The other day I was asked by a German friend if I still had a poem book and if I remembered the following verse:
“Willst du glücklich sein im Leben, trage bei zu Anderer Glück
Denn die Freude, die wir geben, kehrt ins eigne Herz zurück.”
I said yes, and then went looking for mine. But do you know what it is? In Germany it was called ‘Poesiealbum’, an album of verses or an autograph book. We used to have a plain but pretty booklet and on the right page people would write a poem or verse, like the above, which roughly translated means ‘If you want to be happy in your life, contribute to the happiness of others. For the joy you give returns to your own heart.’
The left side was kept free to be decorated by the writer of the other page, often also with stickers. The idea of the book was to provide a memory of your classmates, friends, even teachers and relatives.
I was intrigued whether the Poesieablum idea still exists and was pleased to find out that, yes, it did. Nowadays they are often called Freundschaftsbuch (friendship book) or ‘Freundebuch’ (friends’ book) and include spaces for address, personal details, hobbies etc… But it’s still the same idea of keeping a permanent memory.
My poem book didn’t have many pages filled in, as I wasn’t too bothered at the time. Looking back now I wish I had passed it around more as it’s lovely to look at it now, 40 odd years later.
I leave you with a few pages from the book and the question: Did you have a Poesiealbum or similar? And if you had a German one, did you have any pages decorated with those lovely stickers? If yes, could I have a picture and add it to my post?
And if you didn’t have a friendship book, do you think it’s a great idea?