. Instead he was stationed in Libya until Gaddfi took power and kicked out all US military forces stationed in Libya. After that, Hans was stationed in Germany until the end of his tour of duty.

Hans also came back a changed man from his life in the military. He had started to drift away from his parents since early in 1966, when he found out about his parentage, and the fact that Leopold was not his biological father. Being in the military seemed to add to that rift.

Frieda and Leopold had not been the most loving parents – stuck in their own personal traumas of the past. While they did their best to provide a home, food and clothes for their children, they provided little else. Hans realized this early and learned how to fend for himself. However this led to resentment, especially towards his mother. Finding out about her betrayal to the man he thought was his father caused a deep emotional wound that would never properly heal.

After coming back from the Air Force, Hans joined the flower power revolution and for a time became a hippy – complete with long hair. He slept on couches and even spent a brief period in a commune.

He eventually met and married a young woman who was also into the hippy lifestyle at the time. They settled down into an apartment with a couple of dogs.

At the time Gaby was still emotionally drifting, despite finding some stability in having a steady job and an apartment of her own. She was still smoking and drinking heavily, going out for one-night-stands with men she’d meet in bars. One a fateful night in early 1971, one of those encounters led to pregnancy.

The stigma of an unwed mother was not quite the same as it once had been in Frieda’s youth, and Gaby didn’t have to be sent away to attend a special “school.” Also it would have been impossible for Frieda to try and pass off Gaby’s baby as her own, as she was already in her early 60s.

So after the baby was born, Frieda and Leopold welcomed their daughter back into their home to help her raise their new granddaughter, Gigi.

Frieda Written by:

Frieda was a woman born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, in 1910. She suffered many tragedies in her life and still managed to over come them. These are her stories.

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