before we start the celebration on your special day today, let me tell you that although we have never met in person or had our picture taken together and although I was never lucky enough to attend any of your cooking shows or book signings, our paths have crossed in more than one way, and one aspect stands out in particular.
For two years of your wonderful and interesting life, you used to live in the same City that I grew-up in and live in again today with my family!
While I was reading the fabulous book „As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto” (published December, 1, 2010), I came across the following excerpt from the book, it is one of your letters to your friend Avis, dated October 27, 1954:
Well, let me tell you, I was quite delighed to see that the housing complex still exists and so does your former apartment.
I took my two youngest daughters to the housing complex, a mere 15 minute drive from our house. When you compare the photograph dated 1952 with the photograph I took today, you will hardly see any difference. Except, today, the people that live in these apartments work mostly for the United Nations. While, obviously, the names have changed on the name plates, the apartments still bear the same numbers - yours was number five, third floor, on the right.
After our little photo session in front of your former apartment, we decided to wander in your footsteps for a brief moment in time and it felt really special! Right around the corner from the apartment complex, there is now the so-called United Nations Campus, then there is the Bonn International School and, of course the Rhine River. In your letters, I read that you really enjoyed your walks along the riverbank. There also used to be an American supermarket and an American Club. And just a few steps away, there is the “Stimson Memorial Chapel”.
Built in 1952 and owned by the American Government until June, 20, 1999, when it was presented as a gift of the United States of America to the City of Bonn...
…by the President at the time, Bill Clinton.
Julia, looking at the house where you used to live in while you stayed in Germany for two years with your husband Paul, and walking through your former neighbourhood, I could not help but wonder about the places where you used to take your walks, do your groceries and how your kitchen used to look like, I guess it was another “very small German kitchen”.
Oh, let me mention one more thing that we share. I was born in August too, just like you, born under the sign of the Leo – now, let´s celebrate and have a slice of the birthday cake that I baked for you, a marzipan cake, shaped like a flower and proudly displayed right in front of your former apartment by two young fans of yours, my two youngest daughters! And although I took the liberty of baking one of my recipes, I am sure that you approve, a German recipe to celebrate your birthday and remember the time that you spent in this country.
Happy 100th Birthday, Julia! - Herzlichen Glückwunsch zu deinem heutigen 100.Geburtstag, Julia!"