Part 49: A Lesson In Unexpected Hunger

Aunt Else finally moved from the city to our village. Her husband had returned home shortly after the war emaciated and terminally ill, only to die after a few weeks.

Because she was alone, she visited us as often as possible. Many young men had suffered similar fates, but all had had their youth stolen by the war. After many years of military service and captivity, it was time to finally start a family.

A veritable wedding frenzy gripped the village. Since my confirmation, it was common knowledge that my aunt was an excellent cook and baker. She was constantly on the road as a cook and my mother as a kitchen help to prepare for celebrations. So, it was not surprising that the apartment was once again empty when I came home after a busy week at school. My dog was the only one who greeted me happily wagging her tail.

After her exhausting motherhood she was a bit emaciated and always hungry. Disgruntled, I pulled the cooking pot out of the warm oven tube and spooned up my soup. Afterwards I rested for an hour on the narrow sofa behind the kitchen table.

I had fallen asleep and awoke to a knocking scraping sound. Susi was standing in the middle of the kitchen table. Her head was up to her ears in a jug with handles. Angrily, she threw her head back and forth trying to shake the jug off, but she couldn’t do it.

I helped the poor dog and freed him from the evil. Up to over the eyes the dog’s snout was covered with brown gravy. Trustingly and guiltily the dog looked at me. I began to understand. My sister had brought me a portion of wedding roast. She had not wanted to wake me up and had put the jug on the kitchen table, in good faith that I would already find the wonderful menu.

She didn’t think about the dog. But Susi had been faster than me. The roast had not escaped her good nose. From the chair to the table and then greedily here with the wonderful food! What should I do now? With a heavy heart, I poured the rest of the gnawed roast into her bowl and grudgingly wished her a good appetite.

Such harmless, heartening incidents were quite rare at that time. I reluctantly remember an event that shook me personally to the core. It shows particularly starkly what a defenseless and wretched situation women were in at the time. Even during the war, they endured the most of work and deprivation. In the years that followed, nothing had changed.

Late one afternoon, I was doing my homework and overheard an overly excited conversation through the open door in the living room. Pretty Änne was telling my mother and the Berliner that she was pregnant again and was desperately asking for help.

She already had five children without a husband, and now a sixth child? Never ever! Hilde should help and have an abortion. The Berlin woman had reservations and refused, because Änne did not know exactly in which month she was pregnant.  𝓣𝓸 𝓑𝓮 𝓒𝓸𝓷𝓽𝓲𝓷𝓾𝓮𝓭

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