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Longtime Pen Pals Meet

Pen pals Ellen Golinja and Helen Waring Johnson met again after 25 years. Ellen visited Nebraska for the first time ever coming from her home in Bielefeld, Germany, the week of April 15. Helen and Ellen have been pen pals since 1971 before Helen along with her sister, Mary, spent a year in Ellen’s high school class from 1972-73. Helen and Mary stayed with their grandmother,Margarete von Kondrascheff, that year. Their grandmother lived in the same town as Ellen.
Ellen and her family were very friendly and kind to the sisters. Ellen and Helen have kept in touch throughout those 47 years. Ellen Golinja has been working in the Bielefeld Rathaus (Town Hall) for 42 years, planning to retire in a couple of years because she wants  to spend time with her new granddaughter.
While here, Ellen expressed appreciation for the wide open spaces of Nebraska and the open friendliness of the people from Geneva and others in Nebraska.
While in Geneva, Ellen had the chance to enjoy the hospitality of John and Bev Barthule in their special tree house. Ellen participated in a Helen’s Musical Hats show at Heritage Crossings by teaching a little bit of German to the audience, she also told them while she was growing up in Germany in the 70’s her family watched TV shows like “Bonanza” and other cowboy movies thinking that was what the USA was really like. Helen performed a cowboy medley and wore a Stetson and another cowboy hat, which had been given to her after a show in Sutherland.
Other hot spots of Geneva shown Ellen were: The Fillmore County Courthouse; especially the courtroom where Helen’s grandfather, Attorney Robert B. Waring Sr. and her great-grandfather, Attorney John K. Waring’s pictures hang as past Fillmore County Attorneys, The Geneva Post Office (Ellen’s great-grandfather was a German Postal Worker), where they viewed the beautiful Chavez WPA Mural, The new Nebraska Signal Museum where llen and Helen were given the “grand tour” by newly retired Nebraska Signal publisher, John Edgecombe Jr , the Geneva Carnegie Library (where Ellen Hollis, Dr. Jeff Hollis’ wife happened to be volunteering that day).
Helen thought this is perfect, “Ellen meet Ellen.” Ellen Hollis, who speaks German, conversed with Ellen Golinja. Ellen from Germany was so surprised that Ellen Hollis had actually been to the town in northern Germany, Bielefeld, where she calls home. Ellen Hollis has relatives from northern Germany that live in the vicinity of Bielefeld. It proves this really is a small world!
Maria Waring, Helen’s mother, hosted Ellen Golinja for a very nice lunch while she was visiting. In Lincoln, Helen and Ellen spent time at the beautiful Nebraska State Capitol Building, Morrill Hall, UNL and the Haymarket. In Omaha, before leaving to go back home to Germany they visited the Durham Museum and saw the sights in Omaha’s Old Market District.