Lisa Huppertz was born in Hamburg, Germany, in 1920. She will be 98 years old as of June 13. After losing her husband over 30 years ago and more recently, her hearing, she still has her stepchildren and her knitting to keep her company.
Huppertz knits approximately 20 afghans a year to donate to third-world countries through her local church and says she was made for this type of work.
An afghan is a woollen blanket or shawl, usually knitted or crocheted. It is sometimes also called a “throw” of indeterminate size. Afghans are often used as bedspreads, or as a decoration on the back of couches or chairs, according to wikipedia.
“I always had to have something (going) I was born with it. It was what I was born to do,” Huppertz told The Interlake Spectator on April 25.
In her own words
Huppertz tried living in Austria for a few years, but went back to Hamburg in 1945 where she lived in small quarters with her parents. She and her father both worked, while her mother stayed at home.
Her father passed away in 1947, just after the great war. She and her mother were then invited by her uncle to go lived in Canada. Her uncle had lived in the new world since 1914, and had found his sister and niece through the Blue Cross.
“And he suggested 'Why don’t you come over to Canada?'” Huppertz explained.
“He was just a worker. He was not married. He didn’t have much, but more than we had - and after discussing it quite a bit, my mother and I decided to go to Canada. My uncle was (very) happy.” Being a single older man, he was able to pay for their trip overseas and supported them when they arrived, she said.
Huppertz and her mother landed in Winnipeg in 1951 and for the first six weeks, they lived on a farm as guests, while her uncle looked for accommodations and she looked for work.
They found a one-bedroom apartment to share between the three of them, and after a few weeks Huppertz landed a job at Eatons, which she said was lucky, because she had learned to be a dressmaker, and had a good handle on her English.
“In December (of 1951) I think, my uncle said, 'You know - we are looking for a house' - and we found one. For the right price, $8,000,” she said, laughing
They moved into a two-story, three-bedroom house in the spring of 1952.
“That was my uncle’s place, and we had a bathroom and a fridge and all the furniture we needed. And, we lived,” Huppertz reminisced. Shortly after, her brother also came from Germany to join the small family with his wife and son.
“He came and shared the house until he found accommodations of his own,” Huppertz explained.
In 1958, while attending evening school to improve her english, she met someone.
The love of her life
They met on a streetcar, she said.
Along with her good friend, who already knew one of the two men they had run into, she spent the evening with someone she knew would be special to her. His name was Albert Huppertz.
Unfortunately, they got off on the wrong foot.
“I thought oh my gosh, I had run into a married man - he had two children and a wife in Germany - and this is funny now - you know (because) we talked about quite a few things, but then I saw around 11-o-clock or so, I thought ‘I don’t want to hang out with a married man’ - I was well brought up, you see,” Huppertz said, laughing.
So she left, having dashed away while he used the mens’ room.
When he came back, she had heard he had asked about her.
“‘Where’s Lisa?’ he said,” Huppertz recalled.
“‘Oh, she took the bus to go back home,’ (someone must have told him).” Huppertz explained, laughing through the memory.
“‘Oh?’ (he must have said). And you know, it really is funny, today.” Huppertz laughed as she recalled his devastation at having discovered she had gone.
“A few days later, (I was) sitting down for supper (with my family) and the door bell (rang), my mother opened the door, looked at him...” Huppertz continued.
“‘Oh,’ he said ‘You don’t know me, but is this where Lisa (lives?’ he asked).’”
“‘Oh.. oh.. are you?’ (my mother asked).”
“I had talked about him as well,” Huppertz explained.
“‘Oh, then you just come in. We are having supper right now, come have supper with us,’ (my mother said).”
That was the beginning. They were married a year later.