CHRISTMAS EVE 1946

26 Feb

Uta and her brothers are already in the big living-room. All the candles on the large Christmastree have been lit and the children are about to look at all the Christmas gifts which are spread out on the festively decorated tables. The doorbell rings. Probably Uncle Peter, this is what everyone thinks.
Elsa opens the front door. It’s not Uncle Peter, she’s facing. No, not Uncle Peter, but Oleg. Yes, Oleg of all people stands there with a big smile on his face. Elsa is shocked.
“Aren’t you going to invite me in?” comes Oleg’s voice. Elsa doesn’t know how to react. Here are Charlotte and Grandma coming to the door. It doesn’t take them long before they shout in unison: “You are not coming in here! You are not coming in here.” And then Charlote screams at the top of her voice: “Who do you think you are to come here uninvited disturbing our peace? Get lost quickly before the children get wind of the whole situation.”
Oleg does not believe he is hearing right. “What, you want to deny me to spend Christmas with my children? What kind of a plot is this?” he says. The women soon realise Oleg is not willing to leave. Grandma starts pushing Oleg to make him respond to their demands. Charlotte and Elsa join in the pushing. Grandma goes as far as hitting Oleg with her fists. At this moment Uncle Peter comes up the stairs. He cannot believe his eyes, what he is seeing. There in front of the entrance door stands Alexander in shabby clothes, two shabby suitcases right beside him, and all three women having a go at the poor guy.
Peter calls out to the women to stop it immediately and enquires of Oleg, what is going on. The women do not want to let Oleg talk, but Peter calms them down with just a few words. He says, they should let Alexander explain the situation. After a bit of talking with Alexander Peter suggests he may stay with him and Elsa until Charlotte has calmed down. Alexander agrees reluctantly. He stresses how much he had been looking forward to see his children! So Peter assures Alexander that he can see the children tomorrow.
Elsa and Peter leave with Alexander. They only have to cross the road to take Alexander up to their apartment. Charlotte and Grandma turn to continue with Christmas Eve celebrations. Cousin Renate and the children are concerned. “I heard Dad’s voice,” says Uta. “Why isn’t he allowed to come in?”
Mum says: “Let’s forget the disruption. After all, it’s Christmas Eve tonight. We do not want our Christmas celebrations getting spoiled.”
Hearing this, Uta fears for everyone, especially for her brother Bodo, who is so sensitive. And she fears for her father. Not being allowed to see his children on Christmas Eve, might really bring him down. She fears for herself. How is she going to cope with celebrating under such circumstances? She feels, that Christmas Eve is only there to make people feel miserable. What enjoyment is there in Christmas gifts, when you are not even allowed to see your dad? she thinks. She’s quite sure this is going to be the most miserable Christmas ever.
The following day Charlotte refuses to see her husband. However the children are allowed to see their Dad the next morning at Aunty Elsa’s place. Uta feels to finally be allowed to see her Dad is the very best Christmas gift!

2 Responses to “CHRISTMAS EVE 1946”

  1. island traveler February 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    I kind of felt sad reading your past Christmas story. This words made my chest feel heavy, “Uta feels to finally be allowed to see her Dad is the very best Christmas gift!” Christmas is about being with families. It doesn’t matter is we have material gifts or not. But somewhere in the world, a parent can’t be with her child or vice versa because of different cruel reasons. Thanks for taking courage in telling a moving story. I missed 8 Christmas events with my parents and siblings since I relocated to the U.S. It’s a painful price to pay for a dream and I know I’m not the only one who feels something is missing every Christmas. God bless you my friend.

  2. auntyuta February 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    Dear IT, thanks for your sympathy.It’s true, I felt really awful back then when my Dad wasn’t allowed to share Christmas Eve with us. He had lived in West-Germany at the time and had made a tremendous effort to come to Berlin for the Festive Season. My Mum just didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. He came unanounced. I think it was a total surprise for everyone that he all of a sudden turned up. Grandma didn’t want to have to do anything with him either because he was down on his luck. She thought we were better off without him.
    In this terrible situation it was a blessing that Aunty Elsa and Uncle Peter acted differently. It taught me a lot about how important a mediator can be in people’s lives.

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