Becoming a Grandmother

It must have been during one of our visits to the post office - see picture below - when something clicked between Josepha and Streitel. My little daughter and apple of my eye, having just turned eighteen, wanted to marry. Thanks to the considerable influence of her father, she received her legitimation as Maria Josepha Berbier in the twinkling of an eye. It had always been a sore point of mine that my child had never been allowed to carry the name Mozart, leave alone the one of her father, but this ridiculous fantasy name some cleric had made up. I had sworn to myself that the same thing that had happened to me would not happen to my daughter. She was in love; all right then, she should marry, for heaven's sake. On May 31st, 1802 bride and groom got married at the Church of Heilig Kreuz.

Augsburg's post office My son-in-law, Franz Joseph Streitel, being 31 years of age, was clearly older. Born a son of a head forester in Kallmünz near Regensburg on April 6th, 1771, he entered on a career in the civil service, came to Augsburg in 1789, was transfered to Alsace four years later, and returned in a leading position to Augsburg via Heidelberg and Regensburg. Compared to the humble family wedding gift of 100 florin for my Cousin Katharina, Josepha was definitely a good catch because of her father's generous dowry of 2,000 florin, and so the young couple moved to Klinkertorstraße 9. Very soon I was told, "You're going to be a grandma!" And only two days before her 19th birthday, Josepha gave birth to a baby boy on February 20th, 1803 - my grandson Carl Joseph. Unfortunately, however, the fate of by far too many babies stroke him, too. The little mite got only three short weeks old. My poor child was desperately unhappy. In the long term that great misfortune turned out harder than was supposed, for Josepha had no further children. Was that fair? I myself had lost four sisters, my only just illegitimate child stayed alive, as sound as a bell, while she herself had to remain childless? So I might have become a grandmother at 44, yet I never really was.

Two years later serious changes for Augsburg occured. Napoleon came, Napoleon saw, Napoleon conquered, and the age-old Imperial City lost its exclusive status and got annexed to Bavaria. Just like this. We Augsburgers weren't terribly enthusiastic about that.

My increasingly infirm becoming Mama and I continued living our quiet life when all of a sudden Josepha's father, Franz von Reibeld, died of a sore throat on April 19th, 1807, at the age of only 55 years. Just a couple years before he had been honoured with the decoration of a "Knight of the Royal Bavarian St.Michael Order". Generous as he had been, he preserved well for our daughter and myself.

Only one year later on April 6th, 1808 my dearest Mama, too, left me, aged 80. Now I was all alone, Josepha and Streitel, however, asked me to move in with them, since they were alone as well. From now on, the Mozart-Streitel-trio was to live together for 32 years.

© copyright 2001-2019 Susanne M. Scholze. All rights reserved.
Picture by courtesy of Presse-Druck- und Verlags-GmbH Augsburg

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