Part 30: A New Place To Live

Our new home was truly the end of the world. The inhabitants probably only noticed that the war was over because so many refugees came to the village and the secret military post at the top of the village hill was no longer staffed.

Otherwise, strangers rarely strayed into the village. Anyone who wanted to visit us had to prepare for a circuitous journey and be good on foot.

The visitor left the Reichsbahn in the small town, which was world-famous for the production of stainless-steel dairy machines and transferred to a single-track Bimmelbahn, a small railway. The railroad had been built primarily for transporting sugar beets, potatoes and other agricultural products and leisurely twitched westward between the Hainleite and Kyffhäuser mountains. After two or three stops, it was time to get off. Only a few hundred meters further on, a yellow sign, marked by time, pointed north, indicating that after just under five kilometers one would reach a village. The road, paved with cobblestones and lined with fruit trees, was not particularly steep but led steadily uphill. After a good hour of walking, there was no sign of a village far and wide.

The hiker caught his breath and then continued to follow the road sullenly. Had he lost his way? Fields to the right and left. In the distance, the green fringe of a vast forest. The road had reached its highest point and turned sharply to the left. Only now the top of a church tower appeared in the valley behind trees and after a few steps also the white dial of the tower clock. The visitor was on the right track. Just after the town sign, the road descended steeply into the village towards the town hall. In the house there was the mayor’s office, the village bar, which was called tavern here, and the big dance hall. When there was no dancing, the small animal breeders exhibited their rabbits or feathered fowl here.

After a well-deserved breather, the visitor continued his way after a glass of thin beer. A few steps later he met the village street. Across the street was the carpenter’s workshop. Here they repaired and built everything that was made of wood, including coffins for the deceased. The stranger decided to follow the road to the lower village. Farms on both sides, then the manor with the manor house and again farms, another pub and opposite the blacksmith’s shop. Next door the school, then a small side street with the rectory, where the priest lived, opposite the church and behind it the cemetery. A few more farms, the post office and the forester’s house.

Now the houses became smaller, here lived the day laborers and the forest workers. The road ended in a dirt road rutted by wagon tracks, which after a few kilometers led to the neighboring village. Now the road back to the upper village. Right at the beginning the baker. The wide sandstone steps led directly into the bakery. Here at the ‘Backsecke’ the village youth met every evening to ‘Spellen,’ to tell stories. A few meters further on, a road turned off in the direction of the forest. At the corner, the only store of the village. After that again farms and the second baker. Opposite, in the Altenteil, we lived. For rural conditions, a modest but neat apartment.

A little further on, a bridge led across the usually ankle-deep stream, and next to it stood the transformer house. This was where the electricity for the whole village came in via an overhead line. In summer, lightning regularly struck the transformer house, and the whole village went dark for a night. Because of the regularity, some villagers wanted to have seen ball lightning on the transmission line.

The situation with the telephone connection was like that with electricity. In the whole village there were only two or three connections. One led to the mayor’s office, with a parallel line to the innkeeper. It was therefore not surprising that after internal calls to the head of the village, at the latest half an hour later, all the inhabitants of the village were well informed. The second connection was the post office, which was operated in the living room of the postwoman. Even the volunteer fire department did not have a telephone, and whether the priest could call his master remained forever hidden from me. But on through the village. 𝓣𝓸 𝓑𝓮 𝓒𝓸𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓷𝓾𝓮𝓭

💡 Do you have a Linkedin account? Then you can subscribe to my newsletter „The Bright Side of the Doom“ ✔︎