Aunty Uta’s Memories 1943/44

CHILDHOOD MEMORIES

Towards the end of September 1943 we left Berlin to live in the country. We moved to a place called the ‘Ausbau’, which meant that eventually ‘more’ was to be added to the building.. It was a simple rectangular red brick complex with several entrances around the building. There was no plumbing or electricity. The entrance for us ‘Berliners’ was on the left side at the front of the building. We had a cellar, a groundfloor and two upper floors.

  Mum, my two younger brothers and I, shared a bedroom on the first upper floor. We also had a small kitchen and a living-room. I would sleep in the living-room when my dad came home on leave. Two maids, one Polish, the other Russian, shared two rooms on the top floor. All the rooms on the top floor had sloping ceilings. Our Polish maid was in her early twenties. Her name was Maria. She was very efficient and always rather serious.. The Todtenhausen Family, who lived on the groundfloor, employed Katja, the Russian maid, who was only eighteen and extremely fun loving.

   My mum’s sister, Aunty Ilse, also had her rooms on the first upper floor. She had a bedroom and a living-room. On the groundfloor, right underneath her upper rooms, she had a kitchen and a dining-room. She hardly ever used those downstairs rooms. Our friends from Berlin, the T. Family, occupied three rooms downstairs, namely a kitchen, a living-room and a bedroom, the same arrangement of rooms that we had on the upper floor.

   There was an additional larger room for storage under the sloping roof. T. Family and my Family stored in that room additional larger furniture which we wanted to save from the bombs in Berlin. — In that room Mum stored a lot of Boskop-apples during the cold season. They were neatly spread out on some straw. Come Christmas-time, other delicious food was also hidden somewhere amongst our stored furniture. It was very tempting for me to go exploring in that room! Mum noticed sometimes, that some food was missing. And I admitted, when questioned, that I had helped myself to some of the goodies. However I was never punished for doing such a thing. That shows, that Mum must have been quite tolerant. —

   On the same upper floor right under the roof was a playroom, which my brothers and I shared with eight year old Edith T. There was another room next to the playroom where Mrs. T.’s parents had stored some bedroom furniture. The parents were Mr. and Mrs. Braun. They had a business in Berlin. (They sometimes stayed at the ‘Ausbau’ in that bedroom in order to be with their family away from the bombs in Berlin.)

   Our toilets were “plumps-closets” some distance away from the house. Water for cooking and washing had to be fetched from a pump in the backyard. Fetching water from the pump kept both maids very busy indeed. For lights we had kerosine-lamps, for heating there were coal-fired stoves which could also be used for cooking. Everything was very basic.

   Gradually some changes were being made. The first big change was that our landlord had electricity laid on. All the workers who lived with their families in the other part of the building, received the benefit of electricity at the same time. This certainly was a very welcome improvement for them.

   The ‘Ausbau’ was built close to a dirt-track which meandered through wide open barley-, oat- and potato-fields. On the track it was a good half hour to walk to the next village. Bike-riding however made it a bit quicker.

   Werner Mann, the owner of all those fields that went on for miles and miles, was an acquaintance of Tante Ilse. He was apparently quite rich. He also owned extensive brick-works (Ziegeleien). It was said of him that he was a millionaire. He was our landlord, and he liked to spoil us. With no strings attached! Tante Ilse only had to voice a wish and Werner M. immediately did whatever he could to fulfill her wish. He spoilt us by constantly getting produce delivered to us: Potatoes, cabbage for making sauerkraut, wonderful treacle made of sweet-beets, and coal for our stoves.

   Even I, as a nine year old, could see that sixty year old Werner M. was hopelessly in love with Ilse. I also was quite aware, that she always kept him at a distance. He was happy to just be invited for ”Kaffee und Kuchen’ on weekends and to spend some time with all of us. He always came to visit on his bike. On his daily inspection tours of the workers in the fields he also went around on his bike. He owned coaches with horses, but hardly ever used those to go anywhere.

   When we were invited to his place (which people called ‘Schloss’), he would send the coach with a coachman to pick us up. Once in winter when there was plenty of snow, Werner M. sent a ‘Pferde-Schlitten’ (horse-drawn sledge). On this sledge we were wrapped up in blankets under a clear night-sky with the moon and lots of stars shining on us. It was unforgettable and one of the rare highlights in our otherwise pretty dreary country-life existence.

   The place where Werner M. lived, did not look like a castle at all, even though people called it ‘Schloss’. It was not even a mansion but a rather large, but fairly plain house. There was a huge, fenced in veggie garden next to the house. I have seen the veggie garden only once. However I was very impressed by it, because it seemed to be so very large.

   When we moved to the ‘Ausbau’, Ilse had already been divorced from Adolf Schlinke. It was obvious that Werner M. would have liked to marry Ilse. However, it never came to that. Ilse married Helmut Lorenz on July 20th, 1944.

                     CHILDHOOD MEMORIES CONTINUED

It was a big thrill for me to go exploring amongst the furniture in that big storage-room: and especially in the weeks before Christmas!

Mum used to store lot of goodies for the Christmas season. It was very exciting for me to find out what new things had been stored in that big room. I remember seeing huge chunks of nougat (a yummy hazelnut-paste) as well as heart-shaped marzipan-pieces. There was a pot with sweetened thick milk. Sometimes I dipped my finger into it to lick this wonderful sweet stuff! I also liked to eat a few of the stored raisins and prunes! Smells of ginger bread and apples: It made me feel that Christmas was something to be looking forward to.

Where on earth did Mum get all those things from? It was war-time, wasn’t it? We were in the midst of war! I knew very well where all this came from. The parents of Mrs.Todtenhausen had a distributing business. It was called ‘Backbedarf en Gros’. That meant they delivered goods to bakeries and cake-shops. Even in the midst of war deliveries of the above mentioned goods still took place! Of course there were shortages, but basically most things were still available.

Mr.T. and Mrs.T., as well as Tante Ilse and Mum were all good friends. Every Saturday night they came together for some card games. Eight year old daughter Edith and I were allowed to stay up late on those nights. For hours we were watching the adults playing cards and at the same time entertaining ourselves with doodling on bits of paper. At around ten o’clock some cake and hot chocolate as well as coffee would be served. But the maids did not have to do the serving, They were already in their rooms at this hour. The cake was usually freshly baked, very fluffy yeast cake topped with delicious butter-crumbs and filled with a thick custard. Hmm yummy!

Mr.T. would stay in Berlin during the week, where he was employed by his parents-in-law. Being over forty, he was not required to join the German army. Mr.T. always brought some sweet goodies along when he came home from Berlin for the weekend.

During the summer of 1944 Mr.T. and Mum liked to go on their bikes to a neighbouring Nursery where they were able to trade sweets for fresh produce. Edith and I were often allowed to go along with them on our bikes. The sweets were traded for strawberries or cherries or gooseberries as well as peaches and apricots, and later on in the year for pears and apples. I remember the Boskop apples were still in season in late autumn. The owner of the nursery was a well-off looking middle-aged woman who was very fond of sweets and loved to trade her produce. At one time we found out that she thought Mr.T. and Mum were a couple and we girls were sisters. Laughing joyfully, Mum and Mr.T. explained, that this was not so.

Only once as far as I remember were we shown into the lady’s home. Mr.T. made complimentary remarks about the interior of the house. He said it showed off the owner’s good taste. I liked the lady’s house a real lot too. Our families used to have well furnished apartments in Berlin. But this modern looking villa in the midst of the nursery really was something else. My feelings were I would very much like to live in a place like that. However we had to be happy with our accomodation in the Ausbau. To us children it was always pointed out, to be happy that we did not have to live amongst the bomb raids in Berlin. I’m pretty sure that by myself I felt that I’d rather live in Berlin, bomb-raids or not. I think to children bomb-raids usually didn’t seem as scary as to the adults. At the time we children had had no experience yet how absolutely horrible those bomb-raids could become.

In 1990, soon after the Fall of the Wall, I went with my family to have a look at the area where we used to be hidden away from the bomb-raids. We discovered that the nursery as well as the lady’s house had completely vanished. There was nothing left of the ‘Ausbau’ either!

In 1943, when we had lived at he ‘Ausbau’ for a couple of months, Mrs. T. delivered a healthy daughter in a regional hospital. The day after the baby was born, it may perhaps have been a Saturday or Sunday, Mr. T. and Edith went for the forty-five minute bike-ride to the Hospital. I was thrilled that I was allowed to go with them! The baby was on the tiny side and soon called Krümel (tiny crumb). Edith had a pet-name too. She was often called Honkepong.

As soon as Mrs.T. came home from hospital, there was a nurse waiting for her to take charge of the baby. Mr.T. said something like: “Katja is a very nice girl, but I would not trust her with our new born baby. I am glad that Nurse is here to help my wife to look after our Krümel.”

Nurse used for herself the bedroom next to our playroom. Sometimes she sat with us children in the playroom. Since Christmas was approaching, she taught us how to make some Christmas decorations. I was very impressed, because I was nine years old and nobody had ever taught me anything like it! Nurse also made sure, we learned our Christmas poems. We had to be prepared to recite them to Santa on Christmas Eve!

 Maria, our Polish maid, had been with us since before my little brother was born. He regarded Maria as his ‘Dah-dah’, that is he always called her ‘Dah-dah’. By the end of January 1945 we had to flee from the ‘Ausbau’ as the Russians were approaching fast. We went to Berlin first and then by train to Leipzig to stay at Grandmother’s place. Maria remained in Berlin with her Polish fiancee, who was a butcher.

 When we parted from Maria, little brother Peter-Uwe had just turned three. Yet he must have missed her for quite a while since she had always looked after him and I am sure, he loved her very much and she loved him. Mum always trusted Maria, who was in every way caring and efficient at the same time. Mum was always impressed how quickly Maria did all the house-work. Any dirty dishes were washed immediately. She was indeed capable of doing all the housework and Mum was happy to let her do just about everything. An exception was the baking of a large cake on Saturdays, which Mum loved to do herself.

Maria always made some potato-salad for the weekend. I watched how she did it. To the peeled and sliced potatoes she added finely cut onion, some oil, pepper and salt. Then she poured hot vinegar-water over the potatoes as a finishing touch. The huge salad-bowl was placed outside on a shelf near the stairway so the salad could cool down. I often helped myself to some of the warm salad when nobody was looking, because I loved to eat the salad when it was still a little bit warm. It was the same every Saturday. I watched Maria preparing the salad and placing it on the shelf outside. Then it did not take long before I had a good taste of it!

Friday night was the night for our bath. Maria placed a small tin-tub on the kitchen-floor. She carried several buckets of water from the outside pump to the kitchen. Some of the water she heated on the kitchen-stove in an especially huge pot. I was always the first one to use the bath-water, then it was brother Bodo’s turn. Little brother Peter-Uwe was always the last one. Some hot water was added for everyone, but still the water must have been quite dirty for little Peter after Bodo and I had had our baths!

When Maria first came to live with us, she knew very little German. However she was determined to learn German quickly. She liked to ask Bodo and me how to pronounce certain words. She also asked me how to write those words in German. Mum often praised Maria, that she was willing and able to learn quickly. This applied to everything she did. She was an amazingly efficient person. A ‘pearl of a maid’ people would say of her. Maria was a city girl. She came from Lodz, which was called ‘Litzmannstadt’ at the time. We had spent the summer-months of 1941 at Zokolniki (near Lodz) and that was when Maria was assigned to us as a help. Mum liked Maria and wanted her to come with us when we went back to Berlin. Maria told me later that she did not want to leave Poland. But she had not been given the choice to stay in her own country.

When Katja arrived, we could see that she was very different from Maria. She was a country-girl from Russia. She never learned German as well as Maria did. She could never be trusted to do all the house-work by herself. Mrs.Todtenhausen always had to supervise her and do certain things herself because Katja took too long to learn to do it properly. But we all loved Katja. She was always cheerful and full of beans. As a country-girl she did not know certain things that a city-girl had been brought up with. Maria took to instructing Kartja about certain things. I think they communicated in German. After they finished work in the evening, they had plenty of time to stay in their rooms together and keep each other company. Both girls always had to get up early. During summer, school-classes in the village started as early as seven o’clock. That meant, I had to get up at six o’clock to get ready for school. Mum never got up that early. But Maria always came down at six o’clock to start working for us. She often had to do Peter’s linen early in the morning, which I am sure was not one of her favourite tasks.

Once more remembering 1943/1944In “Childhood Memories”

Childhood Memories 1943/44In “Childhood Memories”

UTA’S DIARY, 20th January 2015 and Thoughts on the End of World War TwoIn “Childhood Memories”Edit”Aunty Uta’s Memories 1943/44″

Published by auntyuta

Auntie, Sister. Grandmother, Great-Grandmother, Mother and Wife of German Descent I’ve lived in Australia since 1959 together with my husband Peter. We have four children, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. I started blogging because I wanted to publish some of my childhood memories. I am blogging now also some of my other memories. I like to publish some photos too as well as a little bit of a diary from the present time. Occasionally I publish a story with a bit of fiction in it. Peter, my husband, is publishing some of his stories under berlioz1935.wordpress.com View all posts by auntyutaPublishedJuly 10, 2011

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9 thoughts on “Aunty Uta’s Memories 1943/44”

  1. auntyutaEditWith hubby’s help I managed last night to add some of the continuation of my memories 1943/1944. Over the past five years or so I saved quite a few pages of memory writing in Open Office. So far my writing is not very well organised and needs more editing. When I started with memory writing I did it hoping that maybe some of my grand-children and great-grand-children might be interested in reading it later on.Hubby and I joined a writers’ group for a number of years. When this stopped, I stopped writing since nobody seemed to be interested to read any new writing of mine on a regular basis. In the writers’ class we were given lots of encouragement by a qualified tutor! Recently I always found excuses why it wasn’t important to keep writing. Somehow there were constantly other things that took priority.I’m glad now that my niece encouraged me to try blogging.Reply
  2. muniraEditWhat an incredible story Aunty Uta. I loved reading every word. Somehow, listening to or reading someone’s stories of the past is so much better and that much more evocative compared to a history book. I felt transported to a different world as I read this post.
    I’m glad you started blogging. It’s very commendable and your memories are amazingly vivid.Reply
  3. auntyutaEditThank you very much, dear Munira. Your reply made my day. I started reading some of your blogs and enjoyed them very much. Blogging for sure opens different worlds for us, doesn’t it? I try to read as much as possible. I loved it that you included old family pictures. I hope that some day in the not so distant future I may manage to add some of my old family pictures. I’m going on 77 and there’s still so much to learn. Yet I have to try to take it easy. I have to accept that certain things take longer as you get older. When I change trains at Central Station in Sydney for instance it takes me much longer to proceed along the stairways than most other people. I JUST HAVE TO TAKE IT A BIT SLOWER THAN ALL THE YOUNGER PEOPLE: And that’s it. As long as I can manage a little bit, it’s better than nothing.I enjoy my life.I can honestly say I am grateful for every day that’s still given to me.Reply
  4. Pingback: Looking up Aunty Uta’s Childhood Memories « auntyuta Edit
  5. WordsFallFromMyEyesEditSending a coach to pick you up! Makes you sound so old, but you’re not that old…. the world’s progressing so FAST, really.Great memories, Aunty Uta. Precious, really. I feel without memory, well, I would feel I had not even existed, I imagine.Reply
    1. auntyutaEditHi Noeleen, I love it when you go to my earlier writings. It’s a great thrill for me that you like to look these things up.
      Well, in the 1940s, when I was a kid, there weren’t many cars around yet. In the country we had no public transport. Usually we went on our bikes or walked. Werner M was a very rich man in his sixties. He didn’t own a car and thought nothing of it to use his bike to get from A to B same as any other ordinary citizen.
      As I remember it, horses were still being used for different sorts of transport and for farmwork.
      I imagine in the 1940s you weren’t born yet, dear Noeleen. True, what I write about my childhood goes a long way back. I wonder whether any of my descendants are ever going to read some of my stuff that I’ve written!Reply
      1. WordsFallFromMyEyesEditI wish your descendants would read you, Aunty Uta, as I strongly believe knowing where people “came from” (circumstances, life, family, and physical) is really valuable in our understanding of now today. Also our appreciation of today, mind.I bet having a bike was special 🙂
  6. auntyutaEditI am amazed how self sufficient we were as kids. We were able to do maintenance to our bikes like fixing holes in the tubes! 🙂Reply
  7. auntyutaEditReblogged this on auntyuta and commented:This post goes back to my earliest blogging days. I tried to find whether I reblogged it before, but could not find it anywhere. It might be of interest to some of my followers. This is, why I reblog it now.

A Sunny Sunday in Sydney

I copied this Blog now with Pictures!

auntyutaDiary  March 12, 2012 1 Minute

We arrived at 10,30 am at Martin Place station to meet Angie and Roy at 11 am. We walked along Macquarie Street to their hotel and Peter took some pictures along the way. When we arrived at the hotel they offered us refreshments straightaway. And we soon got into talking amiably.

Later on we had Japanese lunch with them at the Opera House. The sky had cleared for the day. In beautiful sunshine we walked up to the Opera House. Peter took some pictures. When my lunch arrived Peter took a picture of that too. I had ordered a vegetarian roll. It looked beautiful with the avocado on top and cut up in small pieces. Somehow I managed to eat all this with chopsticks! I spiced every piece with soy sauce, horseradish and ginger. Delicious! The others had ordered something with fish. They all commented that my dish looked much more colourful.

After lunch we walked through the Botanical Gardens and Peter took some more pictures. By 2 pm we were back in Macquarie Street where Angie and Roy were staying at the InterContinental.They had tickets for a concert for later in the afternoon at the Opera House. So it worked out well that they could have a little rest before going out again. Peter and I wanted to catch our train back home from Martin Place. We had had a lovely day with two people we had never met before. But some of Angie’s family are known to us. They all were emailed some photos of yesterday’s meeting. One of Angie’s sisters, who lives in England, already emailed back saying she and her husband were planning to travel to Melbourne next year to see their two sons there and meet other family members. It’s such a small world! Peter worked out that a lot of the descendents of his paternal grandparents already live in Australia.

Angie and Roy travel today, Monday, to South Australia and to the Barossa Valley. They stay in Australia for two weeks only. During this time they also plan to fly to Alice Springs (to see ULURU), as well as to Cairns and from there back home to America. I think in Sydney they had had only three days.

The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon 1890

https://www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au/collection/works/898/

On the way to see the Queen of Sheba we also saw this picture:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Wallaby_Track

On the wallaby track
Frederick McCubbin - On the wallaby track - Google Art Project.jpg
Artist Frederick McCubbin
Year 1896
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions 122.0 cm × 223.5 cm (48.0 in × 88.0 in)
Location Art Gallery of New South WalesSydney

On the wallaby track is a 1896 painting by the Australian artist Frederick McCubbin. The painting depicts an itinerant family; a woman with her child on her lap and a man boiling a billy for tea. The painting’s name comes from the colloquial Australian term “On the wallaby track” used to describe itinerant rural workers or “swagmen” moving from place to place for work.[1] The work has been described as “among the best known and most popularly admired of Australian paintings”.[1]

A print of it hangs above our bed. Since we have prints of both of these paintings we are very familar with them and are always overjoyed when we are able to see them again at the Gallery.

This year it was a very brief visit of us to the Art Gallery. But it was worth it. It was very good that our daughter could take us there.

Our Visit to the Art Gallery of NSW

Our daughter took us to the Art Gallery on the 4th of July this year. On the pictures, that Caroline took, you can see that I now ‘advanced’ to a walker! My walker is actually a ‘rollator’ and has wheels so it can be pushed. I can walk very well with it. Gives me some kind of balance. The good thing is that this rollator can be folded and fits into the back of the car.
In Google it says: “Do I Need a Walker or Rolling Walker? Walkers are needed for a myriad of reasons. If you experience shortness of breath, arthritic pain, or can’t walk and carry objects at the same time. If you are afraid of falling, being alone and becoming socially isolated, you may need a walker.”
I must say the reasons why a Walker is needed, do all apply to me, all of them! To buy such a thing was really an excellent decision for me. Now I can go out on daily walks without having to be scared of falling and also being able to take a rest whenever I feel getting out of breath.
Without Caroline’s help we probably would not have made it to the Gallery on that day. We stayed with Caroline and Matthew in Sydney from Friday night to Saturday on that weekend. It was great to spend some time with them. But we observed ‘social distancing’ with them as much as possible!
Caroline and Matthew live in Marrickville. Peter did drive there from Dapto and back the next day. It is good that for the time being he still has his license for because of the virus we would not like to go on public transport.
Caroline offered to drive us to the Gallery, this is why it was not a problem to get there. Also, we stayed there only for a very limited time. Caroline was able to park right in front of the Gallery, which was lucky.
The above mentioned pictures Caroline sent me in an email. But sorry, so far I was not able to transfer them from the email to this blog. Maybe I can do this another time.
I published here an update from the Gallery regarding Covid-19:

Our Daughter Gaby in three Pictures

Acceptance, Resilience and Strength!
Today we remember our daughter Gaby. On this day eight years ago we received the sad news of her passing from this life to Eternity. We are still sad that she is gone, but I don’t think we are grieving anymore. She mastered her life in a great way. A while ago I saw someone on TV saying that a disabled person needs three things to make a go of her or his life: acceptance, resilience and strength. Gaby had buckets of it. In the words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, we are responsible for the climate around us. She lived her own life and created a climate around her in which so many people felt they are in the presence of a remarkable person. She had accepted the conditions of her life and had the resilience and strength to act accordingly.
Look at her face in the first picture it is very mischievous.
In the second photo, she is not even one year old but showing already signs of her outward-looking and inquiring mind.
The third picture was taken after a great night out with a friend of hers.
In all three pictures, there is nothing sad about it. We are so happy that we were able to share our life with her. We still love her so much. RIP Papa and Mama
Peter wrote the above today. Here are the three pictures:
PS: When the last picture was taken, Gaby was already close to her 55th birthday!
I think in the first picture she is 50 years . . . .

With Love from Gaby, Dave, Bonnie & Clyde

This is a copy of what I published July 12, 2014. I did try to reblog it but this time this did not work. This is why I copied the whole lot. It does bring back memories!

img287

Gaby came down with poliomyelitis on her fourth birthday. That was in 1961. When she was 32, in 1989, she left institutional care and moved into her own home in Merrylands West, a Western suburb of Sydney. David (Dave) became her full time carer. But as a quadriplegic with breathing difficulties who needed to sleep in an iron lung, she needed several people to come in on a daily basis to look after her diverse needs.

Anyhow, Gaby was happy to leave the home for disabled people and move into her own home. 40 year old David did for nearly twenty years a marvellous job in doing whatever he could for Gaby. But in the end his health deteriorated more and more. It became impossible for him to the the things for Gaby he would normally have to do as her carer. It was a rather sad situation. Gaby knew that David needed help but she did not know how to provide this for him.

Gaby and David both loved animals. Soon after moving in Gaby acquired a companion dog provided by the people who train dogs for blind people. Dave liked that dog too. They called her Bonnie. A cat named Clyde became Bonnie’s companion. Gaby just adored her animals. They were like her children. She always saw to it that they had everything they needed.

Gaby with Bonnie
Gaby with Bonnie

Gaby with Clyde
Gaby with Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde in front of the gas heater
Bonnie and Clyde in front of the gas heater

img288

Bonnie is being spoiled!
Bonnie is being spoiled!

I happen to have still a Christmas card from Gaby and Dave with a calendar for 1998 in it. The card came with a book: A Tolstoy biography by A.N. Wilson, first published in Great Britain in 1988. This is a great reference book and a great read. Gaby chose this book for me as a Christmas gift. She did choose very well. She always took great care to choose gifts for all the family for birthdays and for Christmas. Of course her funds were limited. So she always looked for bargains. Quite often her choices were astoundingly good.

This is the outside of the card.
This is the outside of the Christmas card.

And this is the inside of it.
And this is the inside of it.

Gaby moved her electric chair with her chin, she used her mouth stick for phone and computer.
Gaby moved her electric chair with her chin, she used her mouth stick for phone and computer.

Here she looks like having grown up a bit more.
Here she looks like having grown up a bit more.

Here she is in her bedroom getting ready for the day.
Here she is in her bedroom getting ready for the day.

After Gaby lost Clyde, she did get a new kitten.
After Gaby lost Clyde, she did get a new kitten.

Blackie, the kitten, grew into this.
Blackie, the kitten, grew into this.

Gaby is having fun seeing Father Christmas.
Gaby is having fun seeing Father Christmas.

Sadly Gaby lost Bonnie. She was lucky that after some time she was given a replacement dog which she called ‘Honey’.  Honey was quite skinny at first but soon filled out a bit.

Gaby can celebrate Christmas 2003 with companion dog Honey.
Gaby can celebrate Christmas 2003 with companion dog Honey.

COVID-19 threat to Karla Grant’s mother

https://www.sbs.com.au/nitv/article/2020/03/30/its-upsetting-my-mum-there-covid-19-threat-karla-grants-mother

Karla Grant’s mother Elizabeth lives at the aged care facility in Sydney, where four elderly residents have passed away after contracting coronavirus. Karla shares how she juggled reporting on this virus, while her mother is in a lockdown and facing the grave risk of infection.
 By: Karla Grant
30 MAR 2020 – 2:49 PM  UPDATED 8 MAY 2020

At the same time, I have been out in the Redfern community investigating coronavirus or COVID-19, for a special Living Black episode that goes to air tonight.

The strain of juggling personal concerns, with the weight of information I learn on the job has been quite a challenge. On occasions the pressure has bought tears to my eyes.

Karla Grant with her three children and mother.

Karla Grant with her mother Elizabeth and three children, Lowanna, John (left) and Dylan (right).
Source: Karla Grant

This virus has halted life as we know it. It has touched all our lives, at home and work.

At my workplace, virtually everyone at NITV is either working on COVID-19 related content, or they are having to adjust ‘business as usual’ to accommodate COVID-19.

With incredible support from my colleagues, I have carried on working as normally as I can muster under these strained circumstances. The toll has been emotionally and physically draining.

My team and I have all discussed the risks we face of catching COVID-19 while filming and editing this Living Black episode.

We’re all mindful, we are putting our lives at risk in order to produce this story. We all have families at home.

Driving us on is the need to report on how the Indigenous community is being impacted by this killer virus. Our people and communities need to know the seriousness of the crisis and what precautions they need to take to keep themselves, their families and their Elders safe.

I am forever grateful to my team for their dedication, for risking their lives to produce this important episode.

I only hope this special episode on COVID-19 sheds light on the dangers of the virus, how it is impacting the world and most importantly, our own backyard.

And while the last week and a half has tested me, I smiled on the final day of shooting.

I was lucky enough to see my Mum and hear her say ‘I love you Karla’.

It was from a distance, in line with social distancing of course, but it was the most moving and touching moment to see the smile on my Mum’s face, to talk to her and to know that she is doing okay.

For me, distance does make the heart grow fonder.

 

Watch Living Black – Covid19 Special on SBS On Demand. 

 

If you believe you may have contracted the virus, call your doctor, don’t visit, or contact the national Coronavirus Health Information Hotline on 1800 020 080.
If you are struggling to breathe or experiencing a medical emergency, call 000.
Coronavirus symptoms can range from mild illness to pneumonia, according to the Federal Government’s website, and can include a fever, coughing, sore throat, fatigue and shortness of breath.

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Some Copies of what I published in December 2011

Christmas

Following is something I wrote in November 2007. It sounds like I could have written this today, only now I am four years older!

Time is running out . . . .

At age seventy-three, how much time do I have left? With every year time seems to be getting more precious. Whatever I still want to do in life, I should be doing it soon, very soon. There is no need to panic. It is just this feeling in me that I ought not to waste time; in other words, I should make the best use of it I possibly can. Making time for reflections as I do right now, I do not regard this as a waste of time. It nourishes my soul, it makes me look forward to spend the day in a productive way. There are the Christmas preparations to consider. How can I keep them to a minimum with that special Christmas Spirit in mind? Some spiritual songs usually help me along to get into the mood. Even in shopping centres the odd Christmas song can bring about temporary elation, a feeling of peace and comfort in a buzzing shopping centre! And even if this sort of mood happens only for brief moments while doing the shopping , it is still appreciated and helps to cope with the mad commercialism that surrounds us everywhere.

The special food at Christmas I like very much. On the other hand I hate it, if food is being wasted. I rather have not too much food of everything. How awful, if food has to be thrown out because we cannot keep it fresh enough in the Australian heat once it leaves the fridge. There may be one and a half dozen people at our family gathering. People bring food along. I would like to keep the food that I am going to provide to a strict minimum. Unfortunately I know already that this is an impossibility at Christmas time! I suppose I’ll just have to grin and bear it. I am determined to make the most of the Christmas Spirit where-ever I may come across it and enjoy the closeness of family and friends. Indeed I am looking forward to a Joyful and Happy Christmas. I did not always feel joyful and happy at Christmas time: There are some happy memories about Christmas, but there are also some very unhappy ones . . . . May the truly happy hours at Christmas time be plentiful and greatly outnumber the sad and lonely hours! This is what I wish for everyone.

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.

Out of last Year’s Files

The following is an edited version of what I wrote about a year ago. I was reflecting on what Mum was like during my early childhood years. I was also reflecting on the way women and men communicate with each other.

 

MY MOTHER

Mum doted on me. I was her first born child. I am sure I got a lot of attention during the first years of my life, and not just from Mum, but also from her sister Ilse, who had no children of her own. Later on I realised that my mother would very much have loved to have a daughter in her image. What a disappointment it must have been for her that I was in a lot of ways the exact opposite of her! Maybe I did not like to be a girl. I think I wished very much to have been a boy. Girlish things just did not interest me one bit!

On the ninth of June 1938, when I was not quite four yet, I was very excited about the arrival of a baby brother. In August 1939 Mum left us children in the care of our live-in home-help. Why did Mum leave? I remember a phone-call from Mum’s sister who was holidaying in Westerland on the Island of Sylt. I imagine Aunty would have said something like this:

‘Please join me, I am so lonely on that island here, I don’t like to have to spend all the time with that pretentious mother-in-law. She watches me like a hawk! Please, please, come, spend some time with me. It would be so good to have you around here! We can have such a lovely time together. And listen, I’m going to pay for your airfare. You can stay in my room with me. Mother-in-law is in the connecting room.’

Mum promised her sister, she’d fly to Westerland the same day. She was quite excited about this. In her excitement she forgot to ring Dad’s office to let him know about her plans. Or did she deliberately not ring him because she sensed that he would have objections to her leaving. I remember when Dad came home he was furious when he found out that Mum had taken off to join her sister and left us children in the care of an eighteen year old home-help! I believe Mum stayed in Westerland for a whole week. When she returned, she talked excitedly about how she had been spending time with her sister in Westerland.  Come night-time they waited till Auntie’s mother-in-law was fast asleep, pretending they were going to sleep too. However as soon as they thought the old lady was fast asleep, they escaped through their bedroom window and went dancing. I remember seeing pictures of them that were taken on the dance-floor. They had already acquired a nice brown tan from having spent time on the beach. I remember looking at the photos and seeing how very brown their faces looked in sharp contrast to their white dresses. Two young marine officers, smartly dressed in their uniforms, could be seen with them. Later I found out, that one of the officers was Helmut Lorenz who six years later became Aunty’s second husband after her divorce from the first one. And the other officer was no other than Max Tomscick, who after the war became Mum’s friend and whom she would call ‘Bambie’.

I cannot recall that having to stay without Mum for a week did cause us any hardship. So the young home-help must have coped quite adequately. When Baby Brother was about a year old he developed a skin condition called ‘Milch-Schorf’. He was not allowed to drink milk then. When he was a bit older, he could drink milk again.

Mum’s third child, also a boy, was born during the war in October 1941. We had a Polish maid at the time, who soon cared for the new baby as though he was her own. She became his ‘Dada’. She was the main contact person for the first three years of his life. This second brother became a very happy and contented child, whereas the first brother was always highly sensitive and suffering from Asthma through most of his childhood. In lots of ways Mum was a tremendously caring mother. I remember her being always very concerned when Bodo had his Asthma attacks. He outgrew his Asthma eventually, but maybe he never had a close relationship with any of the various live in home-helps we used to have. I think he had a close relationship with me, his older sister, for the first few years of his life and later on with Peter Uwe, his younger brother. My father, when he was around, would pay a lot of attention to us children. But I suspect, Bodo, being very sensitive, noticed that he did not get as much attention as I did or later on Peter Uwe, the new baby in the family. Bodo failed to establish a long lasting relationship with a woman later on in life.

 

 

TALKING TO WOMEN AND TALKING TO MEN

Women talking to women is easy, uncomplicated; there is no pretence. The women are just being themselves. Unless of course one woman in the group happens to be very dominant with an abundance of male hormones. When there are several such women in the group, there may be constant fighting for dominant positions. As soon as a male person enters a women’s group, the mood in the group tends to change . . . .

My experience is, that I get on very well with women if the talk centres on womanly things. Of course women tend to discuss also certain male issues from a woman’s point of view. Which is fine with me, and I enjoy participating.

However I ask myself, why is it, that subjects, on which I have formed my own opinions, which are not necessarily mainstream, I rather discuss with a sympathetic man than with a woman? Somehow I get the feeling, it is easier to discuss such a subject with a man, if the man happens to be  interested in such a subject. I often get a better response to my ideas if I open up to a man.

Naturally the number of men who are interested in discussions about philosophical questions is limited. It would be a bliss for me, if I had opportunities to meet such men on a regular basis.

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/05/2nd-sunday-of-advent-2011/

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/05/afternoon-of-2nd-of-advent-2011/

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/04/handels-messiah/

I wrote on the 4th of December 2011:

Yesterday,  Handel’s MESSIAH was performed in the Wollongong Town Hall.  We went there with Caroline and Matthew. The Soprano was Siobhan Patrick, Caroline’s friend, who has been performing professionally for 20 years.

Peter is not religious. But he loves music like this. The text to the music is taken from the bible. It starts with:

THE PEOPLE OF GOD AWAIT THE COMING OF THE MESSIAH, THE REDEEMER IS BORN, CHRIST BEGINS HIS MINISTRY

In Part 2 comes:

CHRIST SUFFERS FOR HIS PEOPLE

I felt weepy when they sang:

He was despised (Alto) . . . .

All that see him laugh him to scorn (Tenor)

Later on:

THE GOSPEL IS PREACHED,  DISCORD ENSUES,  BUT THE LORD GOD REIGNS OVER ALL

The Soprano sang in a very lovely voice: How beautiful are the feet of those . . . .

Then the Bass: Why do the nations so furiously rage together?

And after that the Hallelujah Chorus

Part 3  . . . . THE FAITHFUL SING PRAISE TO THE REDEEMER

I know that my redeemer liveth – Soprano

Since by man came death – Chorus

Behold, I tell you a mystery – Bass

The trumpet shall sound – Bass

Then shall be brought to pass – Alto

O death, where is thy sting? – Alto and Tenor

If God be for us – Soprano

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain. Amen – Chorus

 

It was a truely memorable performance!

 

 

Today is the Twins’ Birthday!

Twin's Birthday 2011
Troy with Grandma

And this is Ryan with Grandma
And this is Ryan with Grandma

Today, 27th June, 2020, is the twins’ birthday! Happy Birthday Troy and Ryan! 🙂
HUGS from Grandma and Grandpa 🙂

These pictures were taken on the twins birthday in June of 2011.

The twins’ birthday pics were taken just a few days before I started blogging. My profile pic that I still use, was cropped from that birthday pic where you can see me with Troy.”

When the boys were kids they were often together with our daughter Caroline. So Caroline is in these pictures here too. The boys loved to call her “aunty Caroline” just for fun. But she really is their aunty. Unbelievable! Sometimes people thought the three of them were triplets. However we had to explain then, that Caroline is more than six months older!

T one

T three

T four

T five

So the above pictures are of Troy, Ryan and Caroline when they were kids!

Here is a link to my blog from 2013:

https://auntyuta.com/2013/06/18/the-twins-birthday-this-month/

 

Diary of June 2020 with pictures

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Fried Herring Fillets in spicy Marinade. A real treat! With a few boiled potatoes it is a delicious meal! And I believe it is quite healthy too. We are always happy, when these herring fillets are available at ALDI’s. We did have a meal like this just recently.

So, what other pictures from this month can I add? I just had a look at some of the pictures that I took not so long ago. A lot of them did not turn out very well. But I try to find a few that are not too bad.

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This one is really from last month from Peter’s birthday. I probably had not published it yet. Despite Coronavirus restrictions we had two family groups over for a visit. Peter and I tried to keep ourselves separate!

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For lunch on Peter’s birthday we had Caroline and Matthew over. Well, all these are pictures are still from last month. Now I have to try to find some pictures from this month!

We were happy that this month we had our son Martin staying with us for a few days. He did a lot of terrific garden work for us. Luckily, he seems to love working in the garden!

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I think we had this for breakfast with Martin

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Martin planted some groundcover plants at the front of the house and he created a bit of a pathway to the electricity box. He also did quite a bit of work at the back of the house, but I regret to say, I have no good photos of it yet. I’ll look into it next month. The seeds of some of the vegies, that he did sow out, are already sprouting a little bit! So I should take some pictures of them soon.

During June we had also some repair work done to our house. A very nice young man was recommended to us. He did quite a bit of work for us around the house, and all this at a reasonable price! He also did a very good job outside where we needed a retaining wall to the neighbouring property. Then he introduced us to some people that can do some landscaping work for us. This is a work in progress!

Some time this month we drove to Kiama Harbour for a beautiful fish meal. We had to eat it standing up eating outside for there were still severe restrictions as far as people sitting in the same room too close together. But the perch tasted as good as ever. I had already my walker. I am very fond of this walking aid. I think it was a good buy. Helps to get me along a real lot!