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35-year friendship of college roommates spans two continents
ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent
, Staff Writer
One never imagines when they go to college that their freshman year roommate will be a young lady from Germany who becomes a life-long friend.
"First I rescued Karin Steinberger for Thanksgiving" said Teresa (Marvin) Beever, who majored in German at West Chester University.
"My Dad, Andy, was a milk inspector. He took Karin along on his milk runs," said Beever.
"I got to visit many Amish farms," Steinberger fondly recalled. "Many times we were invited into the kitchen for coffee and a cookie."
When the Christmas break came, Steinberger again accompanied Beever home.
"Her mother sent cookies from Germany for our family. When they arrived they weren’t even crumbs, more like dust," said Beever. "We ate them with a spoon."
"This area looks like my home area of Creglingen, which is 100 miles north of Frankfurt," said Steinberger.
Steinberger found her way to West Chester University when, as a high school student, she visited with friends from Malvern.
"When we drove by West Chester University, it looked so pretty. We stopped and walked around. It happened that we met a professor from the German department. He spoke at length with me and later with my parents."
One year later, Steinberger was enrolled as a freshman at West Chester University as a German major.
Not many U.S. parents would relish sending their child so far away for four years of college.
"My parents saw the opportunity and felt I was sufficiently protected," said Steinberger. "I would pity that German professor if anything had happened to me!"
Steinberger and Beever became close friends during their college years. After graduation they relied on letters to keep in touch.
"Each of us got busy and we lost touch for a while," said Beever. "I wrote to her parents and she wrote back. Our friendship was reestablished and has remained firm."
"We have common interests and our children are close in age. We email each other regularly," said Beever.
"We have the traditional Christmas package," said Steinberger. "It is eagerly anticipated, and there is much excitement with its arrival."
"I bake Snickerdoodles (cookies) in late October," said Beever. That’s how early our package of gifts needs sent to arrive in time for Christmas.
"We send German chocolates and other gifts," said Steinberger.
Professionally, Steinberger conducts business English courses for executives most mornings.
"Afternoons are devoted to translations of marketing fliers and brochures representing many fields – business, engineering – things that will have an American market," said Steinberger.
Beever does some translation work for Steinberger.
"I make notes when a translation into English will sound awkward," said Beever. Suggestions of phrases more commonly used are supplied.
Steinberger visited the U.S. in 1996 and 2000. This time her young adult children, Marianna and Mattia (Italian for Matthew), came with her for a one-month vacation in America.
"She wanted to show us where she lived 35 years ago," said Marianna.
They also visited Washington, D.C., Gettysburg, the beach, and other places of interest.
When asked about any American food that Steinberger likes and cannot get its equivalent in Germany, the answer was cheesecake.
"I made a monstrous cheesecake," said Beever. "Cherry, blueberry and chocolate toppings were provided. It was the hit of that evening."
Steinberger said she looks forward to having Beever visit her in Germany, something which has not happened yet.
"She can help teach my business English classes in the mornings," said Steinberger. "And her German is perfect!"
The love these friends and their families share was evident with the relaxed conversation and recall of former experiences that easily flowed throughout the afternoon they were together again.