Untours Cafe

"What comes first?"; duty as understood by an Alpine villager

One of the early Untourists to stay in Margrit's apartment was a certain Jim Cashman. Mr. Cashman, who, it happens, owned the Cadillac agency in Reno, Nevada asked me what the family did to earn a living. I explained that they had a number of sources of income but that the family saw themselves as "farmers." They sold their cows' milk (and cheese made from it); and sometimes they slaughtered a calf or a cow, selling and eating the meat.

"How many cows do they have?" Cashman asked me.

"Eleven", I answered.

"Hell! I own five hundred cows and ain't ever seen one of
em," said the Nevadan.

Margrit had several careers—at one time. She kept house, for a large chalet, not only for her family but also for two two-bedroom vacation apartments, she had a large vegetable garden, which produced more than half the food the family ate-- not to mention the care it took to keep flowers growing on her balcony and window sills. She worked part-time as a waitress in the "Kurhaus" (hotels in Alpine villages were places where one rested to restore one's health, hence were called "Cure houses."). She worked for the Hohfluh post office as needed, delivering and sorting mail. And she toiled long hours as a farmer's wife, pitching and raking hay, caring for the milk and cheese, etc.

Her husband, Hans, worked hard (often more than full time) as a farmer. But he also delivered mail when needed. In the winter he worked for the mountainside ski industry, helping skiers mount the chairlift, taking tickets, etc. Later he got a position as a ski instructor.

There were several instances when Margrit's work as a waitress and with the post office overwhelmed her; as a result she fell behind in making and confirming new reservations for me. I complained that she had taken on work that interfered with her commitments to me. She explained that she had no choice; the Kurhaus could not find anyone else to serve their diners; when the post office needed her, the answer was the same: "They had no one else but me to do this work." When the community needed her, either via a public service (the post office) or via a private hotel—when her community , needed her she had no choice but to serve. I would simply have to wait my turn.

(Margrit eyes the meal of her buddy --Marianna Rosa --long time Untours staff person -- and lovingly known around here as "Queen of Hasliberg". This is yet another snapshot floating around the Untours office that no one knows who took. Thanks to the unknown photographer.)

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Comment by Jean and Fred Agneta on November 5, 2007 at 12:08pm
That was a wonderful story about Margrit--- what a remarkable woman, she must have had 6 hands to accomplish so many tasks-- so many people needed her!! Hal, thanks for sharing it with the Cafe


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