Archive | February, 2012

A Story set in the Year 2017

29 Feb

Uta in a Hostel in 2017
(An imaginary Story)

Uta awoke at five o’clock in the morning. She sat down at her computer intending to write a bit more about her life. She reflected it had been some time since she had written anything. She wondered why she found it so difficult to get into the mood for writing.
When her husband was still sleeping next to her, she would sometimes sneak away early in the morning to do some work at the computer. Quite often he would wake up soon after and come looking for her. Finding her, he would say in an irritated voice: ‘What do you have to get up this early for?’ More often then not she then went back to bed with him.
Uta thought she should enjoy writing early in the morning since she could do it now without having to worry about interruptions. Instead she thought back to when her husband was still alive. How they always found time to talk about a lot of things. When he read an interesting book, he would tell her all about it. She would do the same, if something that she had been reading, had fascinated her.
Who was there to discuss things with now, she thought to herself as she looked at his photo, that stood in front of her on the table. Uta lived with another forty people in a hostel. She was friendly with a lot of them. But none of them had the same interests that she had. Most of the TV programs they watched, did not interest her. And none of the residents would take an interest in the books that she read.
Today was Wednesday. This meant Martha was to come visiting her. As always they were to play Scrabble. They both loved to play this game. Uta was going to tell Martha about Lily Brett’s novel, that she had just finished reading. It was called: ‘You gotta have Balls!’ Uta knew that Martha had read the book already. So they would discuss it together. Uta thought it was good, to be able to talk with someone about a book she had enjoyed reading very much. Martha usually arrived at the hostel around nine o’clock and stayed with Uta till lunch.
Reflecting on all the residents, Uta thought, it was such a pity, that she did not have more in common with them. Uta still loved to talk to all of them. But it was mostly small-talk. And it was mostly about the newest sickness that one or the other resident had come up with.
Uta was eighty-two years old. There were a lot of residents younger than her. However their interest in life was extremely limited. This was so sad. A lot of the residents liked to talk about the past, about the families they had had; they constantly complained that these days they had seldom any visitors. There were even some residents who never did get any family visiting them!
People were so grateful when you sat down and listened to them for a while. Often they responded with a lovely smile, being happy someone showed an interest in what they wanted to talk about. Uta was very fond of all these people who would respond with a smile. It warmed her heart. She was so happy, that most of the residents seemed to like her. Even the few really grumpy residents seemed to like her a bit. These grumpy residents could not help being grumpy, she thought.
Uta contemplated how lucky she was, to live in a comfortable room with her own toilet facilities. She also had her own TV set, radio and of course her computer. To reach the dining-room, she had to walk down a long passageway to a connecting building. All meals were served in the dining-room.
Not far from Uta’s room was a large lounge-room.The hostel was situated at the top of a hill. This East facing lounge-room had magnificent large windows. With the morning sun coming in, you could see all the way to the Pacific ocean. Plenty of comfortable big chairs were placed around the room. There were also a number of tables with four smaller chairs to each table. Uta and Martha usually played Scrabble sitting at one of these tables. To finish three games of Scrabble took them only about two hours. Around ten o’clock they had a tea-break. Uta loved to make cups of tea in the little kitchen adjoining the lounge-room. The staff served tea at the other end of the hostel in the comfortable room next to the dining-room. Sometimes Uta went down there for her morning tea.
There were laundry rooms in two different parts of the hostel with a number of washing machines and dryers. Uta felt fortunate, that she was still able to do her own washing. But she knew, if she was struck by a sickness, the staff would willingly do the washing for her. She never had to do her bedlinen. That was seen to by the hostel staff. The hostel also provided cleaning personal to clean all the rooms. Uta’s room would usually be cleaned Tuesdays.
A lot of the residents did not like the food that was being served at the hostel. They complained day in day out how horrible the food was. Uta thought to herself it was splendid that three cooked meals were being served every day. She usually did eat everything that was served, except for the meat, because she did not like to eat a lot of meat; never had liked it.
Uta looked at the clock and saw it was already past seven o’clock. So she had missed the seven o’clock news on TV. Instead of the TV she turned on the radio: ABC Classic FM. The room was bathed in some exquisitely soothing music. She loved this music. Taking another look at Peter’s photo, she was reminded, how much Peter had loved music like this.
Slowly, Uta got ready to get showered and dressed . She had not written anything, instead she had spent the time just thinking about her life. At ten to eight she arrived at the dining-room. Breakfast was to be served at eight.

Two Photos of Eva 1990 and 2000

29 Feb

The first photo was probably taken shortly after Eva moved into the hostel.

The second photo was taken by a waitress who offered to take our photo while we were waiting for our coffee.
Eva is in the photo 88 and I am 65.

My Friend Eva

29 Feb

My Friend Eva

I did get to know her when I was forty and Eva was sixty-three. She died thirty years later. I was able to keep in touch with her right to the end. When Eva was nearly eighty, she moved to a hostel. Before that she had lived at home with her estranged husband and had frequent bouts of depression. She had wanted to separate from her husband for a long time. Her husband didn’t want to let her go. He also prevented her from getting an age pension. For years and years she was stranded not being able to buy anything for herself.

Finally, through the intervention of a caring social worker, she was able to get her age pension. Another caring person, namely a Catholic sister, who lived in the neighborhood, saw to it that she could move into the hostel. She was nearly eighty at the time.

For many years I visited Eva in her home. Whenever I visited we played several games of Scrabble. Even when Eva was in a depressive state, she always loved to play Scrabble! Once she had some pension money, she developed an interest in shopping again. When I took her out for a bit of shopping, she also liked to have a cup of coffee with me in a shopping center. Sometimes I took her to my place for some games of Scrabble and to have lunch with me and Peter.

After having moved to the hostel, Eva liked to be taken for visits to a hairdresser. She also started choosing with great care what to wear for the day. It was really important to her to look good! Sometimes I took her with me to visit some friends of mine. They were all fond of Eva. I was her confidante. I think I was probably the only person she liked to open up to. I saw her only about once a week or once a fortnight. She always liked to spend a few minutes to let me know what had been going on with her since I last saw her. She also never forgot to inquire about me and my family.

The hostel provided for outings in their community bus. In the beginning Eva had been keen on going to all these outings. However, as she got older she lost interest in it. There came a time when she just didn’t want to go out anymore. Even with me she wanted to go out less and less. She still liked playing Scrabble though whenever I visited her. I think it was when Eva was about ninety when she started losing interest in playing Scrabble. However right to the end she was always looking forward to my visits.

Eva died in 2005. I was seventy at the time. In 2007 I wrote an imaaginary story about my being in a hostel as an eighty-two year old. In five years from now I will be eighty-two! Hopefully my husband is still going to be alive by then and I won’t have the need for a place in a hostel. But what if? I plan on publishing this imaginary story that I wrote five years ago. I also have some photos of Eva. Maybe a couple of these I can soon publish as well.

CHRISTMAS EVE 1946

26 Feb

This is how I remember our Christmas Eve in 1946. I was twelve years old, my brothers were five and eight years.

We were already in the big living-room. All the candles on the large Christmas Tree were lit. We children were about to look at all the Christmas gifts which were spread out on the festively decorated tables. This was when the doorbell rang. I think we thought this might be Uncle Peter.

Tante Ilse went to open the front door. It was not Uncle Peter, but my father! Yes, Oleg of all people stood there, probably with a big smile on his face. This would have given Tante Ilse some kind of a shock, for my father had not been expected at all.

Then Oleg probably asked: “Aren’t you going to invite me in?” My mother and my grandma went to have a look, wanting to know, what was going on. Soon they all shouted: “You are not coming in here! You are not coming in here.” Was this my mother who screamed 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 see you here!”

I think I heard my father say something like this:

“What, you want to deny me spending Christmas with my children? What kind of a plot is this?” It did not take the three women very long to start pushing the ‘intruder’ to make him leave. Did I not hear later on someone say that grandma went as far as hitting Oleg with her fists! However, Uncle Peter did come up the stairs eventually and found Alexander (Oleg)standing in front of the entrance door in shabby clothes, with two shabby suitcases beside him. Maybe the three women were still having a go at him to make him leave.

Uncle Peter probably would have told the women to stop it immediately. Uncle Peter for sure would have been the right person to get the women to calm down somewhat with just a few words, saying they should let Alexander explain the situation. It ended with Uncle Peter suggesting that Alexander should stay with Ilse and him for the night. And then maybe Charlotte would be willing to let him see the children the following morning.

My father would have reluctantly agreed to this. Tante Ilse and Uncle Peter only had to cross the road to take my father up to their apartment.

Back in the ‘Weihnachts-Zimmer’ Mum said: “Let’s forget the disruption. After all, it’s Christmas Eve tonight. We do not want our Christmas celebrations to be getting spoiled.”

I think I was a bit afraid then for everyone, but especially for my eight year old brother Bodo, who was such a sensitive little guy. And I am sure I was afraid for my father that not being allowed to see his children on Christmas Eve, might really bring him down. And I asked myself how on earth was I going to cope with celebrating under such circumstances? That Christmas Eve I felt very miserable. I thought,what enjoyment is there in Christmas gifts, when I am not even allowed to see my dad?

The following day Mum refuses to see Dad. However we children are allowed to see Dad the next morning at Tante Ilse’s place. To finally be allowed to see Dad was the best Christmas gift for me!

A Short Story

26 Feb

My Aunty got off the boat and hugged me. She said, she was to give me money for staying at my place. I said that I did not want any money. But she insisted that I had to take the money. To me this was very embarrassing.

And then I stood in the Mall and watched as dozens of shoppers came out of the Two-Dollar-Shop with packets of rubber bands in their hands. I thought to myself, if this goes on, the sale of rubber bands was about to quadruple in Dapto.

When Hubby came towards me, he gave me a great big chocolate Easter Bunny as a gift. It was not, what I had expected, thinking that it was Valentine’s Day today. Holding the Easter Bunny I opened the door and stepped back. There she was again, my Aunty who had just got off the boat. Waving a bunch of banknotes in her hand, she said: “Here take it! Take it! They’re for you!”

I couldn’t believe it that she still wanted to give me money. I thought to myself, may the Lord have mercy on me, but I cannot take this money. It’s not the money, it’s the principle of the thing. Why doesn’t Aunty understand this?

In desperation I woke up and remembered that Aunty had died ages ago. She never did come on that boat to visit me. It was just a dream.

Mecklenburg-Vorpommern 2010

19 Feb

Peter and I are looking forward to visit Mecklenburg-Vorpommern again this year. Last time we were there in 2010 we took lots of pictures. It is an area a bit north of Berlin and stretches right to the Baltic Sea. Not many people live there. There’s a lot of wooded area, lakes, creeks and canals. On these waterways you can travel to Berlin or up north to the open sea.

My brother lives in this area with his wife. So during our trip later in the year we’re going to visit them again. I’m sure we going to love it the same as last time. Fpr most of the time we’ll be staying in Berlin though. I’m sure I’ll be able to blog many interesting pictures from Berlin as well.

Today I just want to blog a few of our landscape pictures. Watch out there are plenty more to come some other day!

Uta’s Birthday 1940

19 Feb

In 1940 I turned six, brother Bodo was a cute two. I was allowed to invite all my friends to a birthday party, boys and girls. I was so fond of all of them. The older girls were both ten. One is my cousin Sigrid, the other my friend Sieglinde. I think Sieglinde’s brother, who is also in the picture, is only eight. The younger girl with the huge bow on top of her head is five year old Eva. (I mentioned her a lot in my blogs.) Apart from little Bodo there are adorable Jürgen and very friendly Heinz in the picture, who both lived in the same building where we lived. There was a huge chestnut-tree opposite, which still stands now. It grew a lot more over the years. I believe it is about as high as the surrounding five story houses!

In the photos we are gathered under this tree and also in front of one of the sides of our house. Tante Ilse’s gift to me for my birthday were two Käthe-Kruse-Puppen, a boy and a girl. Of course they had to be in the pictures too. And of course Mum took all the photos which she always did on our birthdays.

About two years later during summer we had a dressing up party. Mum took a picture of us on Tante Ilse’s balcony. I think my brother Bodo looks lovely in the picture dressed up in long pants. I wear one of Mum’s dresses. Friend Eva is in the centre of the picture. The lovely young lady in the long dress is my sixteen year old cousin Renata. My friend Sieglinde on the right side is twelve and friend Inge with the blond hair probably ten. I think I wouldn’t have remembered the dressing up party if I hadn’t this picture. Pictures like these are truly a great memory boost!