The serendipity of RSS

My news reader is filled with a variety of feeds: technology news, culture, wine reviews, blogs of interesting people, shopping…it’s all over the place. I choose to populate it wildly because it is an easy way to broaden my knowledge of the world. It also surfaces quirky items that I’d never otherwise learn about.

Like the story of the hunt for the Death Valley Germans.

The Death Valley Germans (as dubbed by the media) were a family of four tourists from Germany who went missing in Death Valley National Park, on the California–Nevada border, in the United States, on 23 July 1996.[1] Despite an intense search and rescue operation, no trace of the family was discovered and the search was called off. In 2009, the remains of the two adult members of the family were discovered by experienced hikers, Les Walker and Tom Mahood, who were carefully searching a remote area for evidence of the fate of the tourists, and conclusive proof of the fate of the male adult was later established.

(Source: Wikipedia)

My dad lived in Germany. His dad was a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army. They lived in Kaiserslautern from 1949-1951 and again from 1960-1962. I’ve been to Death Valley. Years ago, I spent a day climbing the dunes of Mesquite Flat in Death Valley National Park while on a photo assignment for PayPal to create images for a solo exhibit at one of the company’s VIP customer events (I was, inexplicably, on the same agenda as NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon and Boston Philharmonic conductor Benjamin Zander).

The story was glücklicher Zufall (that’s Google German for serendipity).

Well, serendipity-lite. It became full-blown serendipity when I read this part of the story about the Death Valley Germans:

“Post-trip examination of the symbols and markings on the bottom of the bottle showed that it was manufactured by the Thatcher Manufacturing Company. The company ceased operations in 1985, thus the bottle had to be older than 1985.”

Not only did this story include a connection to my family’s German history, not only did it include a connection to a place I once stood, but then it decides to throw in a reference to the glass manufacturer where my dad spent a good part of his working years.

Hello, Hollywood, have I got a story for you. No, seriously. It almost writes itself.

The Lost Germans

Follow the story of Ethan Bauer, a talented magazine photojournalist who’s always on the hunt for the next big story. But when he stumbles upon the tale of the Death Valley Germans, a family of tourists who went missing in 1996, he never could have imagined the journey he was about to embark on.

As Ethan delves deeper into the story, he realizes that there’s a surprising connection to his own family’s past — a past that began in the aftermath of World War II, where his grandfather navigated the complex political landscape of post-war Germany, to the height of the Cold War, where his father grew up on one of the most strategic military outposts in Europe, and 2018, when Ethan stood on Death Valley’s dunes during a corporate assignment.

Ethan immerses himself in the hunt for the Death Valley Germans, driven by a deeper sense of purpose, but the closer he gets to the truth, the more it seems that fate has a role to play in the journey. Through a series of serendipitous events, Ethan discovers a shocking connection between the missing tourists and his own family’s past, one that forces him to confront a web of secrets and lies.

As Ethan connects the dots, he uncovers the truth about the glass manufacturer where his father spent many years of his working life, and the unexpected connection it holds to the missing tourists.

With stunning visuals and an emotional storyline, “The Lost Germans” takes you on a journey of discovery and connects you with the power of serendipity. The film shows how a series of seemingly unrelated events can come together in the most unexpected ways and how, sometimes, the things that are meant to be, will find a way.

Danke und gute nacht.

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