Over the years, the Wachsmuth Family of Oysterville has kept closely in touch with their German relatives and have even adapted a beloved school tradition that involves a School Pretzel Bread called Schulbrezel. First graders carry it to their first day of school, beribboned in pink for girls and in blue for boys.

The first day of first grade is considered a turning point in the life of every German child and family.

Since German elementary schools begin with Grade One rather than with Kindergarten, the Schulbrezel makes clear that the child’s status is changing. Schulbrezel, marking this important rite of passage, is associated with the many changes ahead for both the child and for the family.

“When we learned of the tradition on one of our visits to our cousins, I decided to adapt it for my children and, now, for my grandchildren,” says Tucker. “Since we didn’t have access to actual pretzels made of bread, I made cardboard pretzels for each child as they entered school, no matter what the grade level.

Our somewhat different “tradition” is to take a picture of each child with the pretzel at the beginning of each school year — not just in First Grade.”

The family has recently learned that in Germany, the Schulbrezel is accompanied by a large cone filled with candy and other sweets as well as with school supplies. Whether or not that part of the German tradition will be adapted by the local Wachsmuth family branch is still “under consideration” smiles Opa Tucker.

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