Memories from 2011 about Christmas and some other Subjects

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/

Following is something I wrote in November 2007 and I published it in 2011.  It sounds like I could have written it today.

“Time is running out? . . .  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.

This is the link to some more posts I published in 2011:

These posts from 2011 have the following titles:

Daddy’s Anger:  https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/17/memories/

MY MOTHER:  https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/17/out-of-last-years-files/

After the War (1945):

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/12/after-the-war-1945/

Reflections

Post W W  II:   https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/11/reflections/

 

In Love with Leipzig:

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/10/in-love-with-leipzig/

 

OUR LUCKY ESCAPE;  https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/08/our-lucky-escape/

My Family’s Reaction  https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/06/575/

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/06/thirty-three-years-ago/

https://auntyuta.com/2011/12/05/utas-diary/

So the following is still something I did publish in Decermber of 2011:

“5th of December, our second daughter’s birthday; the youngest daughter’s birthday is coming up in four days. The two girls are exactly twenty years apart!

Tomorrow, Tuesday, is Thai Yoga for beginners with Chaija Noradechanunt from the University of Wollongong. In the pamphlet it says:

‘Enjoy stretches, breathing work and relaxation practices in a women only place.’

On Tuesday, the 13th December, is going to be the last class for this year.

I like these Thai Yoga classes. I hope they’re going to continue next year. For the Thai Yoga I go to Coniston, which is two trainstops away from where I live.  The Older Women’s Network hire the Community Hall in Coniston for these classes. They say:

‘You’re in good company with Illawarra OWN Wellness Centre. What is a Wellness Centre?

A Wellness Centre provides older women with a different model of health and wellbeing. We offer a holistic approach to improving and maintaining health and coping with illness by providing a variety of choices for healthy living. The Wellness Centre provides an informal, friendly and supportive environment.

We are committed to:

.  Flexible, “drop in” attendance

.  Learning from each other, as well as from health professionals

.  Consumer involvement & participation

‘Social isolation is a threat to the well being and health of us all. As women tend to live longer than men, they are more likely to feel isolated. Being on a limited income further restricts many people and decreases our ability to lead full and productive lives. To enjoy healthy senior years our minds and bodies need to be active and we need to do all we can to ensure we foster a willingness to stay well by keeping active.

An older woman is generally considered to be 50 years and over. Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women aged 45 Years and over. All are welcome at the Wellnes Centre.’

Thursdays I usually go to a class here in Dapto. It’s a gentle exercise class with Marta Venegas. This class is to improve core strength and balance. I  like these classes. Marta always brings stimulating music along. She sees to it that we keep up with a bit of dancing and also some more serious fitness training. Some of the exercises can be done sitting or standing. This class is breaking up next week. The break lasts to the beginning of February! I must aim at going to the swimming pool more often to maintain some kind of fitness.

My laptop is playing up sometimes. I think I need to take it for another service.”

 

Uta’s Diary April/May 2017

The last few weeks passed very, very quickly! So that, really I do have a lot to catch up on as far as some writing is concerned.

I think I already started on writing about some of the things we did with my brother Peter Uwe and sister-in-law Astrid. While Peter and Astrid were here the days were filled to the brim. Now, five days have passed already since they left to fly back to Germany. And still I did not get much of a chance to write anything!

I just want to start with a picture I took the other day of our ‘tray of happiness’. It is really Peter’s ‘tray of happiness’ for I do not think I depend on it for happiness. If I remember correctly, Matthew used to give Peter’s tray with all the different jams on it the above name. This name shows indeed how important for Peter is this tray. There need to be five different jars of jam on it. If only four jars are left. it is time to go shopping for another jar. It is very, very important for Peter that at all times there is an adequate selection of jams on that tray!

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Only four jars of jam left? Well, it must be time to buy a bit more jam!

To the left of the tray is Peter’s mug that he likes to drink his water from. He needs to drink at least two litres of water every day. So every morning a big two litre glass jug is filled with water. That means Peter’s mug to drink out of has to be refilled on a regular basis. The large blue cup on the right side in the picture is Peter’s coffee cup for breakfast.

For old people that we are, it is good to have a daily routine. The difficulty only is that my routine overall is often slightly different from Peter’s. For instance instead of buttered toast with four or five different jams, I prefer to have a cooked breakfast. A good breakfast for me is vegetables and an egg sauted in some butter and served with some green salad leaves. But I usually have for breakfast the same sort of coffee that Peter has. I do not always manage to do some cooking for breakfast. Then I might just have a slice of buttered toast with vegemite and maybe some yoghurt.

In conversation with family we often mention Peter’s ‘tray of happiness’. I think this is why I just did find it easy to write about it. I actually enjoy writing best when I can do it in a conversational way.

The last few weeks were filled with German talk in our house, for Astrid has a very limited knowledge of English. Peter Uwe understands written and spoken English somewhat better and can say something in English if he has to. However he prefers to say everything in German. When I talked to Peter Uwe and Astrid I tried to speak strictly German without any English words added to it. This was at times rather difficult. Sometimes I was lost for the exactly right German word. When I asked Peter to help me out, he often could not find the right German word straight away either!

Yesterday afternoon I joined four other ladies for our Friday games which I had missed while our visitors were around. One of the ladies asked me, whether our German visitors had liked it here in Australia. And I said, that they had enjoyed their stay in Australia very much, and that we had done a real lot of things with them. And we had very much loved to have them here.

Yes, it was a terrific time with them here. When we have visitors from overseas they are always astonished how beautiful the area is we live in. For us it is marvellous too, when we can go to all the different places that we did get to know and love over many years.

Some bloggers that looked at some of my previous posts might remember perhaps a bit about the Illawarra area and beyond. To mention all the interesting places makes really a long list. Even though we could take our visitors to a lot of places, there was in the end not enough time to take them to the Blue Mountains, or to Berry on the South Coast. Also a trip to Canberra or Melbourne could not be fitted in. Peter Uwe had Queensland in good memory from a previous stay in Australia some eighteen years ago. Astrid had never been to Australia. Peter Uwe and Astrid decided to book a one week holiday up in Cairns, Queensland. They did fly to Cairns and stayed in a hotel there. They were lucky with the weather. It was good for swimming and snorkeling.

They also loved our solar heated swimming pool in Dapto and went there twice in a row. They were also happy to meet our extended family several times.

 

 

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Are first born Children bossy?

I am a first born one, and as someone with two younger brothers I probably always tended to be bossy.   Peter, my husband of more than 57 years, is a third born one. He claims his two older sisters used to boss him around. He always lets me know in no uncertain terms that he very much resents being bossed around by me. I have to be very careful in what I am saying to him;  it can often be interpreted as an ‘order’ even if it is meant as a suggestion only.  I have the feeling Peter always  fears that I want to act as though I can make all the decisions. I think he feels immediately like a little boy who can be bossed around the way his sisters used to do it.

So I always want to try my utmost to sound like a person who is not bossy in the least. However no matter how hard I try, more often than not I come across to Peter as wanting to be bossy! It used to distress me a lot when I was younger. With advancing age these relationship difficulties don’t seem to be the end of the world anymore. I think old age teaches us to try to be more tolerant and accepting. And of course for as long as there is love in the relationship any frustration can be overcome!

Memories from 1950 to 1955

THIS IS A REWORKING OF ONE OF MY OLDER BLOGS. GOING BACK AGAIN TO MY GROWING UP YEARS IN BERLIN.

I left high-school at intermediate level in the summer of 1951. 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 commercial school my best and probably only friend was Eva Horn. Eva 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. Apparently Eva longed to experience a different country.

Apart from some commercial English, we had also learned a bit of commercial Spanish at school, which came in handy for Eva 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 Eva stayed on in Spain. I missed her very much. We kept writing each other for a while. I also saw her, when she came back to Berlin to visit her parents.

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I had started selling Sunday night newspapers during the summer of 1950. I needed a special permission from the police to do it for I was not sixteen yet and therefore not supposed to work late at night. But since I was nearly sixteen and looked much older anyway, I had no problem in getting the permission.

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 embarrassed that my class-mate had seen me doing this. It was not the done thing for school-students to sell papers. University-students did it all the time, but not school-students.

Soon after Easter of 1952 (I was seventeen and a half) I met Wolfgang Steinberg. He was already nineteen and in his final year of schooling. I had gone to an evening class to catch up on a bit of Spanish. Wolfgang happened to be in this class. When he realized that I had already done a bit of Spanish at Commercial School, he approached me in a very friendly way asking me whether I would be willing to study some Spanish together with him.

So we did get together. When he was invited to our place on a Sunday, he met my mother. My mother had no objections to my seeing him again. At the time we still had a piano on loan in our home. Wolfgang came to visit several times, even when my mother was not at home. He would play wonderful tunes on the piano. Once Mum came home unexpectedly when we had done a bit of necking. Mum stormed into the living-room and straight away screamed at the top of her voice that Wolfgang had behaved improperly because he had caused her daughter to have a red face! Well, it was obvious, wasn’t it, that I had fallen in love with this guy.

This was not good enough for my mother, of course. She had to find out a bit more about his background. He had claimed that his mother was dead and that he lived with his aunt. Well, it was true, his mother had died when he was still very young. His father had married again and owned a small flower-shop.

In my mother’s eyes this made Wolfgang some-one of very low standing; 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. Wolfgang had shown me a picture of his mother who had died when he was still so young. But he did remember her 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 Wolfgang has been telling fibs again!”

Then Wolfgang was called out. When he appeared from behind the shop, he looked small and embarrassed, letting his head hang from having a bad conscience. I felt sorry 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 school-friend Eva. She lived around the corner. 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 likable indeed. During the summer of 1953 I met Wolfgang one more time. 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 anymore in a friendship with him; that most likely I was feeling somewhat 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.

But here are some more thoughts on Wolfgang. 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 these. He accepted that gracefully.

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 Wolfgang was an ‘Abiturient’, when I met him at the 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 sufficient to get a proper footing in the language. Come to think of it, there would not have been a reason for Wolfgang 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.

Sunday nights I was supposed to sell news-papers. One Sunday night I skipped it, because I wanted to stay with Wolfgang. That was a mistake, because Mum found out about it. She was outraged about my behaviour. She started making inquiries about him. She had begun to smell a rat! And yes, she was right. Wolfgang 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 fantasy! 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.

When I started office work I quit my paper job even though in the beginning I earned an extremely low salary at FLEUROP.
I guess a year later it would have been my choice to continue meeting Wolfgang in secret. We both had jobs by that time. Actually I forgot to mention that we kept up a secret correspondence for about a month (via Eva’s address). Wolfgang and I promised each other then to meet again one year later at Bayrischer Platz. This was the last I saw of him. I felt at the time that my friend, Karl-Heinz, was the better choice for me. I think this new guy never ever met my mother. Mum did not want to know of my friendship with him. She definitely did not approve of him. He was only 17 when I first met him (I was nine months his senior). In the end he preferred another girl. And she was a bit older than I was! In May 1955, when I was twenty and a half, I met my lovely husband. He’s still with me and keeps telling me every day that he loves me!

Summer of 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. They 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. 

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! That night at his house 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.

P.S. Some of my regular readers might remember that I published this story before. Well, yesterday I published this post called “Sexual assault”.  Thinking about the issue of unwanted sexual approaches I remembered my post about my first visit to Düsseldorf in 1953. I was going on nineteen in that summer of 1953.