Part 9: Cinema In The Village

There were three bars in the village. In one of them, the dance hall had been converted into a cinema. The first silent films were shown here, and a little later the first UFA sound films, of course everything was still black and white.

The film quality left a lot to be desired, because the films had already been shown in a thousand other cinemas. On Sunday mornings, the village children crowded the cinema entrance long before admission so as not to miss the new Mickey Mouse cartoon for 20 pfennigs. Those were the first cinema experiences for me, too.

In the second bar, the miners’ choir, in which my grandfather also sang, rehearsed every Sunday morning. On weekends and holidays there was dancing for young and old in the big hall.

The last pub was a typical carters’ pub, because it was located directly on the main road. Here the horses stopped by themselves. The coachmen drank one or two wheat beers and a shot with it. On the road the horses rested and ate oats from the feed bags they had put on their backs. On Sundays, no carter came; the invalid miners, some of them no older than fifty, sat in the restaurant, drank two or three beers, smoked their Sunday cigars, and philosophized about this and that. Next door, above the hallway, an ice cream machine was running in a poorly furnished ice cream shop. Here the young boys bought a waffle ice cream for their first childhood sweetheart. For this purpose, the owner had to be called out of the restaurant. The bigger the ice cream cone, the greater the sweetheartโ€™s adoration. Once the ice cream cone was handed over and paid for, the owner disappeared again behind the counter. If the lovers were lucky, they stayed alone until the ice cream was lapped up.

With dustpan, hand brush and the little yellow wooden cart that our grandpa had built himself, my older cousin Heinz and I went through the village. We were on the trail of the horse teams, because we were supposed to collect horse excrements. These were extremely popular as fertilizer by the allotment gardeners. Our grandfather was also keen on it. So, we eagerly collected what the horses had lost here and there. The wagoner’s bar was considered particularly productive because many horses pooped there while standing. However, the rescue of the yellow and green apples was not always easy, because they often lay between the horse and the wagon. So, we waited patiently until the coachman had finished his beer and drove off with his wagon.

When our wagon was full, we trotted into grandpa’s garden. The plot was without electricity and water and a reflection of Prussian-German thoroughness. The main path led dead straight to the front door of the tiny arbor. Next to it stood the rain barrel under the gutter. All the flower beds were exactly perpendicular to the main path and the gooseberry and currant bushes were neatly trimmed and lined up. There was no piece of meadow to play in, every corner was used for growing vegetables. The garden was therefore by no means intended as a place of rest and relaxation but served to feed the family. When we had delivered our horse manure, Heinzchen was allowed to pick a handful of berries for us. I had to stay on the main path and was not allowed between the beds. It could have been that in my childish carelessness I would have stepped on a plant, or I would have snapped a twig while picking berries. I found this treatment insulting, even as a small boy, and voluntarily I would never have gone to grandpa in the garden. ๐“ฃ๐“ธ ๐“‘๐“ฎ ๐“’๐“ธ๐“ท๐“ฝ๐“ฒ๐“ท๐“พ๐“ฎ๐“ญ

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