What did I worry about during my growing up Years?

I turned 10 in 1944. My father returned from the war already in 1945, namely as soon as the war had ended. We stayed at grandmother’s place in Leipzig at the time. The time in Leipzig was for us children a good time with mum, dad and also grandmother and a cousin of ours.

However mum wanted to return to Berlin as soon as possible. So she left us just before I turned 11 and went to Berlin on her own to look after our apartment where she had only one room to herself. All the other rooms where occupied by people who had no where else to live.

April 1946 was the time when we children and dad moved to Berlin to stay with mum. By that time we had the apartment to ourselves. All the other lodgers had left. I had hopes then, April 1946 would be the start of a new family life for all of us. But this was not what was eventuating. My mother insisted that my father had to move away from Berlin. It was just not the right place for him, so she said. He moved to West Germany and wanted all of us to move too. But my mother refused to leave Berlin. She refused to give up the Berlin apartment. I did not like it at all that my parents separated.

The next few years I hardly ever saw my father. My father corresponded with me. However there was always tension, for my mother did not like my father to write to me. Father was seriously sick a lot of the time. For many years he was not able to get proper employment. His extended family supported him as much as possible. They had a hard time themselves, for they were refugees and living in extremely cramped conditions.

I think I still felt socially fairly content up to age 13 since everybody else had to catch up too after the war. I did not feel inferior to my friends. We were all in the same boat. Come to think of it, all this changed during my later teen years. They were not exactly happy ones. I think I missed some sort of family life. My thoughts were, I just had to put up with it until I was old enough to leave home, which only happened when I was 21!
My parents never lived together again. When I was 16, mum did get a divorce from Dad. I think for a long time during my growing up years I worried about both my parents.

I remember distinctly, that I believed at the time that World War Two had been the war to end all wars. That there would never be another war, this was a strong belief in me and made me look hopefully into the future. Except then came the ‘Cold War’. This, together with the nuclear threat, made me feel pretty concerned about the future. And this concern has multiplied now with increasing climate change . . .

Berlioz, my husband, published today a blog about what children worry about and especially what he experienced between the ages of 10 to 13. His blog prompted me to publish a bit about my growing up years after World War Two. Here is the link to the blog of Berlioz:

https://berlioz1935.wordpress.com/2019/12/17/what-children-worry-about-most/

11 thoughts on “What did I worry about during my growing up Years?

  1. This is a great post, Uta. Thanks for sharing. Those were hard times. I wonder if your father was ill a lot because of what he endured in the army. Most men return from war changed forever, if not physically, then in other less noticeable, but often more disturbing ways.

    I think we all thought WW2 was it. But they said that about WW1 too, I think. The war to end all wars. I guess humans just have to fight. All animals do. It’s just that other animals don’t wreck the world while they’re at it. I’ve been hearing about the horrendous fires in Australia. It’s all so frightening.

  2. Yes, Linda, these fires are getting worse and worse. It is frightening!
    Yes, and my father suffered a lot with bladder problems due to conditions in the army during the war.
    He died of cancer aged 62.
    Today we have some wind from the North. And so this hazardous smoke, that has been hanging around Sydney for a while now, has finally reached our area too. So far these megafires have not reached our coast yet. They are away from the coast out west in mostly bush areas. There is great concern that pretty soon these fires soon may cause enormous problems keeping them away from built-up areas. We have to keep all our windows and doors closed! The outside air is really, really bad!
    Thanks for commenting, dear Linda. Have a good Christmas and all the Best for the New Year with a lot of book sales! Love, Uta πŸ™‚

  3. In contrast, Uta…myself, born in 1951, while my parents and many returned service people in the district around us..and quite a few refugees from Europe…I wasn’t conscious of hardship or want…we were feral kids growing up under a broad, bright sky on the edge of the bright blue sea…the gullies and hills were our adventuire ground!…

    Maris Zalups.

    One of the lads I went to school with died about a year ago…of a heart attack, I am told. His name was Maris Zalups…Of course, we kids lazily condensed his Latvian surname to more suit our casualness and his happy easy-going nature to “Slopsy”….His brother’s name was Arrtis (sp?)…..too hard!…he got called : “Harry” (He too passed away just recently)….Harry grew from a gangling boy to a full-blown archetype “Viking Warrior” in both phiz and psyche!.. a body like “Conan the Warrior” and a voice like Barry White….he was much in demand by the “gentler sex”….we scowled in the corner of the local front-bar…but we scowled quietly!

    Their parents were escapees from a turmoiled Europe after the second world war…the father was a very good musician…before a very bad motorcycle and side-car accident….I remember him tirelessly trying to teach Harry the piano, and he succeeded..even against Harry’s wishes (too much sun..too much surf in Australia!)…there was a small bust of Ludwig van ‘ on the upright piano and Harry would everyday be there rolling out some turgid piece, with his father smoking a dour pipe whilst sitting in a teacher’s contemplate at the end of the keyboard. I remember once the father went out of the room to fill his pipe as Harry played…he had no sooner gone than the rebellious spirit grabbed the youth’s hands and a playful Jerry-Lee Lewis piece sprung from the keyboard….parents came running and Harry immediately fell back into the rhythm of the classical piece as if nothing had happened!

    Maris was a lost cause as far as artistic instruction went and his father left him alone and he, with all us adventurous kids would immediately make for the gully to swing from the trees like Tarzan, or wooden sticks in hands, make for the seaside sand-dunes ala Beau Geste!…we could always see Harry, finally released from Tchaikovsky, running toward us in frenetic glee!

    Their mother was an artist..with oils…she could often be seen UNDISTURBED! in a small side room off the shed painting away. I remember once..I must have been about nine or ten..chasing Harry through the house and we were pulled up in the lounge room where Mrs. Zalups had a lot of her framed paintings propped on the chairs there…She held us up ..”Boys, boys…stop!..I would like you to meet Mr….” of course, young boys are even less inclined to remember names than manners and we said hello to the grey-suited stranger standing there hat in hand and stolid standing…and then ran on. It was only many years later, whilst walking down Rundle Mall, past a Myers window display of a full-size photo cut-out of a man in a grey suit with several framed paintings of his on display that I recognised him as that same gentleman in Mrs. Zalup’s lounge-room ..and her introductory words came straight back to me..”Boys, boys..stop!..I would like you to meet Mr. Hans Heysen”.

    This is an important story…look at the players..Myself ;Italian / Irish..them Latvian..others in our group incl’ English, Dutch , German..and well..you know it…..AND…let us embrace the reality..: All Australian!

    This..is the Australia I vote for, not a mean-spirited polarising of one ethnic group against the other…for there is no one ethnic majority that can work this huge nation on it’s own…there never has been….This is the Labor objective I support..it’s motto, no less intense than us kids on a limb of a huge pine tree about to group-swing way out over the gully depths, all clasping onto the one many-knotted rope..: “One in -All in!”…..GO!… this is the spirit of the people who still stand united together around the “light on the hill”.

    1. This Australia that you describe, Joe, is the Australia that we experienced when arriving here in 1959. And this is the Australia that we love! At least half a dozen different origins are combined in our extensive offspring! For instance: German, Australian, English, Austrian, Italian, Ukranian, native Australian . . .

  4. I can say that my years between 6-15 were very happy years, We lived from 1950 at The Hague not far from the beach where I spent a lot of times with my friends. It all fell apart when my parents migrated in 1956. I lost my friends and the school and felt isolated in a desolate lonely suburb. It all came good when I left Australia a number of times and met my dearest wife from Finland, now she has gone. We had the best years ever in Sydney’s Balmain, then a farm and finally here in Bowral. We had ups and down but survived, and for the most part, surviving and thriving is what life is all about.

    1. It seems to me, Gerard, that you did all right. A life well lived. As migrants we all had ups and downs. But as you say, we survived and thrived. πŸ˜‰
      I feel, not only Australia, but really our whole planet, is in a deep crisis now because of this climate emergency and because of politicians’ unwillingness to do something about it. What future is there for our offspring?
      Maybe it is a matter of ‘what comes up comes down’.
      ‘Increase, increase, increase’ just has to stop!!

  5. This is powerful and important, Uta. Thank you for sharing how you felt as a child growing up.
    All children, of all times, have worried about things, but I can’t imagine being a child growing up in war times. 😦 And when parents are struggling as individuals or as a couple, the children suffer, too. 😦
    The future of the world always seem precarious, I guess. But, I always wish for children to be able to enjoy their lives today. And to have a good future ahead of them.
    HUGS to you and Peter!!! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you very much for your comment, dear Carolyn. πŸ™‚ I think it is so important that people cooperate with each other rather than fight each other. They say that love and hate can be close together. Well, I hate greed and selfishness. But I am sure there is still a lot of love among people and willingness to help each other. This is something that makes me feel so good! πŸ™‚ Maybe the most important thing for children is that they feel being loved! πŸ™‚
      HUGS to you and best wishes for a peaceful Christmas! πŸ™‚

      1. You’re welcome!
        I think you are right about all of that, Uta!
        As adults we must be the good examples in the lives of children. And, yes, children need to feel loved to be able to navigate the world.
        (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚ Same wishes for you and your family! πŸ™‚

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