Monday, March 14, 2016

Betty MacDonald and very important birthdays
Betty MacDonald in the living room at Vashon on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post. 

Betty MacDonald fan club fans,

Betty MacDonald fan club newsletter March will be available soon.

Many more wonderful interviews by Wolfgang Hampel with Betty MacDonald's and Mary Bard's family will be published. 

Wolfgang Hampel, author of Betty MacDonald biography and interviewer of Betty MacDonald's and Mary Bard's family and friends got first Betty MacDonald Memorial Award for his outstanding research and work. 

March is a very exciting month because of several very important birthdays.

Send a birthday card with your thoughts of Betty MacDonald and her books to us and you might be our Betty MacDonald fan club contest winner.

Deadline:   March 15, 2016

You can win a first edition of Betty MacDonald's golden egg with a very cute dedication for one of her fans.

International Betty MacDonald fan club events are the best opportunity making wonderful friends.

Great Vita Magica news!

Wolfgang Hampel's new Vita Magica guest was a very famous TV lady, author and singer. 

Tatjana Geßler is an outstanding new Betty MacDonald fan club honor member.

Wolfgang Hampel  already introduced Betty MacDonald fan club honor member - artist and author Letizia Mancino -  in Vita Magica.

Other Betty MacDonald fan club honor members will follow.

The thrill of it all is that one and only  Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mr. Tigerli  is back.

Enjoy a new breakfast with Brad and Nick, please.

Betty MacDonald very beautiful  Vashon Island is a magical place. 

Poland and Germany are my ESC 2016 favourites.

I hope one of them will win!

Many ESC fans can't wait to come to Stockholm.

Take care,


Don't miss this very special book, please.

Vita Magica
Betty MacDonald fan club

Betty MacDonald forum  

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( English ) - The Egg and I 

Wolfgang Hampel - Wikipedia ( German )

Vashon Island - Wikipedia ( German )

Wolfgang Hampel - Monica Sone - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( English )

Wolfgang Hampel - Ma and Pa Kettle - Wikipedia ( French )

Wolfgang Hampel in Florida State University 

Betty MacDonald fan club founder Wolfgang Hampel 

Betty MacDonald fan club interviews on CD/DVD

Betty MacDonald fan club items 

Betty MacDonald fan club items  - comments

Betty MacDonald fan club - The Stove and I  

Betty MacDonald fan club groups 

Betty MacDonald fan club organizer Linde Lund 


Linde Lund shared Rita Knobel-Ulrich's photo.
Rita Knobel Ulrich - Islam in Germany - a very interesting ZDF  ( 2nd German Television ) documentary with English subtitles

The situation in Germany and Sweden with many refugees is rather difficult. 

Betty MacDonald, Letizia Mancino, Mary Holmes and the second paradise

Ein lyrisches Portrait von Hilde Domin

Betty MacDonald fan Club honor member, artist and writer Letizia Mancino shares her delightful story THE SECOND PARADISE. 

Betty MacDonald fan club honor member Mary Holmes did such a great job in translating THE SECOND PARADISE.

Thanks a million dearest Mary.

We are really very grateful.
I'm one of Letizia Maninco's many devoted fans.

Letizia Mancino sent this connecting piece to " The Second Paradise".
Anita & Eartha Kitt II


Copyright 2011/2016 by Letizia Mancino

translated by Mary Holmes 

All rights reserved

That was how my friend Hilde Domin was, dear Betty! You would have liked her so much. She had also been in America. At that time you were a famous author but she was still unknown.

-Did she love cats like you do?

-Yes Betty, she sure did!! Otherwise how do you think she could have been a friend of mine?

-Oh Letizia, don’t boast! Hilde was famous!

-It’s all the same to me, Betty, whether a person is famous or not but that person must love animals

-Why was she as defiant as a cock?

-Well Betty, she was simply so!

-Like a pregnant woman in my “Egg and I”?

-No not so! Betty, Hilde was a whole farm!

- A farm, how was that?

- No Betty, Hilde was more! Almost a zoo! Even more. She was all the animals in the world!

-You loved her very much.

-As I love all animals. 

You Betty, if I had known you, I would have loved you exactly so because you loved animals.

-But as defiant as a cock from my Bob-farm!

-Yes and no! (Hilde really loved this double form of answer). Listen Betty , I’ll tell you a story about how Hilde was. You would certainly have loved her.
I’ll call my story “The Second Paradise”.


Copyright 2011/2016 by Letizia Mancino

translated by Mary Holmes

All rights reserved

The Lord God, one day, met Adam in Paradise and saw him lying under a palm.

And God spoke to him: Adam, my son, are you happy, are you content with Paradise ?

Adam answered: Oh Lord, it is wonderful!

And God said: But I will create a second Paradise and give you a wife.

Adam answered: Oh Lord, that is wonderful!

And God said: I will create the wife according to your wishes.

And Adam stood under the palm and thought hard.

And God said: Adam, are you ready?

Adam answered: My wife should be as lively as a bird but she should not fly. She should swim like a goldfish but not be a fish….. She should be as playful as a cat but not catch mice….. She should be as busy as an ant but not so small.

And God said: So shall she be: Like a bird, a goldfish, a cat, an ant…

Adam answered: Oh Lord, that is wonderful, but she should be as faithful as a dog.

And God asked: Adam, have you finished?

Oh Lord, cried Adam. She should also be as delightful and gentle as a lamb and as defiant as a cock!

….She should be as curious as a monkey and as pampered as a lapdog.

And God said: So shall she be.

And Adam said: My wife should be as courageous as a lion and as headstrong as a goat…

And God said: So, like a bird, a goldfish, a cat, an ant, a dog, a lamb, a cock, a monkey, a lapdog, a lion, a goat… and slowly and surely he wished to begin creating…

But Adam stretched himself under the palm and called:

Lord, Lord, she should be as adaptable as a chameleon but not creep on four feet.

She should have sparkling eyes like, like… real diamonds. She should be as fiery as a volcano

But … she should have crystal-clear thoughts like a mountain spring.

God, the Almighty, was speechless…

And Adam spoke: Also she should be as quick as lightening…

And God said: Man, have you finished????

No, said Adam! She should be as strong as a horse, as long living as an elephant but as light as a butterfly!

God found Adam’s thoughts were good and said: So, bird, goldfish, cat, ant, dog, lamb, cock, monkey, lapdog, lion, goat, chameleon, genuine diamonds, volcano, mountain spring, lightening, horse, elephant…. butterfly…

God wished at last to begin creating her…

Lord, called Adam… she should be as stable as steel, but as sweet as three graceful women in one…

And God asked: Should she also be a poet?

Yes, called Adam from under the palm…

And God said: Adam have you finished?

Lord, I wish that, in the second Paradise I shall be one and doubled:

So God according to Adams last words created:



Very best wishes

Letizia Mancino 

Merkel’s Dilemma

EU leaders are unhappy about the refugee crisis, and just as unhappy about her working with Turkey to solve it.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a press conference during an EU leaders’ summit with Turkey on migrants crisis in Brussels on March 7, 2016.
Alain Jocard/Getty Images

Time is running out for Angela Merkel. The term Mexit is worming its way into Germany’s political vocabulary, because the idea of Merkel’s departure after a decade in power is no longer unthinkable. Having held together the European Union through the Greek debt crisis and Russia’s war against Ukraine, Merkel is fighting for her own survival as the undisputed leader of Germany—and a united Europe.

Even as the German chancellor sat up with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu Sunday night hammering out a grand bargain on Europe’s refugee crisis, the first results from Hessian municipal elections were coming in: The right-wing populist Alternative for Germany party was surging into the double digits, including in the country’s most international city, Frankfurt.

German television has dubbed March 13 “Super Sunday” because regional elections in three states are being viewed as a referendum on Merkel’s open-door refugee policy, which brought in more than 1 million asylum-seekers in 2015. Recent polls show the upstart Alternative for Germany rearranging the electoral calculus as it siphons conservative voters disappointed with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union. To help stem the flow of migrants, the chancellor is coddling and cajoling Turkey, the main transit country for refugees heading to Europe from the Middle East’s war zones. Her outreach, though, has the rest of Europe on edge.

Merkel’s struggle is filled with such contradictions. Restoring passport-free travel among European countries means making the external EU border virtually impenetrable. As the chancellor demonstrates leadership in seeking a transnational solution, other EU leaders are reluctant to follow her—not just because of Germany’s history as a hegemon, but because Merkel is suspected of playing her own game. Perhaps most preposterous is a new plan to reward Ankara’s cooperation on border control by reinvigorating Turkey’s stalled bid to join the European Union.

At a summit in Brussels on Monday, the European Union agreed to study a Turkish offer to take back all “irregular migrants”—as people without proper documentation are known in Eurocratese—in exchange for a hefty set of concessions: For every Syrian refugee returned to Turkey, another Syrian from a Turkish refugee camp will be resettled in the European Union; 3 billion euros in EU aid to care for Syrian refugees in Turkey, in addition to an already promised 3 billion euros; the lifting of EU visa requirements for Turkish citizens this summer; and accelerated talks on EU membership for Turkey. In other words, refugees paying people-smugglers their last savings for the dangerous sea passage to Greece would go to the back of the line to go to Europe, while those sitting tight in camps would be at the front. About 2.7 million Syrian refugees are living in Turkey, many of whom see a brighter future in the European Union.

The Turkish initiative came as a surprise to most of the assembled EU leaders. Davutoglu had presented the demands to Merkel the night before at a meeting that reportedly lasted more than five hours. Although the chancellor later denied any involvement in the Turkish proposal, she couldn’t dispel the impression in Brussels that she had somehow been behind it.

What’s indisputable is that Merkel has been actively seeking Turkey’s help since the fall, when unprecedented numbers of migrants streamed into Germany after she accepted thousands of refugees stranded in Hungary. Merkel publicly made the case that if the 28 EU countries worked in concert, they wouldn’t need to close their internal borders and could comfortably take in however many Syrians fleeing that country’s civil war. At the same time, she set about trying to convince Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to stop the refugee trek at the source.

With the same persistence that she had pursued a cease-fire in Ukraine with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Merkel turned to Erdogan. The no-nonsense daughter of a Lutheran pastor was turned off by the two leaders’ machoism and vanity. But just as she recognized that Ukraine was a matter of war and peace in Europe, Merkel understood that no solution to the refugee crisis could exclude Turkey.

Photographs from an October meeting in Istanbul showed Erdogan and Merkel sitting side by side in gold thrones like a king and queen. Not only was the chancellor mocked as playing Erdogan’s “favorite lady-in-waiting,” she faced criticism for being instrumentalized by the Turkish president just before parliamentary elections. In November, the European Union and Turkey agreed on a “joint action plan” that promised Ankara 3 billion euros to improve the plight of Syrian refugees in return for better EU relations. The leaked minutes of a conversation between Erdogan and EU executives cited the Turkish president demanding twice as much money and threatening to send busloads of refugees over the European Union’s land borders if he didn’t get his way.

Merkel knew whom she was dealing with. In January, she invited Davutoglu’s Cabinet to Berlin for the first-ever intergovernmental consultations between the two countries. Less than a month later, Merkel and Erdogan caught NATO off guard by suggesting that the alliance could supply ships to patrol the waters between Turkey and Greece to stop human traffickers.

Erdogan was isolated after shooting down a Russian warplane following Putin’s entry into the Syrian civil war on the side of Turkey’s rival, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. NATO wasn’t interested in getting involved in Erdogan’s self-inflicted dispute with the Kremlin. The Turkish military’s campaign against Kurdish fighters—the West’s most reliable allies in Syria—complicated matters even more. The refugee crisis presented Erdogan with a way out of his quandary. Attention from NATO and EU are making his loneliness go away, although his style of rule hasn’t changed in the least.

In Brussels, Merkel downplayed the prospects for Turkey’s speedy entry into the European Union but added that “very close cooperation with Turkey is in our geopolitical interest”—unusual words for a German chancellor.

At this point in Merkel’s career, solving the refugee crisis is about more than just winning elections. In a live television interview in February, she called it the “most difficult problem of my chancellorship.” Unlike most of her other EU colleagues, Merkel is perfectly aware of the moment’s historical significance.

Her dilemma is whether the European values she champions end at Europe’s borders.

Lucian Kim, a former Moscow correspondent, is now based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter.