Summer 1953

Fräulein Kubis was one of our lodgers. She was in her fifties, worked in an office and had never been married. Come Saturday afternoon, an elderly gentleman friend of hers would arrive for afternoon tea in her room. I think he never stayed for more than a couple of hours. Mum would call Fräulein Kubis ‘an old spinster’. She looked to me kind of bland, actually a bit like a mouse.

Fräulein Schröder was our other lodger. She was the most sophisticated lady I had ever come across. She was in her early twenties. She bleached her hair to a wonderful blond shade. The colour reminded me of cornfields. She came from a country town, had four younger brothers and sisters, who once came along for a brief visit. However none of her siblings seemed to be approaching her good looks.

I always called her ‘Fräulein Schröder’. She liked that, because she was of the opinion it would help to keep the relationship on a respectful footing. Fräulein Kubis called me Fräulein Uta, but Fräulein Schröder wanted to call me just Uta. However, she insisted, that she would address me with ‘Sie’ rather than with the more familiar ‘Du’. Fräulein Schröder was about seven years my senior. Through all the years that she lived in our apartment, she was always a very reliable friend to me. I could turn to her with any kind of problem. She listened to me patiently and gave me good advice, whenever I asked for it.

Before Fräulein Schröder moved in, she talked to Mum and explained, that she had a man-friend, who was often away on business. However, when he was in Berlin, he would like to stay with Fräulein Schröder over night. So she asked Mum, whether she would mind that. Since Mum had already met Herr W and judged him to be a ‘respectable gentleman’, Mum had no objections to the liaison.

Herr W often had to travel to Western Germany. In fact he frequently stopped in Düsseldorf to stay at his house there. When he heard, that my father also lived in Düsseldorf and that I wanted to visit him, he offered to take me along in his car. It so happened that after six months work at FLEUROP I was able to take my one week summer holiday. So with Mum’s blessings I went off with Mr.W to visit my father. Only, when we arrived in Düsseldorf, my father was not home. His land-lady had not been told, that I would arrive. She had no idea, whether my father had made arrangements for my staying with him. She was very doubtful whether it was proper, to let me in, especially since Mr.W offered, to put me up in one of the spare-rooms in his house. He said, his house-keeper would look after me. So I accepted the kind offer of Mr. W.

Mr.W’s elderly house-keeper had expected him and had prepared some delicious Klops (Meatballs) with Capers for the evening meal. Of course, she had not expected me to appear. However, there were enough Klops for me too. And a nice bed to sleep in! Mr.W knew that I did not want him to come close to me. Obediently he stayed away. I must say, his behaviour was that of a perfect gentleman.

My father had rented a very large, sunny room in a one story family home, which belonged to two ladies. One was elderly, the other, her daughter, looked to be in her thirties. Once the younger lady happened to enter the café where my father and I were having refreshments. My father invited her over and she sat down at our table and ordered coffee. Later on, when my father asked for the bill, the lady gave him the money for her coffee. Naturally my father objected and pointed out that she had been invited. She did not want to hear of it. She insisted to pay for the coffee herself. She said:

‘I’m an independent woman. I don’t want any man to pay for what I consume. Thank you very much, but I really feel better if you let me pay for my coffee.’ I thought by myself how very different from my mother this woman was. —

As it turned out, the old landlady was very caring and so was her daughter. When they found out, that my father had no bed for me but wanted to let me sleep on a mattress on the floor, they both objected. They straight away offered to let me sleep on a sofa in one of the living-rooms. They made up a very comfortable bed for me on that sofa. — The ladies always called my father very respectfully ‘Herr Doctor’.

The government had established my father on one of the floors of a modern, highrise office building. Dad introduced me to his secretary, Frau Kusche. I had the feeling, she was really pleased to meet the daughter of her boss. For lunch Dad met me in the office-canteen where excellent subsidised meals could be had. Instead of a beer to go with the meal my father ordered apple-juice for me. For me to have a drink like that was pure luxury. In those days I had not yet acquired a taste for beer. I said: ‘Daddy, I love this apple-juice very much!’ Saying this, Dad’s face lit up in a big smile. He wanted me to have a good time. He was pleased that a glass of apple-juice could make me happy.

When Herr W drove back to Berlin with me, he made a comment about my father’s lodgings. He said something like: ‘Your father knows how to pick a good place for himself!’ And when later on Dad moved into his own modern brand new flat, he said, ‘The government sure knows how to look after their Public Servants!’ I am sure, he did not mean it to sound nasty.

I knew that Fräulein Schröder was sometimes invited to spend time with some of Herr W’s family, who had a large family home in Berlin. Apparently no-one in the family had any nasty thoughts about Fräulein Schröder. How could they? She was such a kind and considerate person. On top of that she looked always classy in simple but very tasteful outfits which showed off her slender figure. I asked her: ‘Is Herr W not thinking of marrying you?’ And she said: ‘No, he can’t because he is married. His wife has been in a convalescing home for many years. He visits her as often as possible.’ And Mr. W? He pitied Fräulein Schröder that she had ended up being stuck with him. He said: ‘She should have a large family by now. Maybe to marry a park ranger would have been good for her.’

That night when I ended up sleeping in Mr. W’s house, he behaved – as I said – in a perfectly gentleman like manner. I am sure, Fräulein Schröder would have mentioned to him, that a year ago, at the age of seventeen, I had had an unhappy love affair, but that recently I had fallen in love with another young man. He probably also knew that I was totally inexperienced as far as a relationship with an older men was concerned.

In the car on the way to Düsseldorf he threw around some phrases such as that men were like bees who could fly from flower to flower. In a philosophical way this made kind of sense to me. However I myself certainly would not see myself as one of these flowers! So I already had made up my mind: No hanky panky with me, old buster! In due time he made a pass at me anyway or what I understood could have been a pass. We had had dinner in the kitchen while the house-keeper was serving us and talking to Mr. W about affairs that had to do with the housekeeping.

Experience must have taught W that a lady could alsways change her mind, if e.g. she felt very attracted and found it hard to resist the man’s advances.. Gallant Mr. W certainly would have regarded himself as being attractive to ladies. On the other hand, that he should find me attractive, flattered me in some way. However I had no intention of having an affair with him. As I said, I had already made up my mind.

After dinner he asked me into the living-room. I stood beside him as he put a record on. As soon as the music played, he lifted his arms to embrace me. Instinctively, I shrank away from him. I excused myself claiming to be very tired. I wished him a good night. I went to bed and it did not take me long to go to sleep. End of story.

A Job at last

A Job at last

Mum had been caught buying bread for us in the Eastern Sector of Berlin. For this offence the GDR Authorities put her into jail. When she came back home after having been incarcerated for about a week, she was full of beans. She regarded it as a big joke, that she had been jailed for buying a loaf of bread for her children!

The GDR law was that West-Berliners were not allowed to buy anything with East-Marks. In East-Berlin there were special shops for West-Berliners, were they could buy everything with West-Marks. One West-Mark was worth four East-Marks.. This was the official exchange rate! It was therefore very tempting for Mum to change her West-Marks into East-Marks and go shopping in the Eastern Sector as though she was a DDR citizen. Bad luck, that she was caught doing so. She did not feel guilty for trying to buy some low priced food for her children. Wouldn’t any mother do that?

Be that as it may, my brothers and I had to cope for one week without Mum. Tante Ilse, Mum’s sister, who lived across the road, saw to it that we were doing all right. Her husband, Uncle Peter, thought it was hilarious, that our Mum was in jail. He said: “What if somebody asks me ‘and how is your sister-in-law?’ shall I answer, ‘oh, she just happens to be in jail for a little while’ ?” For Uncle Peter it was somehow unimaginable, that anyone in his family should end up in jail. It was something just never heard of.

It so happens, that during Mum’s absence I did get my job at the FLEUROP Clearing House in Lichterfelde. The Boss, Herr Liebach, was not concerned that I wanted to leave Commercial College before doing final exams.

He said: “To me it is not important, whether you did the exams or whether you’ve done any University study. There are some University students who would be absolutely useless in our line of business. I judge myself, whether a person can be trained to do the sort of work that is required here. For instance, if someone is moving very slowly and takes ages to get a certain file from the shelf, for a person like that I have no use whatsoever. If you start here, you start from the bottom. You have to go through all the different departments, so that you are well aware of what everyone does. Then my secretary is going to start giving you dictations. If you’re good in stenography and typing and are able to produce business-letters ready for posting, you may end up here as a stenographer/typist.

He went on: ‘The first three months are a trial period. You start with a monthly salary of sixty Deutschmark. If you do well, your salary goes up a little each month. After the trial period you may get the chance to be fully employed with a fourteen months salary per year. The two months extra salary are for Christmas and for your two weeks holidays.Later on you may get three weeks holidays per year. We have a forty-eight hour week, working from 7,30 am to 4,45 pm. Saturdays we finish at one o’clock

When Tante Ilse heard about the low starting salary, she was up in arms. ‘What is that?’ she said. ‘This guy wants to pay you so little? You know what is on his mind? He wants to get you into bed! This is what he is after, I tell you.’

Good Tante Ilse. I don’t know what got into her. I was sure, Herr Liebach wasn’t like this. And the low salary, I didn’t mind that at all, as long as I could start there and did get some training along the way.

However when Mum was back home and heard I was only going to get sixty Mark monthly, she said immediately that I could not work for so little, because I would have to give her thirty Mark monthly. This was how much she got as student support for me as long as I went to school. She depended on this money. I said I was definitely going to give her these thirty Marks. ‘And what about train-fare?’ Mum said. ‘You need money for the S-Bahn when you have to go to Licherfelde!’ – ‘Never mind, Mum,’ I said, ‘I can pay for that out of my salary too. Most likely my salary’s going to go up soon anyway. So don’t worry. I really want to have this job.’

Uta’s Birthday 1940

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!

Berlin – Paris Return

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.

When I was Fourteen

Das Mädchen mit der schönen Figur
(The Girl with the Beautiful Figure)

Mum liked to see the woman doctor who had her consulting rooms a few blocks down the road from where we lived. The woman doctor was always duely concerned about Mum’s heart condition. Mum used to praise her a lot for saying kind words to her whenever she visited. Naturally Frau Doktor would prescribe the right kind of medicine too. In other words she was a very praiseworthy doctor. Her waiting room was never short of patients.

Once Mum sent me to see Frau Doktor. I think it had something to do with my irregular periods. The doctor’s sister lived with the doctor on the premises. She was the one who always received the patients. She liked to talk and was friendly with everyone.

While I was waiting my turn, the doctor’s sister started to talk to me. It did not take her long before she told me, that she had been watching me walking along the street. She said I had caught her eye because of my very erect posture. She also mentioned that she always thought of me as ‘The Girl with the Beautiful Figure’. Was I, a fourteen year old, embarrassed by all this talk? – – –
My word I was!

Easter Photos from 1935

 

Apparently Mum’s mother came from Leipzig to Berlin for a visit  around Eastertime, when I would have been about six months. I think the dress I wear may have been knitted by Mum. Grandma volunteers to hold me up so I can show myself properly to the camera!

In the photo with Mum we see some Fruit, Easter-Eggs and Toys on the table.

The photo with Dad was also taken on Easter Sunday.

 

From my Childhood

 

I was born in September of 1934. I was my parents’ first born child. They had married four years earlier in September of 1930 when my mother was 19 and my father was 26.

I show here a picture of my parents’ wedding day and a picture with me as a baby; my mum and the proud grandparents looking on! I think the grandparents must have been proud of the new addition because I was the daughter of ‘Oleg’ who everyone said was their favourite son. At the time the grandparents had already two grandsons by one daughter and a grandaughter by another daughter.

 

Memories from my Teenage-Years

I was seventeen, when a nineteen year old guy, who was in his final year of schooling, showed an interest in me. The way he talked and looked at me, I could not help but fall in love with him! We were friends for a few weeks, when my mother found out, his father owned a small flower-shop. In my mother’s eyes this made him some-one of very low standing and definitely not suited for me as a companion. My mother decided, she wanted to see the father in his flower-shop and made me go along with her.

The flower-shop turned out to be very small indeed. The whole family was gathered in the shop, when we arrived. There was the congenial looking father, who was of small stature. The mother was a tallish woman. I imagined her to be very resolute and practical in every way. I knew, that she was my friend’s step-mother. His mother had died, when he had been at a very young age. He had shown me a picture of her. He did remember her quite well and missed her very much! The photo showed a young, extremely friendly and beautiful looking woman. I could understand, how a boy would be fascinated by those soft features. The step-mother turned out to have rather harsh features. There was also a step-sister, a spindly looking girl of about ten. When she heard, what was going on, she said full of ‘Schadenfreude’: ‘Ah. so W . . . .    has been telling fibs again!’

Then W was called out. When he appeared from behind the shop, he looked small and embarassed, letting his head hang from having a bad conscience. I felt very embarrassed for him. Talking to the father, my mother made sure, that we two young people were never allowed to see each other again. The father said a few soothing words to me, trying to comfort me. He urged me, that it was for the best, if I listened to my mother.

I trotted back home with Mum, feeling very, very sad indeed. For the next few months my only friend remained my schoolfriend E H. Her father was Dr. H. He was a boss at TELEFUNKEN, E lived around the corner and I was allowed to visit her at night-time, whenever I felt like it. I also went on a few outings with her.

 A few months later, aged eighteen, I started work. Then in the spring of 1953 I met another guy, who I thought was very likeable indeed. When a year had passed, since I had seen W, I met him once more. He had done his ‘Abitur’ in the meantime and found employment in some office near Kurfürstendamm. He was telling me about Fax- machines, which he had to use.

When I told him about my new friend, he must have sensed, that I was not really interested in a friendship with him anymore, feeling already too attached to the other guy. We parted as good friends. However we agreed, it would be interesting to see each other again at the same place, which was the Bayrischer Platz, exactly ten years later, on the 30th June 1963. But by that time I was already married with three children and living in Australia. Needless to say, I never saw him again.

                                                        ———————–

I left high-school at intermediate level in the summer of 1950. Thereafter I lost contact with all my girl-friends, who went on to high-school to the end of year thirteen to get the ‘Abitur’, which would qualify them for university entrance. My choice was to continue higher education at a commercial school, which hopefully would qualify me for a secretarial position.

The best thing at that school was, that we read Goethe’s Faust. I was therefore able to get good marks in German. English was a good subject for me too. However in all the commercial subjects I was extremely unsatisfactory.

One day our class-teacher, Herr Gluschke, had had enough and talked to me under four eyes. ‘How come ‘, he said, ‘that you are good in all subjects, the other teachers teach, and in all the subjects that I teach, you’re far from good?’

What did I answer? Did I say, that the other subjects interested me more? Did I tell him, I found it hard to work anything out on a counting machine because I felt I needed a lot more practice on it? Or that I had problems remembering the required wording in answer to a set question, when we were not allowed to take notes in his classes and when we had no books whatsoever on the subjects he was teaching? I don’t know, what I answered him.

No wonder I was dead scared of the final exams. Rather than finish the second year of commercial schooling, I applied for a job which would enable me to get familiar with secretarial work. I looked up advertised jobs. In one of the ads they offered two beginners’ jobs for office work. Later I found out, that there were ninety-five applicants for these two very lowly paid jobs! And I was the extremely lucky person, who ended up with one of the two jobs!

Herr Gluschke, on hearing that I wanted to leave school and start working, happily wished me all the best for the future! I started work in the clearing house of FLEUROP/INTERFLORA on the second of January 1953 and stayed with that company for the best part of five years.

At the commercial school I had made only one close friendl: E H. And E did not finish school either. Her father, who was an executive at TELEFUNKEN, had seen to it, that she could start work for TELEFUNKEN in Spain.

Apart from some commercial English, we had also learned a bit of commercial Spanish at school, which came in handy for E. Of course in Spain it did not take her long to speak and write Spanish fluently. She became friends with a Spanish guy called Jesus. So E stayed on in Spain and I missed her. We kept writing each other for a while. I also saw her, when she came back to Berlin to visit her parents.

I also missed that guy, who’s father owned a small flower-shop. He had been telling me such wonderful stories! He also played songs on the piano. I loved it when he played the song about the lonely soldier at the river Wolga. He also knew some naughty songs. But I told him, I wasn’t so keen on those. He accepted that gracefully.

His name was W .  . .. I called him ‘Wölfi’: he called me ‘Schäfchen’. Schäfchen means ‘little sheep’. Of course, he only called me that, when no-one else was around. ‘Schäfchen’, he said it lovingly and understandingly, and I didn’t object! I must say, as compared to him, I really felt like a ‘Schäfchen’. He told me, he earned some pocket money as a piano-player in night-bars. So he must have been well aware of what was going on at night-time in a big city.

 Students in their final year of high-school, that is the thirteenth year of schooling (after having started at around six), those students in their final year were called ‘Abiturienten’. So W was an ‘Abiturient’, when I met him at a Spanish evening class. I had joined that class of the Workers’ Education to catch up on Spanish, for I felt the few hours of schooling at my school were not sufficent to get a proper footing in the language. Come to think of it, there would not have been a reason for W to join that class, for Spanish was not required at his school. He was interested in travel though. Maybe that is why he wanted to learn some Spanish.

It was the spring of 1952 I was seventeen and a half at the time and W was nineteen. When I told him, I had already learned a bit of Spanish at school, he asked me, could I help him with his Spanish. This showed me, that he was interested in getting to know me. He was allowed to visit me at my home. We still had a piano at the time. I loved it, when he played the piano.

Sunday nights I was supposed to sell news-papers. One Sunday night I skipped it, because I wanted to stay with W. That was a mistake, because Mum found out about it. She was outraged about my behaviour and started making inquiries about him. Something did not seem right to her. She had begun to smell a rat! And yes, she was right. W had been telling me and Mum quite a lot of fibs, For one, he did not want to admit, that his father was only a small shopkeeper. He thought, if Frau Dr. Spickermann knew about that, she would never agree to her daughter going out with him! So he told us stories about a rich aunt, who was his patron and who took him on travels to Italy and America. It was of course all phantasy! Naturally Mum thought, he could not be trusted anymore. There was not a thing in the world I could have done to change her mind. I still had feelings for him, but I had to suppress them.

I had started selling Sunday night newspapers at age fifteen. I needed a special permission from the police to do it, since fifteen year olds were not supposed to work late at night. But since I was nearly sixteen and looked much older anyway, I had no problem in getting permission to do it. I had to sell ‘Die Nachtausgabe des Montags-Echos’ (the night-edition of the Monday-Echo). It earned me a bit of pocket-money. Occasionally people would think I was a university student who was badly in need of money. These people would give me a generous tip, sometimes a five Mark note! Once a class-mate saw me selling papers in front of a cinema. I felt extremely embarassed that my class-mate had seen me selling papers. It was not the done thing for school-students to sell papers. University-students did it all the time, but not school-students.

When I started office work later on, I was paid an extremely low salary, Never the less, from then on I quit selling papers.

Pictures from 1938

My brother Bodo was born on the 9th of June 1938. I remember waking up in the morning and being told by Auntie Elsa that I have a little brother –  ‘ein Brüderchen’. He was beautiful! I saw him lying in his cot in my parents’ bedroom.I was overjoyed that this was my brother!

That same month my Dad’s father came to visit. Uncle Adi and Aunty Elsa drove Grandad, Dad and me to the Olympic Stadium  in their huge car. There were some pictures taken in the big square in front of the stadium. I look so very happy walking along with Grandad. Mum didn’t come along with us on that day because she had to stay with little Bodo. I think she kept still to her bed at the time. So it must have been soon after Bodo’s birth which was a planned home-birth. For years to come Aunty Elsa would talk a lot about it how it eventuated. She said coming home from seeing a movie at the cinema she noticed a hanky that had been placed on our balcony so it could be seen from the street. This was the sign, that the delivery of the baby had started and Aunty Elsa got very excited and rushed up to be with her sister. Apparently a midwife had been on call all the time and the delivery went on very smoothly. I never did get disturbed by it and must have been sleeping right through the night in the neighbouring room!

We already had a telephone at the time. To this day I remember our number! I was allowed to answer the phone. I was told to say: ‘Hier bei Dr. Spickermann!’ when answering the phone.

The picture with me beside Mum’s bed looking at Bodo in Mum’s arms shows that my parents’ beds had been seperated for the delivery of the baby. Normally these two beds would have been close together.

A few months later we had another visitor to Berlin: My cousin Ursula. The picture which was taken on our balcony shows Ursula holding little Bodo and me looking on.

And for good measure I’m going to add a picture of Grandfather and Grandmother from 1934 when I was a little baby.

The Beach at Graal/Müritz

During the summer of 1940 we were on holidays at the Baltic Sea. We had rented a small cottage. Auntie Ilse was staying with Mum, little Bodo and me most of the time. Our maid Gertrud was with us too. Dad worked during the week in Berlin and came to Graal only on weekends.

Two year old Bodo must have already been quite a walker. I remember that Dad took us for walks in the nearby forest where we would be looking for blueberries. These berries were quite delicious. We would eat them for supper with some sugar and milk.

The beach was not far from our cottage. We went there every day. A photographer had a shop close by. During the day he often took pictures of people on the beach. The following day he displayed the pictures in front of his shop ready for sale. I think people did not order to have their pictures taken. They bought them only if they happened to like them.

In my files I have two of these pictures. They are more than seventy years old now. I was reminded of these pictures when we went to an Australian beach the other day. In one of these old pictures you can see my father with my mother and Auntie Ilse. The women sit in their ‘Strandkorb’. These ‘Strandkörbe’ are very popular on all German beaches. They are popular still to this day. They are a good wind shelter. I think people usually place them in such a way that they can catch the sun. Mum and Auntie Ilse were always proud of their suntan.

Ute mit Bodo Graal Mueritz Sommer 1940

The other photo shows me with Bodo,  my little brother.