This is a picture of my grandmother, Hildegard Chapman.
She was born in Imperial Germany in December 1913 and later married my grandfather, Ernest Wilhelm Lass. My mother was born on December 23, 1935.
She was a person full of love and life, with a very silly laugh. My grandmother’s first car was a sports car, and she drove like she was in one for the rest of her life!
My grandfather was a person who had real problems with personal relationships, often very cold and distant. Although it is not an excuse, he was raised in a home where his parent’s beat him regularly, not for punishment but for dominance. He became a veterinarian, relieving the suffering of animals, so there must have been a compassionate person inside of him.
My grandmother looked for love outside of her marriage, and her husband threw her out and divorced her when she got pregnant. (Divorce was extremely difficult in 1930s Germany). Although she was not allowed to see my mother, she was able to engineer secret meetings with her often.
During the war, my grandmother joined the German Navy, and served as a medical examiner stationed in Paris, where it was her responsibility to determine cause of death for German soldiers. During the retreat, she surrendered to British forces, and was a POW in England.
With her home now in East Germany, she decided to remain in England, and worked odd jobs. Granny became a British citizen in 1947. She was very sweet and charming, and had several offers of marriage, including a Lord. However, if you have seen my previous writings, you know that she married Harry Chapman, a simple but honest man.
They started Petergard Bulldogs, and became famous with one of their first dogs, Petergard Peter, seen here pulling a model of the Queen’s coronation coach. They were breeders and national dog show judges. They became friends with celebrities and nobility, who often came to the house to celebrate my birthday each year (even when I was not there) or in one of her other parties.
Even later in life, a Belgian shipping billionaire friend asked her to marry him, but she stayed with Harry. My grandparents are the main reason that England is such a place of magic and wonder to me.
Opa died in 1986, and Granny followed him a decade later. She only got to meet Alyssa LeeAnne Frennier one time, but was gone a few months later. I miss them constantly, and I wish that my girls had had the chance to know for the great and loving people that they were.