Once upon a time, there was an island on the southern shores of the baltic sea, which had no name. The island was tremendously beautiful for many days of the year. The sun was shining much more often, then in the rest of the country it belonged to, whichever it was at the given time. That changed over the centuries not only once. The island had beaches made of the finest quartz sand you can find. Old-growth forests of oak and beech trees nestled the beaches and resembled a natural wind shield for the small towns that lay beneath. The summers were warm and the winters not so badly cold. All in all, a very nice place to be.
Well, if this darn thing just had a name. It was really tough to get the postal service deliver things to a place without a name. It was equally tough to explain the mainlanders, where you actually come from. Yes, even back than you had to leave the island from time to time.
Someday the unnamed island’s inhabitants decided that they must give their loved home a decent name. It was not the first time they decided to try that. But it should be the last time. On the latter, they all agreed upfront. All reasonably sane residents gathered in the big hall of the central town. That town had no name, too and was supposed to get named after the island, itself. There were long debates about the right name. Many proposals were made: “Little Rügen”, “Wunderinsel”, “Sunnyplace”, “Whitebeachisland” to name a few, that were not totally absurd.
But, they couldn’t settle on a name. After many days of debate, there was still no name in sight, that was even close to being acceptable. Those Western Pomeranians are generally a sturdy and stubborn bunch and the islands inhabitants were no exception. The opposite might be true. Even after four and a half weeks they still had the will to give their, by now, not so much loved home, a name.
The other day the major of the biggest and most prestigious town said: “We really should come to an end. Even if it means that we name the island and this town after Satan himself. I don’t dare to favor any proposal we have heard so far, so I suggest that we name the island, after the first word, that gets carried into this hall from the outside.” The other men – exhausted, tired, hungry and in desperate need of a toilette – agreed quickly. Well, all sane men were inside the hall and it wasn’t allowed, that women enter the town hall. Sad days it were, back in this dark century. So guess what happened.
The main door broke open and one of this not so sane men walked giggling into the hall. The first thing he said: “Oh, so dumm …”, which translates to: “Hey, that dumb …”. The rest of his uttering is unfortunately lost. But the islanders, proud and stubborn, called themselves from now on: Ohsodummer and their island and the central town: Ohsodumm. Time gave them a favor and ground it down to: Usedomer and Usedom.
That is basically the story I was told by my granny, when I was a very little Usedomer. The photo above shows the beach of Koserow, the town I grew up. In the foreground is my eldest. In the background you see our pier and farther back the infamous highest hill of Usedom: the Streckelsberg.
I’m writing this post in response to this weeks edition of the Weekly Writing Challenge. The topic is “Iconic” and gave me a quite hard time. The task was to find or take a picture of something that’s a symbol for yourself, that stands for something you value, and wrap a story around it. I decided to take the silhouette of the Streckelsberg at Koserow’s beach. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo that displays it more prominently and I live now around 800 km away from this place. So no chance to quickly drive by and take a picture. But to make amends for the not so visible iconicity, here are some more photos from my hometown and Usedom.