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  • In Emmendingen, Germany, there is Das Deutsche Tagebucharchiv e.V., an archive for peoples´ diaries, a museum for what people did before Cowbird: document their lives in journals and diaries in word and picture. School classes and historians visit the archive and regularly readings from diaries concerning different subjects are organized.

    If you have a diary in German, an exchange of letters, drawings that document your life´s journey: contact the Tagebucharchiv Deutsches Tagebucharchiv

    My diaries are there since several years. My diaries are in German, which neither my husband nor my sons read. When I die, all these written pages will just rot. In Emmendingen, they have several times read parts of my diaries, once a journalist from a newspaper in Frankfurt used a part of one of my diaries for an article about Free Love in 1968. Somehow all these words I have written maybe serve somebody before they all will fall into the grave of time sooner or later anyways.

    The most extraordinary encounter happened to me by reading one of the archive´s newsletters: I came in contact with Carla Böhm. All her diaries are in the archive. Her writing - published in the newsletter - moved me deeply. Carla was 100 years old then. She had lived through 2 world wars, been a secretary, a single woman, interested in art and literature all her life long and for 8 decades she had documented her experiences, thoughts and feelings.

    With 90 she wrote:"The more fragile my body becomes, the smarter my mind seems to grow!"

    But with 100 years old she expressed in her diary." My mind is still right there, but my heart is breaking. What I most long for is a deep and honest talk with another human - being, but others see me as a 100 - year - old - phenomenon, they talk small talk, stupidities, nobody is deeply interested in me. Today it is two weeks that I have not had a talk with anybody."

    She broke my heart. I started sending her letters and flowers as often as possible and she answered me with cards. She still wrote them by hand and I recognized her effort in each letter. Carla died last year, 102 years old.
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    Photography by Kiki: The photograph I have of Carla Böhm is too small to upload on Cowbird, so I put her, 100 years old, on the cheek of a Himba woman, maybe half her age, that I photographed in Serra Cafema, Namibia

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