I wanted bad to interview Dr. Anita Bach, the first woman to teach Architecture at the Bauhaus Uni. She caught my eye because the then Rector was fixing to tear down her gloriously designed MENSA—so that he could talk Hellmut Seemann into planting the long planned Bauhaus Two Museum where her MENSA used to be. (That that registered architectural historian wanted to commit so stinking a cultural felony will make him history for generations, foul as his intentions were!)
But I come not to braise Gird, but rather to praise Anita! Getting there was the first hassle. I stayed overnight in a Rostock Jugendherberge. The bus that leads to where Dr. Bach lives in OSTSEEBAD Prerow took more than two hours circling the empty summer homes that I thought I’d go nuts finding her house. She said “Get off at the Edeka store”, easy enough. In which direction none of the locals knew! I must have stopped ten cars (most of them lost!) to find Anita. Not a single address number was consecutive.
Then I finally found their manse gradually built up from a square little mouse house, because their three kids didn’t want to abandon their summer memories! Her husband was also a Bauhaus professor, but he’s crippled now. Has to use a one person elevator to change their three floors. Anita was the sweetest wife to her crippled man.
She had to translate his murmured German to my English ear. I’m 86 and getting more senile by the day. But she kept showing me books she had written in Weimar. I’ll be damned if she was my age. I was born in February 1927, she in August. She explained with pride how she evolved as an architect as she taught.
And she is a knockout cook, giving me the triad of late breakfast, early lunch and a gargantuan supper, fit for the Duke I ain’t. She described how the men ignored the emerging women as they hogged the best positions. I slept perfectly on the third floor, up at dawn to snoop their outdoors. It was raining a tiny typhoon so she drove me to the train back to Rostock.
I had to tell the cabbie to hustle back to the hostel where I had expected to overnight. The Rostock Hauptbahnhof is the screwiest one I’ve ever got lost in. Dragging the many books she's given me that I’ve already passed on to Dr. Simon-Ritz, the Bauhaus Uni librarian.
I had only a minute to spare, catching the Berlin train. Full of swinging young men who dug my humor! Wait until I tell you what she taught me about the history of modern German architecture. What a home-run hitter I’d say she was if I were back in America.