I have to interject something important here, it’s about my ” best friend !” On my bike rides to school I always talked to God. I would look up into the skies and here he was, in my minds eye.. huge with an outstretched arm a friendly smile, encouraging me to go ahead and talk to him. He did not have to tell me twice.. I gushed and gushed I told him everything that was on my heart.. and I mean everything. Every once in a while I would hold my breath.. making sure he had not gotten angry with me you know, but no.. he was still smiling, encouraging me to ” go on kid.. just go on..” I started to like God a lot. I mean, what can you not like about someone who endlessly listens to you and never gets mad? And what’s even more.. never hit me? Now this was more love and patience than I could fathom. In short, my rides to school on Rickety became something I looked foreward to, because there was someone who would listen to me no matter how childish all my talk was. During those rides to school, God became my best friend.. and much later on I realized that during those times I bonded with my Lord God and Savior. I was too young to realize this then, but I know for sure that those were the times and the basis for my relationship with God.
Lest I regress too much, it is important to mention I had 2 brothers and a sister. All younger than I.. yes I was the eldest of 4 kids. Thus, in charge of all chores mother had for her kids.
My piano teacher once gave me a children’s book and the story was about “Schnippe” the monkey.
I would read the Schnippe story to my siblings often.. and my youngest brother.. lets call him Kris was just fascinated with Schnippe and he could not get enough of Schnippe’s antics. To make a long story short, Kris in no time at all had a nickname that stuck, yes you guessed it, it was ” Schnippe”. Later on I added ” Boeckchen to it, so now it was ” Schnippenboeckchen”!
He didn’t like it much.. he would cry and whimper when we called him this.. but sad for him, that nickname stuck.. yes, to this day. Only thing was.. we shortened it back to Schnippe.. and / or Schnippchen. It stuck.. everyone called him that.. friends and foe. Foe actually wasn’t a problem, Schnippe had no foes. But I did ! It all started with being uppety.. better than the towns farm people. I did not feel better.. they just thought that I thought I was ” better”. My sweet little, quiet sis ” Thea” was my opposite. For some reason she was permitted to go to school in Brachwitz. She never had to go to the long rides to “uppety” school in Halle, she went to school in Brachwitz.. so did my brothers. I have no idea why I was singled out this way.. and I forgot to ask my parents why. By the time I wanted to ask them.. it was too late.
My middle brother.. was “Mut” (names changed to protect them all from my sometimes not to friendly recalls ) Mut was the kind of kid that was thickheaded and he had a bad temper. Him and I didn’t ever like each other much. Schnippe was my fave, by far.. He was 7 years younger than I and I treated him like my own baby.
Thea and I got along, yet only barely. Partly I think it was because she never had to do any chores.. they were put on me.. You know I was the Eldest, so it goes, I heard.
All of us were always hungry and I was the “provider” as in, biking to neighboring villages, begging for food. Once I begged for a loaf of bread.. finally got one, it was burnt.. and crooked.. but that night we had a feast.. we had bread, yes bread.. it was like a holiday.
I have to think about where to go next, there’s just so much I hope I can get some order into this?!
We were sitting down for a nice Sunday meal one day, and dad suddenly coughed. A still small voice in my head said:” Dad will die”.. yes, just like this. I was terrified but told no one. Dad coughed more and more.. but we had no Doctors. They either had been killed in the war, or were otherwise unable to practice in this wartorn.. everything out of order and an unspeakable mess. So dad got sicker and sicker with no medical help around.. mom put him to bed, and I went to the next door farm.. asking if they might have an apple or something.. anything to eat for dad. I think I came home with an apple.. yes, an apple.
We never found out what dad died of, never a diagnosis.. just the terrible fact that one day he had died.
Sure, it was terrible for mom, 4 kids under 12 and no father.