This is the “B” installation to my alphabet series. I take three or so random words and somehow relate them to Switzerland. So, “b” is for babies, belief and boldness.
is for Babies
When I was born I was so surprised I did not talk for a year and a half. ~ Gracie Allen
We don’t have any children, so no babies. We did have the pleasure of having young families live near us. It was interesting to see and hear the babies learn to talk.
Before people started speaking Swiss German with me they spoke high German, that is, when they weren’t speaking English. The eldest of my sister-in-law’s children wanted to talk to me too. She noticed that her mom was speaking a little differently to me and listened carefully. To a pre-school-child it sounded like high German was just Swiss German with an “n” at the end of all the words. Easy. My name was no longer Lisa, it was Li-san. Life got a lot easier when I learned Swiss German.
When their middle child began talking we all got to learning a new, interesting language. That was refreshing. It had absolutely nothing to do with Swiss German. Bee-bee-too-ah meant open or close something. Doo was a bottle of milk. Oh-wha-doo was a large bottle of milk. By the way, he’s all grown up now and speaks just fine. I guess he was so surprised by being born that he forgot to speak a language people understood.
is for Belief
The thing always happens that you really believe in; and the belief in a thing makes it happen. ~ Frank Lloyd Wright
In the old Swiss confederacy the only belief was Roman Catholic until around 1520 when the Reformation took hold. The first Swiss Reformer was Ulrich Zwingli. He was born in the canton of St. Gallen in 1484. We visited his birth house, a small, modest, wooden home in Wildhaus while on vacation once. The Reformation resulted in the Swiss cantons splitting their religions. They are now either Roman Catholic or Protestant. The belief in the religion made that happen.
Basel was Roman Catholic until the Reformation, then turned Protestant. The “Fasnacht” or carnival is traditionally a Catholic event. The Baslers love their carnival, it starts early, 4am and lasts 3 days. They call it “the three most beautiful days”. So, Catholic or not, they wanted to keep it. Around 1529 they changed the date to a week after Ash Wednesday to show it was no longer of Catholic association. It is still going strong today; it’s one of the largest, if not the largest carnivals in Switzerland today. We’ve been a couple of times and I am sure I will talk about it later in more detail.
Still, it shows the Baslers really believed in their “Fasnacht”, even when they were no longer Catholic. They believed in it and still make it happen.
is for Boldness
Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Okay, I don’t really think Goethe was thinking about the Helvetica Bold font when he said that. But it can be applied to the widely used typeface designed in 1957 by Max Miedinger. Yes, it’s that old and it is bold. How does this fit into Switzerland? Well, apart from Max Miedinger being Swiss, “Helvetica” is a Latin adjective and means Switzerland. It is a sans-serif font, there are no little feet at the ends of the strokes. It became one of the most popular fonts in the 20th century. Even the font Arial, is cloned from Helvetica. Helvetia has genius, power and magic in it, now, am I talking about the font or Switzerland??
Goethe said Whatever you can do or dream, you can begin it. Okay, let me try now… I’m dreaming that my blog is going to be a huge success.