The W Files

weingartner library and archives





About us

Or ME, as the case may be

I hope you will find “The W-Files” title quaintly amusing. I should really have called it “The EW-Files” but that would sound more narcissistic than I’m comfortable with.

Still, this website is neither a reflection nor a description of all Weingartners everywhere. Not even the Weingartner tribe I inherited as a birthright. Just to let you know, I take full responsibility for anything you may find on this site (except for unsolicited objectionable comments you may find in the feedback).

I do have collaborators, and may even attract more in the future. The first is daughter Miranda, who has published her blog “The Hospitable Alien” for years. (A link will be provided as soon as I learn how to do that.)

Two others wrote their contributions to this website many years ago. Sadly, both my mother and my father have passed away long ago. How they would marvel at being able to view their photos and writings anywhere in the world on both huge and tiny screens.

You can view photos and excerpts of both Mama’s and Tata’s memoirs HERE. (Or rather, you will be able to after I have figured out how to do that).


How did I get here?


  1. I got old.

Not a complaint, just a fact.

Retirement gave me the gift of time. Time to reflect on why I never saw time pass so rapidly.

Why was my experience of time so different when I was young? Time passes more quickly when you’re having fun, right? These days time speeds along whether or not I’m having fun.

But on the whole, I was too busy cramming life into every moment—a succession of moments that seemed unconcerned about the passage of time.


2. I began thinking about legacy.

On his deathbed, my brother Arthur made me promise to finish translating my father’s memoirs. Back when Tata was on his deathbed, he made Arthur promised to translate it. For the grandkids. He knew the coming generations couldn’t be expected to read or even understand German.

When I started to read both the original German and Arthur’s English translation, I was struck by two realizations: First, my brother Arthur was a math teacher, not a writer. The second is that my dad had written his memoirs when he was as old as I am now.


3. I had to downsize.

After a lifetime of repeatedly moving across oceans and continents, my wife Marilyn and I live in our first permanent residence. But nothing in life is permanent, as my titanium hips can attest.

In an effort to postpone our final move indefinitely, we invited our daughter Miranda and her wife Molly to live in our house.

We knew there would be sacrifices, the biggest of which being space. My gigantic office, with floor-to-cathedral ceiling bookshelves, had to be shrunk to half my bedroom.


4. I have a hard time letting go.

A mountain of boxes are waiting for me to triage. Boxes filled with books, magazines, slides, photographs, artwork and a sea of file folders containing correspondence, speeches, and travel reports from dozens of countries the world over.

I discover the physical remnants of memories my brain has all but forgotten. As I sift these archives page-by-page, my emotions cycle through surprise, embarrassment, pride, anger, joy, gratitude, humour, melancholy… did I mention surprise? What a life I have led! How rich in experience and encounters with utterly amazing people in all walks of life at all levels the world over!


5. I feel a weight of guilt.

I’m sure it has something to do with my upbringing as a preacher’s kid—this sense of responsibility to share what I have been given. It’s a feeling that I may have suppressed until now. I know there is nothing I have done to deserve the incredible journey my life has taken. Like the top secret documents Donald Trump spirited to Mar-a-lago, the boxes of my mementos were never really mine to hoard.

I understand well my father’s struggle to explain that his memoirs were not written with a sense of pride in his accomplishments. Rather, he saw it as his responsibility to share both the pain and the joy that God had entrusted to his care.

Yet here I am, enjoying my life’s saga all by myself. How narcissistic is that?


6. I continue to commit the sin of procrastination.

The pressure of guilt accelerates the passage of time that keeps me awake at night. It took ten years for me to bring my father’s memoirs to fruition. Who can predict how many years remain to me? It may take that long just to read and sort my archives, let alone write my memoirs.

What good is an incomplete memoir? Even if I were able to publish a completed manuscript, what guarantee is there that this painstaking work will interest anybody outside of a small circle of friends?


Technology to the rescue

I am told that in the future, personal memoirs will be superfluous, because already today, people’s lives are being digitally archived with or without their consent. What a horror!

Considering my current dilemma, I can also see a silver lining: might I be able to take charge of my own digital footprint by determining what of my print-media life I choose to digitize?

And this is where you found me: learning how to share my memories, pictures and letters on this weingartnerbooks.com platform.

Why don’t you accompany me in the process of “constructing” this digital edifice? Here I can stop worrying whether or not I will finish the job in my lifetime. And you can start enjoying my memories right now. Come back whenever you like. If they bore you, you can always “ghost” me. (I won’t notice, because I don’t even know what that means.)

It may take time for me to learn how to complete the structure of this website, let alone the contents. If you enjoy looking at scaffolding as much as I do, why not register for alerts as each new piece is added? (As soon as I have figured out how to add a registration form.)


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