Our village wasn’t ever bombed.. but Halle, an industrial city sure was. When I arrived there on” Rickety” hungry and tired.. we had spent the night in our basement as usual.. Halle was a huge mess. I passed still burning ruins, saw crying children roaming the streets looking for their parents.. who, for all I knew were buried in those still smoking ruins, I never found out.
In “der Helene Lange Schule for girls” I was expected to pull A’s.. and this with no food in my stomach, a long bike ride and 3 foreign languages on the agenda. Now I ask you: How am I going to pull that off?” NOT.. I failed.
Dad decided this could not go on like this. He found a retired teacher “Dr. Mager” who took me in during the week.. and on the weekends I was allowed to go home.
I didn’t like the lady.. she was an old virgin who never had kids. Things went by the book. One night for ” Dinner” she fixed me a slice of pumpernickel black bread.. with just a scratch of butter on it. Just a scratch meant: you put a tiny bit of butter on the knife.. then you scratch the breadslice with it.. so it ends up looking like a veil on that black bread. Just like mom always did and said:” Scratch that butter !” It had to last.. supplies were measured. Something that was supposed to last a month was gone in 3 days. Scratch it or not.. it never lasted.
I didn’t want to eat it in spite of being very hungry, so I lied to her and said that I wasn’t hungry.
The punishment that followed was too much for me to bear. She told me that this coming weekend I was not allowed to go home. I cried.. but secretly made plans.. and promptly, Saturday morning, I jumped out of a window looking for Rickety. I could not find my old friend, so I decided to hoof those 7 or so miles home!