I was dining with Chris’ family, who lives a town or two away, and they were asking how I liked living so far away from my family. “Far? It’s not that bad actually, only 2 hours away,” I said. But then, they reminded me that in two hours, they could be in 4 different countries. I guess it’s all a matter of perspective.
Since everything is closed in Switzerland on Sunday (and I mean everything…try getting groceries or going out for dinner that day), Chari took me to the town of Hirzel, just a few minutes outside of Zurich.
It’s a quaint little town with little to recommend it aside from stunning views of rolling hills and occasional glimpses of the Alps in the distance…if that’s your sort of thing. Really, it’s common fare in these parts.
We couldn’t go in the house, since it’s currently a private residence. But, we could go in Spyri’s old schoolhouse, where she learned to read and most importantly, to write. The building is now a small museum, devoted to Spyri’s life and writing, but it’s only open on Sundays for two hours, and not on holidays (something I probably need to elaborate on sometime, since Swiss holidays are a little unusual). So, we made it there during the special time when the stars were properly in alignment to visit. It helps to have a native Swiss-German speaker in your home who can call around and find these things out for you (thanks Chris!).Since the town is so small, it was a joy to also see Spyri’s church, the one she went to as a child and where her grandfather was a pastor. It’s literally across the street from her home and a few feet away from the schoolhouse…ahh, small village life. Rereading Heidi as an adult and as a committed Christ follower, I’m picking up on the deep faith message in the book. I don’t know how in the world I missed it before, but I suppose you lose it a bit with the Shirley Temple version.
Interestingly, Spyri strayed from her parents’ faith in her early adult years, but after a serious bout of depression when she was 25, she turned back to Jesus for help. A prodigal child herself, it’s incredible to read about the prodigal children she’s woven into her book.