The only bakery in town was right across the street from our home. A great baker, Herr Muenster, often looked out of the window to watch the gathered women who were just visiting with each other. The Brachwitz “accent” is one that is not heard anywhere else. It’s German alright, but it doesen’t sound like it, it’s just “Brachwitz-ish.” I was relentlessly teased by my schoolmates about my accent. They were from Halle and other small towns in the area, but no one spoke the way I did. Too bad, I thought, but over time I did learn to speak ” high German.” “Herr Muenster” I called out ” Please don’t burn mom’s Streusel cake, ja:?” He just smiled and nodded. Sometimes he would burn mom’s delicious cakes, oh yes, he did, and mom would cry.
The second story of Herr Muenster house had a huge big room, called “Saal!” This is were exciting things happened. My sister and I would look out of our window to watch people dance. Yes there were dances in the Saal, and it was so much fun to watch. Erika obviously had a new boyfriend, because she danced with him only. I did not know him, he must have been from another village. Tall and blonde, a real hunk a gorgeous guy. Erika was not a slouch either, in fact, she was beautiful. Dark hair, very curly, and she had a gorgeous body. He flung her around on that dance floor like a doll.. and it was so much fun to watch. Sis said that she would like to be old enough to join the dancing, and I agreed with her, because I wanted to join the fun too. Dancing, to this day is one of my favorite things but I can never find someone who knows how to dance good. I learned to dance in Halle, my P E teacher taught all of us girls how to dance the waltz, the foxtrot, the swing and the tango. What a lady.. she was most definitly my favorite teacher! Later that night it got very roudy at the dancing because there was much beer drinking going on. Sis and I watched some young men stumble around outside. But there never were any fights going on.. Overall Brachwitz just was a peaceful village, and I do not recall anyone getting drunk and be out of line, no.. they would just stumble home.. mumbling to themselves. Erika played the guitar and often would she get up on the podiun and play. She had many fans.. everyone loved when she would play.
As for me, mom discovered that I had a pretty soprano voice, and she wanted me to sing in church. Eventually I became indispensable for the churchchoir. I enjoyed it very much. Many women in Brachwitz joined our choir, this created nice friendships.. and it helped all of us to forget our troubles for a while and just enjoy music and one another’s company. Mom was the choir leader, and she was very good at it. She was an organist and she played the piano too. There was much music in our home after I started to play the piano, then Schnippe played the violin. He got very good at it and much lateron, he played in the Berlin Philharmonic ! Pretty soon sis started to play the piano also. A very musical family we were. Music helped us to get through some pretty tough times. Forget the nagging hunger for a bit and enjoy music. There was always music to be heard at our home, someone was either playing the piano, or Schnippe was busy practicing his fiddle ! If Mr “M” didn’t burn the cake.. well then life was perfect Rickety had been fixed by Mr “V”, he managed to find the things he needed to fix the flat I had had again. There was a steep hill, called ” Trompeterfelsen” that I had to conquer each time I went to Halle to go to school. It was so hard to climb that I had to push Rickety, not ride it. But it was so very worth it, because I had so much fun riding down. The ” Saale” was right at the bottom of the hill with a very sharp right turn I had to make, to not get wet ! This sharp right-turn was not half the fun.. as racing down this steep hill.
Here I was coming down the “Trompeterfelsen” having a blast. I was going faster than I should have. A little pebble hit the front wheel of Rickety just right, to make me trip.. Then lost it all together. I fell! I landed on my left hand.. and had to ride home depending on my right hand only. It was bad.. I looked at my hand and my thumb was sort of dangling from my hand. Pretty quick the whole hand became a huge lump. I cried, I was really hurt.
Coming home, mom was in the kitchen. It is where she usually was at this time. “Mom” I cried out “look at my hand !” She glanced at it.. then quickly turned away saying: “I can’t, I just can’t!” ” But mom “I cried” please look at it.. it’s bad, and it hurts..!” Mom couldn’t, she turned away, I went upstairs to find Thea, I needed someone to at least listen to me. Thea turned white and cried out:” Oh no, you need a doctor”. Ok, so I needed a doctor but there was no doctor anywhere we knew of. I was on my own, as usual.
The next day I had my piano lesson, and dutifully I went with a huge blue and black left had. ” Girl,” Dr. Koch exclaimed, “what did you do?” I told him that Rickety had bucked on me… etc etc…and Dr. Koch was terrified.
“Did you find a Doctor”? he asked me.. I said ” No.. I do not know of one!” His wife came into the room and she looked at my hand and she had tears in her eyes. I knew I was in trouble, but there just was no Doctor anywhere. I never got any help with my hand. The doctors had been either killed in the war, or were “missing” as were so many many others. “Survive if you can” was the motto of the day. Darn it, I tried, I really did! But it was very very hard. The swelling of my hand went down a bit, but it was obvious that the thumb was broken in the low joint. It sort of just hung there, it hurt and useless… I was sad that no one could help me. But this was the way it was ” deal with it” the best you can.
I wrapped a little rag around my thumb, and I “dealt with it!” My left thumb never healed right, but it did heal. The joint just isn’t right, it moves out of place when I grab something.. and so it is to this day. It healed, though, and I can type and do any other thing I need to do.. If I hold the thumb just right it gives me no trouble at all! God, my best friend must have touched it and make the whole thing OK! I just love my best friend.. I love God !