We had some real heavy snowfall that winter and our little hills were so much fun to sled and ski on. One of these hills is called “die Ziegelscheune” what a funny name, I often wondered who invented it? Up and down we raced and climbed with our sleds, it was just so much fun.

Down at the foot of “Ziegelscheune” was our river, die “Saale” and if you could not stop your sled in time, then you would run right into the river. The river was frozen that year and it was hard to see where the Ziegelscheune ended.. and the river started. Dad checked out this situation very carefully, warning me of the danger. I was glad that he did not forbid me to race down this hill all together.

A family of escapees, from Cologne.. lived in our home temporarily. Their home had been completely bombed out and they fled into the center of Germany.. to Brachwitz. We had not been bombed because we were not ” worth” the trouble.. why would they have waisted resources to bomb a tiny farm village? Well.. blessing for us, they didn’t.

This latest family who were placed in our home.. were real city people. “Frau Michels” was a beautiful lady.. who loved to wear makeup. Makeup in Brachwitz was not done, if you did anyway, people would point and laugh at you. Frau Michels.. being from Cologne, could not have cared less.. she wore bright red lipstick! In one of my little kids books, I just read, that lipstick was made of lice-blood. Oh boy, the ideas this gave me.. unthinkable.

The pretty restaurant “das Saaletal” was still open that year.. for dancing, and yes it had a little bar too.
That day there was a dance ” im Saaletal.” Mr and Mrs Michels decided to attend.. and they started on their way.. in the afternoon.

My friend, siblings and I were having a ball running our sleds on the Ziegelscheune. Erich, a friend of mine.. meanwhile had managed to run his sled right into the river. Ouch, that was terrible.. but he did not get past the ice and he missed the icy waters. He got away with a huge scare, but he was not hurt. Our parents though forbade us to go sledding on the Ziegelscheune anymore. Heartbreak for us kids, some of us cried and this included me. How come that when you find something that is so much fun.. something comes along and ruins it? Was this a life-lesson? Somehow, when things get too good, things are so smooth, life is so much fun, is there something lurking to ruin it for you? I often still feel this way and there seems to be some truth to it? But again, this is Addie thinking out loud.

Shortly before Eric’s accident, way on top of the hill, pulling my sled, I was ready to take my next race and rumble downhill. Suddenly, just before I took off, I saw Mr and Mrs Michels, all dressed up walking toward the Saaletal, to the dance. Mrs’ Michels lips were so bright red, I could see it from way up on the hill. Bright and shiny red lipstick in Brachwitz? Yes.. Mrs Michels, the citygirl.. did her thing, like it or not. I admitted to myself, this lady had guts!

All this coming together in my head.. I yelled from on top of the hill.. making sure everyone could hear me:”Frau Michels has lice on her lips!” Oh.. what did I just do? Mrs Michels yelled back at me :”You bad bad child, just wait til I tell your father!” Needless to say, this deed of mine earned me a good, bent over dad’s knee, beating.

Never again did I say one word to Mrs Michels.. except of course that I apologized. I paid dearly for those “lice on your lips, words”, but fun was hard to come by in those days, and to be honest.. inspite of my apology, I still get the giggles when I think back…


  1. David Mulldune says

    Addie, I appreciate the poignant stories you share of your childhood. The innocence, the simplicity of finding joy, and the will to survive in spite of the harsh circumstances of life…I especially like your spunky spirit. Never give it up!

  2. David, your comments just always make my day. Friends who uplift one another.. well ja, that’s where it’s at ! I will keep writing until my brain registers ” empty”, and this will take some time…

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