Bayreuth

At the age of fifty and after nearly 20 years, I returned to the familiar district between Cathedral and Heilig Kreuz, for the Klinkertorstrasse virtually was a parallel street to the Jesuitengasse. Things were looking up for Streitel's career little by little, in 1806 he had been promoted to First Mail Coach Dispatch Officer. At the end of 1811, he got appointed to post-master to Kaufbeuren, which meant that I would leave my home town. I had no special ties any more to keep me in Augsburg, my daughter and her husband were my family. Was I to stay behind all on my own in the end? Saying goodbye was not too hard, but building up a new social life in another town was indeed a challenge. The Salzmarkt in Kaufbeuren where I lived only for a short time Another town - what am I talking here? Having 5,000 inhabitants Kaufbeuren was not more than a village for me, and after more than half a century in the business metropolis of Augsburg, I felt like being on another planet. People however were friendly, and therefore the two and a half years on Salzmarkt did become quite nice, although more than quiet. Even so very quiet that right at the beginning of August I took advantage of the opportunity to go together with my children and our dear neighbor, the pastry cook's wife, Frau Schropp, to the ceremonial funeral of Augsburg's last Prince-Bishop, Clemens Wenzeslaus, in Marktoberdorf. Haha! This is just reminding me of Streitel running beside the carriage for most of the way, since the coach was too small for three tarted-up ladies and one gentleman. Too funny.

September 1814 brought Streitel's transfer to Bayreuth. Now really, this son-in-law did indeed bring a certain restlessness into my life. I packed my bits and pieces in no time at all, and with bag and baggage we bounced for days on end towards the last phase of my life, during which View on Bayreuth I got to see my home town for the very last time. Nestled in the soft hilly country east of "Fränkische Schweiz", Bayreuth (left) quickly won me all over. A charming little town, the houses squat in the baroque style, completely differing from the proud, steeply towering Renaissance buildings in Augsburg with their sumptuously painted facades. This former margravial capital housed two palaces plus the at that time largest and most splendid opera house worldwide, built by Wilhelmine, the favorite sister of "Old Fritz", who had resided and worked here only a few decades ago. Wolfgang would have appealed to it, he would certainly have loved to perform here one of his operas. Unfortunately however, this magnificent opera house was used only extremely rarely; even though I was told that Le Nozze had been performed in Bayreuth in 1786, and Die Zauberflöte in 1794. But since the death of the last margrave the whole town had been in cultural slumber. A certain Herr Richard Wagner as well as Franz Liszt were to come only long after me. Instead I met Jean Paul, the writer and poet, rather often who lived just round the corner.

The Bayreuthers were very obliging and met me respectfully, for nobody here knew my story, and my reputation as cousin of the great Mozart was spotless. What a relief. The liking was mutual, and I enjoyed living here for my last 26 years. Bayreuth's old coaching house, my home where I lived for 26 years, and died Streitel's apartment, provided by the Royal Mail in the "Postei" on the Friedrichstrasse - see photo - directly at the Gymnasiumsplatz, was pleasantly spacious. Directly below us were the offices plus thoroughfare for the mail coaches, in the courtyard a dozen stables. Harness rattling and clopping became a permanent part of my every day life. Soon we rented a lovely garden on the brook behind the Gymnasium, only a couple minutes away, which I dearly loved and where I spent much time. We also took regular promenades in the nearby "Hofgarten", the grounds of the new palace, which were a dream particularly in fall. I also enjoyed the lively hustle and bustle on square and street especially at midday, when the schoolboys were storming out to go home. A pity, none of these children was a grandchild of mine.

Streitel, an exceedingly industrious man, occupied himself constantly with trivial, fiddly jobs for technical improvements in the Post Office, like flexible harness chains for mail coaches, for which he 'generously' tapped our private reserves, unfortunately, however, did not receive any appreciation through his superior authorities. In spite of a free apartment plus a handsome salary he kept getting nowhere. His yearly trips to a spa were useless anyway. Our social life went its quiet Biedermeier way, in which the contacts with Royal Post Office employees were inevitably rather pronounced. Josepha was asked twice to be godmother, which naturally caused sad memories. I myself didn't lack anything, it was only Wolfgang's music I missed terribly.


© copyright 2001-2017 Susanne M. Scholze. All rights reserved.

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