A guest contribution by Stefan Steff Tietjen
Once upon a time… …and so on and so on… …but hey, it was really some time ago, there was one of the but unfortunately and much too rare meetings with my sister. So the north of Schleswig-Holstein met with the south of East Frisia – and what else should the conversations be about except the then emerging middle of both points, which would be roughly Neuwerk?
Specifically, it was about the anchor. Not only because it turns 35 this year – no – precisely because it turns 35 this year and the anchor has accompanied us, like many others, for half our lives and gives us many beautiful memories.
“Can you still remember the anchor – I mean the beginning?”, I asked Tanja. I admit that memories fail me a bit there due to my own age. “My first memories of the anchor,” my older sister told me, “are of a little yellow house in the middle of the green meadow that Lüder built near the farm of his father, Lüder Ernst Griebel.” …and bang, the memories came back for me, too. At that time there was also a slot machine and already the first regulars’ table for those who always liked to come over once more than others.
It’s ringing! Just into our conversation, my parents come to visit in Flensburg and after the once again successful welcoming ritual, my father also immediately thinks of something on the topic. He still knows exactly how it used to be on Neuwerk. There, where people with cows or horses met on the dike or on the partly not yet properly paved paths towards the dike (“…there were no fences then”). And he knew that so well, “…because it could always happen that one had somehow left the then still small anchor not quite so punctually”. Not that it ever happened to him? Or others? Spear lesson? In the beginning, this was sometimes more precise, sometimes not so precise – or rather, it was sometimes extended a bit.
It was further reported to me that Lüder already had a lot of desire to run a pub at that time. Thus in the small island bar converted at that time from the old woodshed in the evening, so about 21 o’clock, after work done in the yard, the “Red Lantern” went on and already the people streamed off – “…and that is then probably also the legendary attraction, which the anchor has not lost until today” I added. Also the quality of the cocktails of Lüder at that time made a high but up to partly 2 – 3 days lasting impression on many guests.
“Wait a minute!” came from the corner where Tanja was sitting. “There was then also at some point next to the anchor on the green meadow the green bus (At this point love to Tina Bode – you know what I mean – sorry for everyone else – is an insider. “Who knows the bus still” I ask and Tanja revealed, “…that was for some time the home of the cook and the rest of the staff and then a wonderful adventure playground for us kids.” Today there is a beautiful 4-star hotel here, the Tüdelüt and the Anker, which has also grown in size over the many, many years – great work and great respect to all who have been involved.
I also like to remember many a winter time when I went around the island alone with Chrischi – just when no one else was around. Or when we all celebrated New Year’s Eve together.
I came to Neuwerk alone quite early in my life, as did many other acquaintances from the island. But I can only say for myself that I was always in good hands at the Anker (but probably others too).
The fact that the closing time was unofficially extended one or the other time was a welcome exception for the guests already at that time. They thanked Lüder with a very popular “sit-at-the-counter-and-discuss-this-and-that” while the waitress, then still in skirt and blouse and with a freshly starched white apron, wearily set the tables for the expected breakfast rush that was to arrive again in just a few hours. “While Lüder enjoyed his second chocolate ice cream a time or two…” added Tanja.
The employees! They have never been unimportant – since the foundation until today many people and friends have slipped through the application portal via tricky job interviews and sometimes highly difficult test situations and have come to Lüder and Christian for wages and bread…
“Did I actually tell you that during my work assignments on the island at the time, I myself had even made it as far as trash floor movement manager (i.e. as an assistant in the trash room with shovel and broom) – Anneliese always got her way with clear instructions, but since then, no one has been better – at least I hope so” I wanted to contribute on the subject of employees.
But seriously – It was actually always nice to work there and during this time I got to know many nice people, not least even more closely the Griebel family itself (and then at the counter work, not in the garbage room). Thank you very much for the great time.
The technology has also almost revolutionized over the years. In the beginning, handwritten orders were still made with receipt books and a mechanical cash register, coffee was still made with a halfway decent coffee maker, and food was still prepared in small pans and pots. In view of the ever-increasing number of guests, this would no longer be possible without today’s modern equipment.
The basis of the great success and the constant increase of the anchor in all these years were, of course, in any case, the day guests who raided the island by the hundreds every day and in all weathers from the tidal flats. When the weather is nice, of course, everyone wanted a place on the sun terrace, so beer and fried potatoes are sometimes served on the wall. Another time, everyone sought shelter from the rain, transforming the anchor into a subtropical landscape. Then the dryers were running at full speed so that everyone could make their way back to the ship with dry clothes after dinner – a perfect all-round service.
And to ensure that the temporary “handling” of the guests runs smoothly here, too, everyone has to lend a hand, because everything has to be prepared in good time. Who hasn’t burned their fingers while peeling fried potatoes? Every day, tons of potatoes were boiled, peeled and sizzled into the delicious Anker roast potatoes that many guests keep coming to the island and the Anker for.
And still to this day, many dear people are happy to help and assist – it’s almost a tradition. Somehow, people like to be “forced to work” there. Whether in the Tüdelüt, in the Wattoase or at nice events like the concerts in summer, chilling at and in the mudflats or just in the anchor, that was never a problem for many.
But of course the Anker also lives through its many regular guests. To name them all would go beyond the space here, but one likes to think of the great Saturday evening parties where we danced to the same songs for years and this music still brings back fond memories. Unforgotten are also Rolli’s notorious barefoot dancing interludes (which caused not inconsiderable injuries to some women and found one or the other imitator over the years) and his Baccardi excesses, which led to a unique anchor language – which unfortunately no one understood except him.
Another person here has guarded the language of the ancients – Lüder Bilbo Griebel, who wants to keep the Outer Dike language alive as a third language on the island in a very big way. Mostly the language is not spoken, but rather sung – and this just as long as it has to last. Thanks for the nice performances, Lüder.
Of course, singing and Lüder also bring to mind the home evenings, where songs are performed by the host with great regularity, but each guest also has to strain his or her own vocal cords. Popular with young and old and just one more beautiful tribal evening in the series of ideas of the family.
In the anchor, of course, besides the changing of the guard at the star of the family clan, much has changed since then. In addition to the size and the new atmosphere, for example, small things like the little name plaques on the counter still remind one or two standing-room-only fans. The Anchor was also home for many years to the Eggs, who experienced their meeting, never thought of anywhere else, with their sometimes curious recording rituals and the always funny comedy interludes, as well as the legendary performances of Los Wochos.
Not to forget the regular visits of grandma Käthe, who did not miss the opportunity to check on her son from time to time, accompanied by her dog and always briskly guarded – grandma, we miss you!
There were also always busy celebrating weddings (and they were always beautiful). Since I am allowed to write this article, it may also be granted to me to name my most beautiful experience: The marriage proposal to my wife Jean… …and all that in front of my best friends.
The anchor has experienced a lot in these 35 years and many stories have certainly not yet been told – most of them are known by the Lüder… For me (and I think I speak for everyone else), coming to the anchor meant being at home for a bit, but always being with friends.
The distribution of tasks in the “Management and Executive Board” area and in the “Recipe Finding and Enjoyment Research” area at Anker has always been clear. Want an example? Gladly! Let’s take Lüder and Anneliese – the area of “recipe finding and enjoyment research”: First, in a very classic way, SHE stood in the kitchen and was in charge – HE himself was in front at the counter and took care of what SHE told him. And since there is the Generatiosnwechsel with Chrischi and Svenja, the emancipation also held in the pleasure area and BOTH work together behind the scenes (and SHE has the say ☺). Similar to yours, right Chrischi ☺?
A lot has changed since then, but fortunately some things have stayed the same over the years, like the delicious crumble cake “baked with love for you” and Lueder’s accordion performances with that very special, own anchor mood.
35 years of anchor! Anchor stands for good times, for good times. Anchor means dear people meeting (not only those who also work there). Anchor is a center and also a refuge (not only in bad weather and if you still want to “hit the slopes on Saturday). When people ask me what exactly makes the anchor, all I can say is – IT’S JUST THERE!
My greetings and thanks for many wonderful years go to my part-time educators and vacation supervisors Lüder and Anneliese: I wish you good health and all the best for the future and hope to see you often on the island. My second but not less important greeting and thanks goes to one of my best friends and his charming and lovely wife, Chrischi and Svenja: I wish you that you never lose sight of your goal, your family and you and of course especially your back a painless season.
Keep up the good work – it’s great that you and the Anker exist, your friend Stefan Steff Tietjen (with the support of Tanja and Klaus and the rest of the family).
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