I grew up in Compton, California, in a large working-class family. My parents, whose educations and parenting skill far outstripped their circumstances, raised six children on a dime. A full scholarship took me to Stanford for a B.A. in English literature and a minor in German. My husband (also from Compton) and I moved to New Orleans where among other things we published an “underground” newspaper. A Fulbright grant brought us and our young daughter to West Berlin for nine months. Unlike West Berlin, we are still here. Our son, the family’s only native Berliner, lives in San Francisco. I earned an M.A. degree in Philosophy, Comparative Literature and North American Studies at Berlin’s Freie Universität in its turbulent years, then commuted to Stanford for my doctoral degree in German Studies. I have directed Stanford’s Berlin campus, developing both the academic program and the site, historic Haus Cramer, since 1979. In 2002 I was awarded the National Cross of the Order of Merit (Bundesverdienstkreuz am Bande) for engagement in cultural diplomacy (US/German and East/West German). In addition to academic articles, I have published literary texts in both languages across a range of genres (fiction, essays, poetry, and a musical libretto). Being deeply hybrid, cognitive dissonance provides the precondition for my kind of coherence: class (in fluid registers), roots (German to American and back again over, now, four generations), religion (hailing from Black Forest Pietists and pioneer-era Mormons to live a post-theism of my own design). My preferred afflictions include cello-playing, horses, cats – and mermaids in the visual vernacular of a Kantian aesthetic.