Childhood Memories

The boys told me that Tomscik never shared his supper with you children,’ said Dad. It was June 1953. I was on a one week leave from FLEUROP and had used this, my very first vacation, to visit Dad in Düsseldorf.
‘Don’t worry, Dad,’ was my response. ‘We never wanted Herr Burghoff to act as our Dad. I thought it was perfectly all right that he bought ‘Abendbrot’ only for himself and Mum. At the time he was still studying and didn’t have much money. Maybe it would have been different had he already been employed in the Public Service.’
‘And what is this, that he wants to marry Mum?’ asked Dad. – ‘Well, it’s true, he wanted to marry her. You know, that as a Catholic he was not allowed to marry a divorced woman. That’s why they asked the Pope for special permission. It took a while, but they did get it in the end.’
‘Yea, by declaring the marriage invalid and my children bastards,’ screamed Dad.
‘I know, they established that she married under pressure of her mother and sister Ilse. They claim, she didn’t really know what she was getting into when she married you.’
Dad looked extremely upset. ‘That’s absolute nonsense!’ he shouted.
I felt very sorry for Dad. ‘Anyway, Dad, it seems Mum’s not going to marry him after all. Tante Ilse says so.’
‘And why would that be? What could possibly be a reason for not marrying him now?’
‘The reason? According to Tante Ilse there are several reasons. You know Herr Burghoff is now employed here in a town in the Rheinland. That is Mum would have to move away from Berlin, if she wanted to live with him. And you know what Mum’s like: She just does not want to leave Berlin!’ Dad nodded. He knew all about this: Mum had always refused to leave Berlin to live with him.
‘ And Tante Ilse told me something else. She said when Mum went to his new place for a visit, she noticed him praying a lot. At least twice a day he would fall on his knees praying in front of a statue. It was kind of acceptable for Mum to go with him to Sunday Mass in Berlin. But apparently she can’t stand all this praying at home. Tante Ilse thinks it was just too much for her to see him do this. Indeed, it must have been the straw that broke the camel’s back!’

6 thoughts on “Childhood Memories

  1. I had a good laugh about: But apparently she can’t stand all this praying at home. Tante Ilse thinks it was just too much for her to see him do this…. Your mom must have been quite fascinating! 🙂

  2. It’s quite apparent they had very different values sand beliefs. It would have been a disastrous marriage if it did go through. At least it was avoided in time.

    1. Mary-Ann, please see what I replied to the comment of Eliz.

      You may be interested to read the story about ‘the woman who jumped up for Jesse Owens’. Peter, my husband, wrote this story. I think it’s very believable and shows what Charlotte was like. After she decided not to marry her ‘Bambi’ (Tomscik alias Burghoff), she established herself in a council job and through very hard work till she turned 65 made the best of her life and her retirement.

      I agree with you that people with very different values and beliefs should not marry.

    1. Your comment, Munira, makes me think. Maybe there was some truth in their claim that they had only a ‘Tischgemeinschaft’, which means they had meals together but weren’t sleeping together!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s