|Fritz, as purchased, November, 2011.|
|Fritz, Renewed, April 2012|
Since A3's arrival (A3 is Alexandra's nickname in the McDougall house), Fritz has mostly been in her sphere, so I have had little chance to use him. But when A3 went to Florida over spring break, she could only rent a car with an automatic transmission, so I taught her to leave her left foot on the floor by letting her drive my Santa Fe. Hence, I could swap cars a bit, and this weekend I did so in order to make the 620-mile round trip to NY and Connecticut that I planned for Friday and Saturday.
Some months ago, I'd invited 1987-Fulbrighter-in-Romania Dr. David Hadaller (pronounced "Hadler") and his wife Mirela to visit us in New Hampshire. This weekend, I renewed that invitation, but as they could not come at this time, the Hadallers turned the tables and invited me to visit them in Upstate New York. It seemed a perfect opportunity to meet them, and to give Fritz a road test.
|Mirela Hadaller, their friend Mona Monescu, and David H.|
It was great. Romanian hospitality in New York. And on the way, I stopped at a convenience store in a nearby town for directions, and met a half-dozen Hasidim. They gave me perfect directions. When I told the Hadallers about this, I learned that the local Hasidim were descended from immigrants from Satu Mare, Romania. In fact, I remembered that some might have come from Sighetu Marmaţiei, as at the museum there in Elie Wiesel's birth home, I had read of a Rabbi there who had escaped the Holocaust with a large group of his flock during World War II, and had ultimately settled in a village along the Hudson River Valley in upstate New York. As it turns out, this was Rebbe Teitelbaum, and in fact he did hail from Satu Mare, the county just west of Maramureş, and not from Sighet, which is in Maramureş.
Dinner was indeed Romanian, prepared by Mirela and her mother Stella Mustaca, and included salata de vinete, ciorbe de perisoara and de fasole, sarmale, and cosanac for dessert. Delicious. Then, David and I proceeded to talk over wine until 2:00 AM. Our lives have some remarkable connections beyond our both having been Fulbrighters in Romania. We were both born at Chelsea Naval Hospital, some eleven years apart. His father and mine were both in the Navy, and his father and my brother both served aboard The U.S.S. BOSTON (CAG 1). David's dad left that ship about two years before George McDougall went aboard her as a communications officer in 1965.
On Saturday morning, a family friend of the Hadallers, Prof. Dr. Mona Monescu of Columbia University arrived bearing a container of ciorba de burta that she had bought just for me at a Romanian restaurant in New York City. I felt very special to receive such a gift. And I assure my Romanian readers, it was the real thing, and absolutely the right breakfast following a night of wine and conversation. Many thanks, Mona! I shall not forget you, and you are invited to my home in New Hampshire, where I will cook for you my very best ciorba de mazare, or ciorba de fasole, as you prefer!
|Matt, Cela, and Diana|
Matt and Diana introduced me to her cousin Cerasela (Cela) Feraru, who is now living in Connecticut. We had a fun time, a scrumptious lunch at the New Canaan Diner, and then excellent coffee at Zumbach's Coffee House. The ceiling at Zumbach's is decorated with college pennants, and Amherst is right next to Smith, as well it should be, and The University of Chicago (The U. of C.) where my parents both graduated is right next to the University of Colorado (C.U.), where my daughter Christal graduated. Nice.
While in Westboro, I filled Fritz with 18.45 gallons of Mobil Premium gasoline (benzin). He had come 489.9 miles on this tank of gas, so had achieved an average of 26.5 MPG (8.9 L/100Km). I checked the oil, too. It was as it had been the morning before, just below the full mark. And on the odometer were 272,170 miles (438015 Km).
|Fritz's leather interior|
Do you see why I love both Romanians and BMWs?
|Most drivers' last view of Fritz.|