The Movies

My friend Ruthie and I wanted to go to the movies. Every once in a while ” the movies” would rent that large room, Becker’s had upstairs, downstairs it was the town bar. It always was a big event to have the movies come to town.

I asked dad if I can go to the movies and could he give me 30 cents. I should have known that the answer was “no”!
Ruthie said to me :”Come on, I will give you the 30 cents. I have enough money in my piggy bank”. So it was a done deal.. Ruthie and I were going to the movies. We had no idea what the movie was all about, but, we were going.
I grabbed my sweater.. and out the front door I went. Coming to the gate that locked the church yard, I saw dad hammering on something. Ah, yes.. that gate needed repair, dad had mentioned it the night before. So here he was.. measuring and hammering.. He was all involved in what he was doing. As I was passing him to pick up Ruthie from her house, I said to him : “Aetsch ( ne ne ne ne neee neee ).. Ruthie is giving me the money, and we are going to the movies, yes we are!!” Nothing, not a peep out of dad, he probably did not hear me, I figured, so I went on over to Ruthie, to pick her up.

In the middle of the movie.. The house was packed and we were sitting smack in the middle of it all. I have no memory what the movie was all about. Suddenly.. all lights came on, and the movie stopped. A huge “sigh.. now what…!?” went through the crowd. Then I saw him. My dad stood in the doorway talking to someone, who pointed to where I was sitting.

I froze, my heart seemed to stop.

Dad came to where I was.. clear to my seat, he grabbed my left arm and drug me out.. out of the row, then out of the room. Behind me I heard the movie starting up again.

Innocently I asked: “Dad, what is the matter.. why did you drag me away from the movie?” No reply, only deafening silence. He still had me by my left arm.. dragging me up the street.. fast and furious.. but silent.

Did I really not know why? Or did I just forget, I do not know. Arriving home.. we now were in the front entrance with the dark red tile floor, Dad stopped. Mom was in the kitchen peeling potatoes. I heard her say: “Theo.. please..” Theo was dad’s name.

But Theo did not listen to mom or my, by now loud pleadings. He bent me over his knee.. and he beat the living daylights out of me. I was way too proud to cry, I remained silent. Finally dad’s hand must have been tired, because he stopped. Then he said: “This is for disobedience.. and I still expect and apology”!

Oh.. so now I remembered.. he didn’t want me to go to the movies, so that was it.

Beatings like these were an almost daily occurrence.. we had a nickname for dad: “Pruegel Theo” Helmut gave him that one.. It was Helmut and I who got the beatings. Thea and Schnippe never were bad, they never got beaten.

At the time of this.. I was about 8!

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