family Spath
Waldkircher Straße 5
79215 Oberprechtal

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(09.11.1884 - 28.01.1964)

Andreas Volk, Oberbiederbach


Every older resident of Biederbach still remembers the clever, original and "voluminous" trade woman Pauline Spath; popularly known as "Roßrainpauline". Also in Freiburg, almost every housewife knew her by the name of "the Bacon-Pauline". Every Saturday, she put up her stall on the Münster square in Freiburg and supplied the kitchens of Freiburg with all sorts of tasty things: butter, eggs, poultry, berries, sausages, typical bacon of the Black Forest and a lot more.


This kind of trade is not that special, but within the family Spath it is tradition since three gen-erations. The home of family Spath is in the middle of the municipality of Biederbach, next to the so called "Roßrain", a steep high ground next to the country road. Till the thirties, the family ran a "transportation-firm by horses" . Two years ago , the current owner, a grandchild of "Bacon-Pauline", opened a butcher shop - and the business is doing very well.


The so called "Molerfronz", a contemporary of Pauline from Elzach and also a "famous" origi-nal, said at that time: Every time he was passing the "Roßrain" he did a big jump because he was always scared of the steep high ground, which one day could slide down and bury him. But the "Roßrain" still exists, better than ever, and long since our "Molerfronz" is in his grave.


So, Pauline was a famous original by the grace of God: business-minded, clever an always quick-witted - in tricky situations also quick-witted with her body. The vernacular - or let´s say the people from the village - gave her the name "Bacon-Pauline", probably not because of her trade with bacon but above all because of her big body mass.


Every Saturday, early in the morning, her servant had to bring her with horses, trailer and heavy-laden to the train station of Elzach, where she took the early morning train to Freiburg. Without a doubt, today with the Mercedes this is far easier. As Pauline always wanted to take the same train on Saturdays, she never was late for that train. In other words: Only if Pauline was there, the train was ready to depart. The guard always had to neaten this or that. When she finally arrived and got scolden by the guard because of her delay, she answered him with broad dialect: "Shut up, go into the station restaurant and drink two beer, I pay it when I come back!"


One Saturday she carried a big sack full of poultry for the Freiburg housewives' stockpot and frying pan - she called them the "Freiburg´s Poppili". Carrying poultry in a sack was even at that time prohibited. But most people knew "Bacon-Pauline" and so they "enjoyed" to bend the rules. But that Saturday she saw the police officer standing at the platform - and this police officer was known as a particularly strict "eye of the law". But immediately she had an idea that could save her day. She knew that this officer was a widower and our Pauline was also "still available". She beckoned him aside, pointing out that she had to discuss something important with him. He followed her and Pauline said to him: "I have heard you would like to marry again. What do you think? I for one, I´m feeling like doing this." The officer, of course, became angry and replied: "You cheeky old brat, who do you think you are? Such an impudence, such an insolence!" ... and that sort of things. Pauline moved away from him, totally satisfied, because she gained her destination with her idea. Meanwhile her transport assistant could cross the control barrier unhindered with the sack of poultry and the "Freiburg´s Poppili" received their boiling chicken. Maybe the officer also consumed one of them?


In times of poverty of the First World War, Pauline was checked by an officer who had a pre-sumption that she dealt in the black market. Pauline said to him: "Come with me to the avenue, not here in the middle of all these people". And he followed her. When he wanted to check what she was hiding under her wide skirt, she screamed for help with her rough "male" voice, that someone wanted to rape her. The police officer was dismayed and left ashamed.


Also in those years, at the market of Freiburg, they wanted to confiscate the eggs she wanted to sell. She fought against it and hurled a lot of rough expressions into the face of the "hand of the law" - she was never lost of doing that. For being cheeky she was fined with five Mark be-cause of insulting an official. Immediately she paid, but then she started with her tirades, more than ever: "I have paid five Mark, so now I can say what I want and he will not confiscate my eggs." She took the eggs out of her basket, first things first, and threw them like lightning - as if they were hand grenades - into the back of her opponent, so that the gold-yellow sauce was dripping from the man´s coat on the street till the basket was empty. All this happened with the laughter of the whole market. Of course, more than ever she got a punishment ticket for her "heroic deed". But she didn´t care and said: "I have a lot of punishment tickets at home, one more doesn´t matter - I could wallpaper my living room with them."


What would she say or do today if she had to join and go through today´s stories and orders of selling butter?


In spite of her rough humour - well, maybe exactly because of that - she was welcomed eve-rywhere and an estimated trade-woman and her business was running very well. She was also a very good housemother for her relatives and house comrades. It was very important for her that her subordinates never had to suffer hunger. She had a heart like God gave it to her. The words of our novelist Heinrich Hansjakob, which he wrote in his preface of "wild cherries" in 1888 are not only meant for her, also for the mentioned "Molerfronz":


"Every human being is an original of the hands of God. The more cultivated and educated he becomes, the more is fading his originality or authenticity. The more arrogant and unnatural this education is, the more faster this authenticity comes to an end. Because of that you have to search the authenticity there, where the modern education isn´t yet "at home", in that big ocean of the humanity which we call nation. Right there, they are swimming. Who wants to catch them - those authenticities - has to be in a hurry because the fresh water of today´s culture is penetrating into all kind of classes of today´s lives; the authenticity is dying out."


Well, and today those authenticities are already died out. Because of that it is useful and good, that the still living contemporaries of those authenticities keep them in memory by using the writing - in this way the younger and following generation also keeps them in memory.