NBC News sent a crew from the United States and from London to cover 36 hours of our visits to Heidelberg and Essweiler, Germany this June 23 and 24. It was a thrill to have the team from NBC capture the excitement and wonder of this long-awaited 50th anniversary trip for Dominick and Lorraine Petrulli along with their two daughters, two sons-in-law and four grandchildren.
We started with the NBC crew following us around as we visited ancient Heidelberg, Germany which was our home base for three nights. We visited the castle and the old town and had lunch in an old brewery where the family learned the proper way to slice open a boiled veal sausage, or “weisswurst.”
Then it was the “Big Day.” We made our way in two vans for the family of ten, plus a van with equipment and the crew who had flown down from London. The producer, Joel Seidman, and the reporter, Kevin Tibbles, rode in a car at the back of our little parade from Heidelberg to tiny Essweiler, Rheinland-Pfalz.
Lorraine’s grandfather, Alexander Jung, was born in this hamlet and the house where he lived still stands. We were able to take photos outside that house, and Lorraine met the current occupants (no relation). We saw the old church, dating from the late 1700s, and the caretaker let the grandkids ring the bells. That’s pretty unusual in a small town in Germany, because the bells ringing at any other time than church service means there is a fire or other emergency.
NBC followed us over to Burg Lichtenberg where there is a museum dedicated in part to the wandering musicians from Essweiler and the area. Lorraine’s grandfather was one of those wandering musicians. There was a medieval festival going on, which was fun for all. NBC filmed quite a bit of that, too, but it didn’t make the final cut of the story.
It was wonderful that we werer able to get some Go-Pro footage taken by Taylor Searing, daughter Daniel’s husband, into the story. This made the story a rounder version of the entire trip, with both Dominick and Lorraine’s family represented.
The photos below tell more of the story. To watch the NBC segment, click here.