Memories

Daddy’s Anger

My husband and I lived with our two babies at my father’s place. Our application to migrate to Australia had been successful and we were looking forward to soon be leaving old Germany. Since our fare to Australia was being paid for partly by the German government and partly by the Australian government, we had to pay only a minimal amount for the voyage. Even that was hard to come up with since we had absolutely no savings. So my father volunteered to help us out a bit.

As a matter of preparing for our departure, we were trying to get rid of a few things which we could not take along to Australia. We put an ad in the paper, thinking, if we could sell the baby cots and pram, it would mean an extra bit of money for us.

I had not anticipated my father’s reaction to this. My usually so placid and relaxed father blew his head, when he saw the ad. ‘Why didn’t you tell me, you needed more money?’ he screamed. ‘I would have given you more!’

‘Do you have no consideration at all for what people might think, when they realise, that my own daughter needs to sell things in order to acquire a bit of money? Don’t you think people might wonder why on earth I do not provide for my daughter? Have you thought about my reputation at all?’

‘People in my position normally hand those things over to charity. How dare you ask for money for anything like that!’ He just went on and on about it and got more and more excited. I started to get anxious the poor man might get a heart attack. My timid apologies did stay totally unnoticed until he had calmed down a bit. But once he had calmed down, the matter was forgotten. He never mentioned it again. And we never did sell any of the items. We just left everything behind in my father’s storeroom in the basement of the building where he lived.

6 thoughts on “Memories

  1. I guess there are issues that are largely generational. For you and Peter, there was nothing socially wrong or taboo about selling your belongings when you dont need them anymore. It’s also not as though your father would have much use for prams and baby cots unless he was starting another family. I guess he did not see your practical nature or he would have commended you for it. For his generation, the intention of selling was embarrassing and obviously seen as a reflection on his inability to provide. I can almost hear my own daughter as the voice of the new generation—-“this is not about you. So get over it.”

  2. Of course, my father had no use for all our stuff. I guess we could have given the things to charity rather than cluttering my father’s storage space. But somehow we didn’t get around to do it. Our departure was unexpectedly brought forward, because it turned out the ‘Straithaird hadn’t been completely booked out yet. By home delivered telegram we were advised, that we could already leave soon after Easter, when the younger baby was only five months old. We had been told, she needed to be at least six months old to board the ship. Somehow this rule wasn’t followed any more. We didn’t mind this at all! We were looking forward to a magnificent sea voyage to the land of our choice. Actually we had no idea the voyage would turn out to be extra special. It was more magnificent than we could ever have dreamed.

  3. Sounds like my dad too. 😆 Always stuck on propriety and what the neighbors would think if it seemed as if we weren’t cared for… How much we’ve changed and that we didn’t adopt those behaviors. Thankfully!

    1. Maybe we’re still stuck on propriety, just in a different way. Can you find examples? I think for instance about the way our children treat their children. Maybe a lot has to do with propriety too.
      Thinking back I believe we just shouldn’t have put this ad into the paper. It showed a disregard for Dad’s feelings. I just didn’t think about it how he would react. But I should have. After all he had opened his home to us. He had only a small flat. But he unquestionably shared it with us when we needed accomodation.
      My father came from a very conservative family. Not so my mother. I think this resulted in a lot of conflicts.
      My own children were raised quite differently. And so in adult life they all adopted totally different values. Some change may be good. However I feel as a parent some of the change is not really to our liking. Still we accept that in life every person has the right to make their own choices. In a loving relationship you show respect and tolerance, which of course can be difficult at times.
      Thanks, Eliz, for commenting. It’s much appreciated.

  4. What a fascinating peek into your early married years. Isn’t it funny how our elders can always set us on a different path much to our surprise? There are times that I too inadvertently “stepped in it” as it were. My elders were justifiably outraged and didn’t hesitate to tell me so. At times life is a bit of a minefield. but we survive. and you are right — we have our own hot buttons with the next generation, too. It is what helps to shape us all. and we are better women for it, right?

  5. Right. Thank you very much, dear Kate, for these insightful comments. We are already preparing for our departure to Melbourne early Friday morning. Tomorrow, Wednesday, we’re spending the day with two of our daughters in Sydney. So Christmas is getting really close now.

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