1957 – 1960

I will remember forever an especial fun trip. You were about 3 or 4 years old. I wanted to take you to my favourite vacation spot Babe on the island Ruegen. I was able to get a room in the the house I valued very much. But you did not enjoy traveling. You did not complain but you promptly got diarrhea and a fever. Much to the “enjoyment” of the landlord I decorated the yard every day with freshly washed sheets. When you got even worse I paid a fee, and we broke off the vacation to go home. During the four hour train ride home my daughter started to improve by the minute. When father picked us up at the train station in Berlin, and took you in his arms, you laughed happily. Already next day you sat quiet and content busily in your sandbox.

Since at the age of 4 you were already able to read the clock, and we wanted to deter you from early reading and math we had you start piano lessons with Christel Mueller-Huells. It went surprisingly well, and she was happy with you. Unfortunately our fleeing from East Germany interrupted your lessons, and you were only able to start back up for a few years later on. You enjoyed the lessons with Elizabeth Hoffman but not with her husband Arthur. Too bad. You had talent, and it was unfortunate that you stopped. You also played the recorder. Today you don’t play any instrument at all.

I also interrupted music lessons in my youth. But I had no talent. Today I would give an arm if I could play the piano. Only for myself. I think it would make me happy.

I also would love to speak English. But I have no talent for languages. If I am honest, I am overall not very talented and not all that smart. Father is the smarter one.

I had stopped teaching since I got pregnant. But I would have liked to make some money. One of our friends advised “with your voice – go to the radio”. I promptly went to the radio station and was given homework. Prepare for 5 minutes News, 5 minutes Concert Announcement and 5 minutes Sports.

I prepared carefully, recorded myself, made some improvements, let my friends listen and everybody thought I did great.

Then came my appointment. A mass of young people around me. Young actors who needed the work desperately. If one of them made it I don’t know.

When I was seated in the studio and started speaking I noticed right away that something was not right. I kept hearing a hissing sound. After a few minutes I was asked to stop. They were very sorry but I had a problem pronouncing the “S”. I knew that in my youth I has lisped. I thought I had overcome that. I must have looked pretty stricken because I was assured that most people could not pronounce the S properly. Half of the actors had to work strenuously to correct that fault.

So that was the end of my radio career. Later I got an editor position with a children’s book publisher. It was a satisfying job. Best of all I could work from home on commission. I got between 200 and 500 Marks per book. Sometimes I hoped for more but overall it was satisfying work.

Our friends back then were the Menge family, the Matthias family and the Kuechlers. We met up often. We took turns or just met up spontaneously. We got along well and were a pretty happy bunch. We also were friends with family Piech. Gudrun-Beate is 3 month older than you.

All friends from my side. Kurt did not contribute any friends. Father spoke of friends from school and from the war. But when I asked about them he always said they had died in the war or moved away. Today I think he never had any real friends. He was always a loner.

I remember something. There was a trip you enjoyed. Berkenbrueck. You loved the house and the huge yard. In the summer we walked to the river Spree where Irmchen and I swam while you sat and played on the shore. We always went for at least two day to Berkenbrueck. When father had to travel, like to Leipzig for the business expo, then we stayed a week. I was happy that you enjoyed your time there, so I could enjoy my time with my friend.

Annemarie was very busy at that time with her two small boys. She had to fight for them since her and her Kurt had non-compatible Rhesus factors. Every pregnancy was chancy. So when she had her boys she lived only for them. They are grateful to her today. Both are married each with two children. But they spend almost every weekend with their parents. I have never seen a family this tight. A rare case. I am happy for Kurt and Annemarie.


NEXT: 1960


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