In 1873 my grandgrandparents Moritz Piffl and Luise Reininghaus went to South Tyrol and to Italy on their honeymoon. They loved it so much – as witnessed by a superb photo album – that by 1895, for their retirement, they had their own house built in Meran, the Isenburg. So there we were, gathered from South and North, East and West, to celebrate the hundreth anniversary of our home and our roots in Meran, on the 22nd and 23rd of July 1995. My brothers and I had been particularly keen to contact our aunts and uncles and cousins from Austria who themselves, or whose parents, had been born in the Isenburg. We were gratified by the response and were all set for some good times.
Saturday morning we all gathered at the Isenburg in order to go to the nearby baroque church of Sankt George’s, which in these hundred years has witnessed countless weddings, christenings and other religious family occasions. My grandmother Lora Piffl de Strobel even had a side altar erected there. Father Franz Dissertori had prepared a mass in Latin with readings in Italian and German based on the passing of generations and the gathering of friends and kin. The readings in German were read by our cousin Peter Piffl-Percevic, while the ones in Italian were read by my brother Marco. In the afternoon we went to the race track for the traditional Cross Country race for gentlemen riders dedicated to my grandfather Oreste, a skillful horseman himself in his time and one of the original founders of the track. Actually, it is due to a show jumping contest in Meran that my grandparents met and subsequently married in 1908! In the evening we sat down in the garden of the Isenburg to a lovely star-lit dinner. A zither player brought back many musical memories of days long gone by. After lots of eating and drinking, a strong tradition in our family, we went to bed with vivid images of the day swirling in our minds.
The next morning we gathered in Meran’s old Kurhaus, a fitting place, we thought, as it was already so popular when our greatgrandparents seuled in Meran. In the Rodunda of the Kurhaus we had a brunch enlived by a Viennese brass band. That’s when all had the leisure to show one another photos of parents, grandparents, great aunts, etc. and thus share our common heritage. When we parted it was with the feeling that we were not merely relatives, but good friends, as Elisabeth Piffl-Percevic so well put it. I was grateful for those words, because that was just the aim I had wanted to achieve in gathering us to commemorate our beloved home, retying old knots and – for the young generation who really seemed so happy to meet – tie new knots and make new friendships.
Verfasst von Loretta Strobel Hannikainen