This week has been a whirlwind of emotions. I started and restarted my health journey twice. The second time I even cooked breakfast for my husband and was able to ignore the hunger feeling that overcame me -but not for long. I realize I have to dig deeper. I am an emotional eater and I need to get to the bottom of it. I need to jump in the time machine and go back to my childhood.
There she is, my beautiful Mother, who -for whatever reason- did not like me. To be exact, she didn’t like anybody. Whatever friendships she was able to make, she wrecked just a few weeks later.
She was born in 1929, in Königsberg/Ostseebad Cranz, which then belonged to Germany. She was the oldest daughter, had 8 siblings -all of them died during World War II. Her oldest brother, a fighter pilot, was shot down. The only thing she had left was a postcard he had sent during the war. They had been close, I could tell by the way she said his name. The youngest girl, the one I am named after, was left in her care when the war came too close. They had to flee, like thousands of others.
She little girl didn’t survive. If I remember right she drowned because she was so weak. Stories like that are shared often in Europe by people of my age. I am the first generation after Worldwar II, was born in a quite dysfunctional family because of it. PTS would we call it today, back then they were just scars that everybody had.
Imagine, I would have 8 aunts and uncles and numerous cousins and nephews, but instead, I was an only child, with one uncle on my father’s side, who never got married. It would have been nice to have a normal family like so many others but life cheated me. We were five. My parents, my Grandmother, my father’s brother and me -surrounded by too many ghosts.
My father was born in 1932 in Breslau, a city in the North of Germany, which was given to Poland after the war. He was drafted right out of school when he was only 12 years old. They put him in uniform and sent him to the frontlines to fight. Toward the end, he was captured. He became a POW (Prisoner of War), was sent to a Russian prison camp with others, where he was sentenced to death after they had found a small notebook on him, in which he had written down the numbers of Russian tanks he had destroyed.
According to him, the Red Cross is the reason he survived. He had acted up, made sure somebody noticed him and remembered his name when the people they came by to inspect the prison camp. “Because my name was written down, they didn’t dare to touch me,” he said. I suppose it’s true.
He didn’t say much more about the time in the Russian hell, didn’t say much about the war at all. One story I never forgot. He and a fellow soldier had been trapped and buried in an old house, which had been hit by a bomb. After days, when they dug their way out, his partner was shot by a Russian sniper. My Father waited three days until the Russian soldier came out of hiding, then he shot him as well.
Being buried in the house and the fear he felt, gave him a big block of snow-white hair right in the front. His hair was dark like mine, almost black, it made him look interesting. I researched it years later and come to find out, this really can happen in extreme stress situations. The hair doesn’t get gray overnight but grows out white as snow.
My father’s family had fled to Munich, Germany and somehow my Mother had ended up there as well. She didn’t have any education, had never finished school and worked as a maid and cook for a wealthy family. She was 20 years old when she caught my Dad stealing empty bottles out of the back of their cellar. Back then, plastic bottles or cans were nonexisting and the glass bottles were cleaned and given back to the stores for a refill.
My Father was a petty thief, my Mother fell in love. They got married in 1955 and I hope they had good times. I didn’t come along until seven years later. She couldn’t carry children they said and I suppose they accepted their faith. My father, who was a taxi driver then, came home one night and surprised her with a puppy, a black miniature poodle and then, out of nowhere, I came along -unexpected and perhaps too late.
I was born in Munich, Germany 1962 and so my weird, beautiful, mysterious childhood begun.