On a recent winter morning, Gertraude Bauer and Gerda Noack went shopping in communist East Germany.
“Here we have a lunchbox,” said Carmen Mesech, who appeared to be a sales assistant at the Intershop store, an upscale communist-era establishment where the women were examining merchandise.
“This used to be so popular,” Bauer responded with a smile.
“And the bread in it was always fresh,” added Noack, gazing into the distance.
The two 93 year olds spent much of their lives in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). Now, decades later, the vanished communist era appeared — at least for them — to be back. The Intershop store they were browsing in was, of course, a reproduction, and the song playing in the background, “Old Like a Tree,” had long ago disappeared from the radio.
Then a door opened and a nurse came in. It was time for the two Alzheimer’s patients’ daily nap and, for now, an end to their retro shopping tour.