The other day I came across some notes I made about some conversations in our
family towards the end of summer of 1974 when Gaby was sixteen, Monika fifteen, Martin close to fourteen, Peter close to thirty-nine and I also thirty-nine.
ONE AFTERNOON IN FEBRUARY 1974
Gaby, my daughter, sits close to the open door in her wheelchair. Peter, her father, helps her to sort out her record-club order.
I take notes of the following conversation. I am outside close to the open door and I am stretched out on the lawn under a large umbrella.
Gaby: I should’ve written on that form ‘please hurry’. Gee, I’m glad I’m going to get that record at last. Will you put all this away now, please?
Peter: Wie, das willste auch aufheben? Das ist doch nur Reklame, Menschenskind!
What, you’re going to keep that too? These are only adds, for heaven’s sake!
Gaby: I keep everything from the record-club.
Peter: So, wo kommt das hin? So, where does this go?
Gaby: Right at the back of the folder. It’s nice paper, isn’t it?
Gaby: That’s the second record I’ve ordered. Are they going to send me a receipt?
Peter: No, das ist covered. The balance is going to show it. Kommt das hier rin?
Gaby: No, it goes into the blue folder.
Son Martin comes up the ramp. He carries his school-case., greets me with ‘Hi, Mum’, enters the house. A little later daughter Monika follows, also with school- case and saying ‘Hi, Mum!’ I say ‘Hi, Martin! Hi, Monika!’ As Martin enters the
house, Peter and Gaby are still deep in conversation.
Peter: Martin, was sagt man denn, wenn man hier hereinkommt? — Good-day!
What do you say when you come in here? — Good-day!
Martin: You were talking.
Monika says ‘Hi’ as she enters. And Peter says: ‘Hallo, Monika!’
A bit later Peter and Martin talk with Gaby about her school-certificate.
Martin: That bit of scrap-paper, is that all you’ve got?
Peter: Mehr braucht se doch nicht. Das ist das certificate.
She doesn’t need anything else. This is the certificate.
Martin: Actually you shouldn’t have passed since you didn’t work right through
Peter: Hat se gut gearbeitet, hat se auch bestanden.
Oh, she worked well, that’s how she passed.
Martin: But she didn’t arbeite gut. She didn’t work well.
Peter: Nun lass man gut sein. Sie hat schon gut gearbeitet.
Now leave her alone. She did work quite well.
A bit later
Monika: Gee, it’s hot! Pat and Donna are coming in a minute. They want a lift over to
Warilla Grove. Who’s going to take us to Warilla Grove? It’s late already, you
(calling from outside)
Uta: Papa’s going to take you!
Monika: Better hurry up!
Gaby: Papa, don’t forget to mail my record-order! The letter-box gets emptied soon!
Peter: Wann musst Du auf der Arbeit sein, Monika?
When do you have to be at work, Monika?
Monika: We have to leave within the next five or ten minutes.
Peter: Ich fahre erst tanken. I go to get some petrol first.
Peter leaves in a hurry.
Pat and Donna come up the ramp. Monika greets them and goes inside with them.
I hear a terrible noise from the neighbours’ backyard: One of their sons goes on his mini-bike round and round in the backyard.
A bit later Wayne comes up the ramp. He carries a beach-towel.
Uta: Hi, Wayne! Do you want to go to the pool with Martin?
Uta: Best thing you can do in this weather!
Wayne enters the house. Peter returns from getting petrol. Soon after he leaves with Monika, Pat and Donna in the car. (At Warilla Grove Monika is going to get some training at the Woolworths cash register.)
Martin and Wayne leave for the pool. The mini-bike has stopped making
noise. I enter the house.
Gaby: Heh, Mama, you have to buy some food today, don’t you?
Uta: That’s right.
Gaby: When are you going?
Gaby: Better go before five thirty.
Uta: Yes, I’ll do that.
Gaby: How much money have you got?
Uta: I don’t know.
(A bit later.)
Gaby: Mama, can you move my left foot? (I do it.)
Can I go on the Pfanne when Papa gets back?
Uta: Yes, sure.
(She means when Peter gets back, she wants him to lie her on her bed, so that I can put her on her bed-pan.)
Gaby: Can I have a Vitamin C tablet?
I give her one. There’s some more noise from the mini-bike. Peter
Peter: I just remembered, I forgot to post your letter.
Gaby: God, how could you forget! — Can you post the letter, Mama? You have to go now because the letter-box gets emptied soon.
Peter: Mensch, ist mir warm! My goodness, I feel so hot and sweatty!
Uta: Willst Du nicht zum Pool gehen? Martin ist mit Wayne zum Pool
gegangen. Wouldn’t you like to go to the swimming pool? Martin did go
to the pool with Waine.
Peter: Ich bin schon ewig nicht am Pool gewesen. It’s been ages since I went
to the pool.
Uta: Ein bisschen Schwimmen würde Dir gut tun. A bit of swimming would be
good for you!
Apparently Gaby wants her letter posted before she goes to the toilet.
I get ready to post the letter and do some shopping. The mini-bike makes
an awful lot of noise again.