Memories from EASTER 1954.
I was nineteen and a half!
Mum belonged to a theatre subscription group. The members were mainly elderly. For Easter 1954 this group had organised a bus-tour to Paris. Mum did not want to go and asked me, could I go instead. I agreed.
The distance Berlin – Paris is about the same as Sydney – Melbourne. However we did not drive straight through to Paris but had an overnight stop on the way, even though there were two busdrivers. On the way back, which was Easter Monday, the busdrivers had to go straight through, arriving in Berlin late at night.
The Paris accomodation for two nights was at Montmartre. I had to share the room with three elderly ladies. Not only that, I had to share a double bed with one of the women! The organisers apologised because of this. For the following night they had found another room for me: I was shifted to a different hotel to share a twin bedroom with our travel-hostess from Berlin who was an attractive woman in her twenties.
During the day a young French guide had shown us around. There was also a young woman who acted as interpreter. I saw a lot of Paris in the company of the two French guides and our two busdrivers.On top of this there was a young man from Berlin who had come on the bus with us. We called him ‘Bubie’. He was twenty and about to be apprenticed with a company in London. So he was quite an interesting young guy. However, I thought he was a bit full of himself. Typical of me to be so critical! In Paris and on the bus though he was good company for me. The old people soon started making comments such as: ‘Oh, quite soon an engagement might be taking place.’
On the night when I was supposed to share the room with our young tour-guide from Berlin, we had all been out dancing until the early morning hours. When I arrived at the door to my room, the door was locked. I knocked and knocked. Nobody opened. One of the busdrivers, who had been out with all of us, suggested to come to the busdrivers’ room which happened to be in the same hotel. I said this was out of the question. I wanted to be let into my room!! Busdriver-boy said: ‘She may have somebody with her in the room!’ I said I didn’t care if she had a lover-boy in there or not. I wanted to get into my bed!! After more and more knocking and a long, long wait in front of the room the door opened. Yes, indeed a lover-boy had been in the room with my room-mate. Lover-boy disappeared then. I was finally let into the room and into my untouched bed.
As a matter of fact only one of the busdrivers had been out dancing with our party. The other, a bit older one, had dutifully gone to bed quite early and was fit the next morning for the long busdrive back to Berlin. He wouldn’t let the younger one drive much. He must have been under the impression that the guy hadn’t had enough rest and was feeling rather tired!
Karl, my friend, had remembered the day and time when I would arrive back in Berlin. It was after 10 pm and he was waiting at the bus-stop with his bike ready to take me home. My little suitcase fitted on the back of his bike. I fitted at the front. Off we went. He was a smoker. The best thing he could think of to give me before we parted was one of his cigarettes. This was when we were not in front of my house but just around the corner. I smoked a bit of the cigarette telling him that I had had a good time in Paris. Then I left him. He had been surprised that my mum had not thought of meeting me at the bus-stop. As it turned out, Mum was not even there when I arrived home: She was at her friend’s place. I went back to work the following morning.