Saturday, February 13, 2010

Are you one of THOSE von Trapps?

Awhile back on Facebook, there was a message in my inbox from someone I’ve never met before, asking if I were related to the von Trapps from the Sound of Music, who escaped from Austria into Switzerland and I thought… SERIOUSLY?? Has it really all come to this?

I've become used to this question during face-to-face meetings pretty much every time I meet someone new. I’m fine with it. I mean, if I wasn’t, I would never have reverted back to my maiden name after getting divorced. In fact, I’ve become quite adept at answering the questions with grace. But this took things to new heights.

So did I answer the question? Sadly, no. In that moment, I was overcome by a sudden need to protect my privacy and deleted the message. In retrospect, I now question that move – did I once again pass up the opportunity for some shameless self promotion? I mean, if Julie Powell can achieve fame and fortune by cooking her way through Mastering the Art of French Cooking, then blogging about it, and Tucker Max can do the same by exploiting his debaucherous lifestyle, what’s stopping me? Maybe, just maybe, this is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been meaning to start a blog for a while. I was just waiting for the perfect topic. Was it right in front of me the whole time? Would readers really be interested in knowing what it’s like to grow up as “a von Trapp of Sound-of-Music fame? You tell me.

So, let’s start at the very beginning (a very good place to start, or so the story goes.….. sorry couldn’t resist that). Yes. I’m one of those von Trapps. My father was Rupert, eldest of the original seven children. But they didn’t escape from Austria into Switzerland. That was just for cinematic effect. Ever look at a map of Austria? When you climb the mountains near Salzburg, Germany is on the other side to the north, and more of Austria in the other three directions. What my father and his siblings did do is put on their hiking clothes, walk to the nearest train station, and hop a train to Italy for a hiking holiday.

So you’ve got questions? Go ahead, bring them on. I’m ready for you now! - F.v.T


  1. So the first time you saw the movie, were you able to understand that the pepole in it where supposed to be your relatives?

  2. Absolutely. My father took us for two weeks every summer to stay with his family at the Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe VT. I knew exactly what and who Sound of Music was about when I saw it for the first time. Since you brought it up, I think I'll write more about it in the next blog post.

  3. This could be fun, Francoise. I remember seeing the movie with your mom and dad, and then hearing your dad tell the real story. I think there would be a lot of interest in that story.

    There's much to tell in the story of the Rupert van Trapp family too. That amazing wedding, the polio, family gatherings--so many stories you can tell. Use your gift. It could turn into the definitive book!

  4. Oh my God Carol! I forgot you and Ron were there. It was the second movie I ever saw in the theater - a very exciting day...

  5. HI Francoise! Love your new blog and reading all the true information/facts. Always felt cool knowing you, a REAL von Trapp, but felt too weird asking you any questions! Keep writing and I'll keep reading!

  6. Hi Elizabeth! Thanks for the compliments. Sounds like a deal - I'll keep writing if you keep reading! And feel free to ask questions too, it gives me more to write about.

  7. Hi Francoise,

    This is a wonderful blog! As you may or may not recall, my reaction to your name was simply: how did you acquire a French given name (Vornahme) and German family name? (I actually was not willing to make the assumption that you would be of "Sound of Music" von Trapp descent!) But my thought in reading the blog is that there is indeed always some insight and illumination of the human condition somewhere in most families, and writing about it (by a good writer!) is an important contribution to society. So I hope you continue!

  8. Hi Jayna - Thanks for your support and encouragement! As long as people find the blog interesting, i'll continue to write - that is until I run out of stories!