|This is where it all began.|
|This is where we lived|
Well I have never done anything like this before, my kids told me that I should write a book about my life experience. Mind you, now in the year 2012 my kids don’t talk to me anymore, we will get to that later. I am 72 years old, born on the 17/01/1940 in Hamburg, Germany. My parents were Ewald & Alwine S. I don’t know what my Mother did at the time (oh yes, she was pregnant wit me) my Father owned a Hotel, I still have a battered knife from there. Mum saved quite a bit of cutlery from the hotel after leaving Hamburg in 1943 due to the fact that the house that we lived in got bombed by the British (there was a war going on) Dad was on the Russian Front, getting cold and frost bitten.
Dad & me
What I been told from that time is; We lived on the 1st floor of a 4 story building and when the Bomb hit we still had time to grab a few things and then run out of the house.
I have heard lots of stories about the city being on fire, people everywhere, more dead than alive, lots of corpses floating in the channels. One boy so the stories goes had his kid-brother in his rucksack, he was going to save him, he didn’t know that his brother was dead.
Well I have no idea for how many days my mother had to walk pushing the heavy pram ( I just remembered mum also saved our radio and her best tablecloth) Anyway after all that walking we arrived in the town of Einfeld were my “Aunty” lived. She was Leni T. Mum’s long-time girlfriend. Leni and her husband Walter owned a small mixed farm. It was going to be home for the next 12 month. I don’t know why, but I will never forget Christmas there. Aunt Leni was very religious, she always wanted to be a missionary in Africa, but for some reason never made it. I don’t know if this has anything to do with my story. So back to that Christmas. I remember there being us kids and some adults ( no idea who they were) But I remember there being big white double doors that we were all staring at, because behind these doors was a another room and we knew that “Santa” was in there, which meant presents and “Goodies” I can not remember a Christmas before this, but this Christmas stayed with me for the rest of my life. Back to the white door; suddenly there was the sound of little bells ringing, this meant that “Santa” was leaving, the great white doors opened and what I saw next I shall never forget and I always remembered Aunty Leni for this.
In one corner of the room stood the most beautiful Christmas tree that I had ever seen, it was full of real candles and they were burning brightly, there were all kinds of decorations on the tree and stars, little figures of angels and all kinds of shapes all made from beautiful tasting dough. Presents too, but I have no idea what I got. That is all I can remember from that time. Oh, by the way Aunty Leni was also my Godmother.
Ah well, here we go again. This one is hard; although I am older I remember less. The one thing I do remember is that I am getting in lots of trouble. Nowadays we would seek medical help, but in them days that was unheard of.
Anyway to start the story, we shifted further up north of Schleswig-Holstein to a place called Högel, a small farming town full of “Aunt’s and “Uncles”. My mother must have been very popular she had lots of friends here. I don’t know if my Father came here with us, I think he came later. Can’t remember anything until I got into trouble for the 1st time? I found a Bayonet which I used to “Ringbark” a tree on the side of the road.
All roadside trees are planted and owned by the Government. So we had a visit from the town constable. Boy, was I in trouble. Now most of my memories of my time in Högel are fairly mixed-up. So I will try my best to remember. My best friend lived on a farm some kilometres away from us. I used to love going to his place, or I should say being at his place. The walk to his place used to scare me something shocking but I loved playing at his place, especially behind the shed where there were some old broken, rusty motorbikes. We used to race all day, I was a caricature named “George Meyer” Naturally I always won. When we got sick of that we played in the Barn which was full of Hay.
But back to the reason why I was so scared to walk along the road. First I had to walk past a Fir tree Forrest, where I and others had been told that an escaped Soldier lived in there in a makeshift hut that he had so well camouflaged that nobody could find it and he would overpower people and then kill and eat them. That would frighten most 5 year olds. Also I wouldn’t walk on the Road as somebody might come along and do me harm. So I always walked 50 – 100 meters to the left or right of the road. I don’t think there was a more scared person in town then me. I remember one time as I was walking home one night, I was caring a Lantern with a lit Candle in it (my friends parents lend it to me) I heard a Horse and coach coming towards me, quickly I blowed the candle out and hid behind a heap of dirt. (Brave?) A time I was walking home, it was winter, so everything was beautiful and white.
As always I was walking to one side of the road, this would have been all right hadn’t it not warmed up and the small manmade waterways had thawed out. So when I came to the first one I thought to myself; I can jump that, there was a wire fence on the other side that I could grab if I had to. So I jumped and I had to. I had a good grip on the top wire and thought that I had it made. But, oh no, here I was hanging onto the wire and it started to stretch very slowly. All I could do was hang on; till my back touched the water and then the rest of me went in. Who was in trouble again? Me!
I don’t think this is in the right order but never mind, we are still in Högel, I am still or even more so in trouble and this is my story. By now my Father was with us. I was petrified of him. (With good reason)But first back to me and what got me into trouble. Like the time the men came with a Tar Machine to repair the road.
They left the Machine over the weekend beside the road so that I could come along and knock off all Gauges and play with them in my sand heap. In the shit again. No I didn’t get a hiding, worse, I had Tar all over my legs and my Mother got it off by scrubbing it with some sort of Stuff that shouldn’t touch the human skin. I screamed, I was not allowed inside; it was summer and the sun kept beating down on my painful legs. You would think that I learned from this. Nope! Sometime later that week I saw the Farmer next door, with Horse and Cart spreading Lime onto hi Field. After a couple of hours with him he commented how nice and “white” I was. You guessed it, in trouble again.
About this time my brother Karl-Heinz came back from the war, he was in English Prison Camp.
He was pretty sick and had Carbuncles all over him. My Mother used to put a glass against them to cure him. Karl-Heinz was her Son from her first marriage. My Dad was 20 years older than my Mum. People that old shouldn’t have children. He had 2 Sons, Erich & Lothar, Lothar died in the war. The next year my sister Ina was born. But we are not there yet.
Other things I remember are just short glimpses. Like my mother spend one night in Jail in the town of Bredstedt (8 Klm from Högel) she didn’t have her ID Card with her. At that time, this was a criminal offence. She used to go shopping in Bredstedt by swapping things for goods that we needed.
I also remember we were at “Tante Meinhards” (Aunty Meinhard) Meinhard was her husband’s name who had died some time ago and she became Tante Meinhard. She and her two sons lived out of town and a short distance from the road. I remember on the way to the house there was this giant Oak Tree. The best tree in the world for climbing, once you got up the trunk and to the first lot of branches. Close to the house was the Well where all the water for the household came from.
I was very frightened of the Well, no idea why. I remember playing with some other Kids near it, we were making “Mudpies” with real eggs. In trouble again! The Farmhouse was very old, it still had the doors that were cut in half, top and bottom. As the Story goes this was the practice all over the country. This was done by order of the local Duke, who owned everything, All doors facing his Castle the top part of the door was nailed shut. This way, whenever the people were leaving the house they had to bow down and those pay homage to the Duke. (Sick sense of humour I think)
But what I really remember as if it was yesterday is; my father one morning appearing out of nowhere, so it seemed to me, not in his beautiful uniform but in ill-fitting scruffy soldiers clothes. Apparently he didn’t know that I was watching him with fascination.
He took a shovel or spade, I couldn’t tell the difference, went over to the giant Acorn Tree and dug a hole at the bottom of it. In this he put all of his medals, pistol, pay book and his beautiful ceremonial Dagger which was given to him by Herman Göring for whatever. He must have been AWOL because I remember the war was still going on. Some nights when the “Enemy” flew closely over us we were hiding at rock walls in the paddock. Just outside of Högel, Hitler had one of his many Dummy airfields.
The Enemy used to drop their Bombs on these useless places instead of the real thing. When one of their planes got hit, I used to ask my father what the flames were and he told me that the pilot was lighting up a cigarette. Kids believe anything. The women of the town would go and look for Parachutes; they were made into beautiful shirts, blouses and ladies underwear. We kids used to collect brass cartridges. We were lucky living in a farming community, no food problems yet. (That was still to come)
Lots and Lots Refugees were coming through, we usually put them up in the Barn, and they took a lot of our precious food. The next Item I have no timeline on, but I remember the town got occupied by Russian forces, I don’t know whether they were regular or partisan. They had women with them. One of these women ordered my mother to make a pillow for her Baby. So Mum made one and stuffed it with Horse Hair.
The women were furious at this and my mother explained that with Horse Hair in the pillow the Baby could not suffocate besides we had nothing else. Just past the farm where we lived was the dirt-road to Hogelund. Anyway the men of the town were ordered to dig a large hole (I think it was so big you could bury a Bulldozer in it) Than all kinds of weapons including Knifes where buried in it. I wonder if anybody ever thought of digging them up? Anyway the Russians didn’t stay long and we all went back to our homes.
School! I didn’t think it was for learning, just socializing .Well lot of things happened during these years. We’ll start with the first day at school and think of the rest afterwards. My schoolbag came from the people we were living with. Which again was an “Aunty”, no uncle he and the eldest son died in the war.
But we had “Opa” (Grandfather) I liked him, he let me help him in the Vegetable Garden. I can remember the good times. Then there was Kalli, he was the youngest son and a hero of the town. He was a champion “Ring-Rider” . You say; what the hell is that. Once a year at what is commonly known as “Thanks given” The young men of the Town get to-gether on Horseback for the big event. A wire is strung across the road; in the middle of the wire is a round Ring, the hole approximately 30mm in diameter.
All Riders have a Lance about 1 metre long, 500mm of this is Handle and the rest is a steel rod, the better you are at this game, well, the longer your Lance is. Kalli’s Lance was the longest. The idea of the game was; you rode your Horse at full speed towards the ring hanging from the wire and getting the Ring onto your Lance.
Afterwards everyone celebrated with Homemade Brew that was made from Sugar beet. Syrup was also made from Sugar beet, the mush was put into a big Press, and similar to our wool press only it had lots of tiny holes in all four sides. The men would turn the big handle and the juices would come pouring out. What happened next I can’t remember? Then I remember peeled and cut potatoes were lying on big sheets in the sun that was to make potato flour.
When it was Potato digging time, Women and Children would follow the digger and collect all the Potatoes that the Farmer didn’t want. One day while being out there in the Paddock, I got a bit close to one of the Horses and he kicked me fair in the guts. Of-course I went flying and a fair distance too. Mum thought it was funny.
She has got a weird sense of humour. One day she took me to the Dentist in Bredstedt, I had some Teeth pulled out and on the way home she offered me an Apple. Another time I think she actually felt sorry for me. She had to take me to the Doctor in Holgelund to get Warts removed from my hands. I thought it was barbaric, the Doctor used sulphuric acid, Boy did I scream, they must have heard me in Högel. But I didn’t die and Life went on.
By now we were starting to run short of certain foods. The English Army was camped nearby but they couldn’t help us as they were short of food too. We used to get of them what we called Dog biscuits; they were salted biscuits like our Salada biscuits. But the best came from the Rubbish-Tip; Bricks of Cabbage were nice, big lumps of powdered Milk gone solid. It kept us Kids happy and contented for hours.
Bread was green and moldy, we used to cut all of the sides off and then eat it. For us Kids the Tip was like a Restaurant. Certain Grasses, once cooked tasted like Spinach. Most of the time I didn’t know what we eat. Meat was the same, most farmers slaughter d their own meat, cured it, made it into Sausages etc. I have eaten Horse, Donkey, Rabbits, Cats etc. Cat meat is sweet tasting but eatable,
The Gypsies taught us how to cook and eat Porcupine. You cover the Porcupine in Clay or similar and then place it on hot ashes. When the Clay is hard baked, you crack it open and eat the meat. We had a French POW by the name of Milon, he taught us how to cook and eat Cat.
He was a lovely person. I remember one day we had a very bad Thunderstorm and I was very frightened. Milon took me by the hand and led me to the Stable were the Horses where, he then told me that Thunder and Lightning never harmed horses and if I stayed with the Horses I didn’t have to worry.
His wisdom stayed with me for many years. One day I asked him if he could build me a Locomotive, He agreed to build one for me but I had to find lots of Iron, Tin etc. He said without it he could not build it. Funny things one remembers; one day I came home from school most upset and the Girl that worked for the Farmers asked me what was wrong, so I told her that we had learned the words to “Brams Lullaby”
And when it was my turn to sing some of it, I was told that I was no good at singing. So she told me to sing some for her and when I did, she said that I was very good. That made my day and I was very happy again.
Here I am talking about everything except for my first day at school. My school satchel came from “Aunty” that we lived with. It used to belong to her eldest son. It was made from real Leather and it was made so that you could wear it on your back. For writing on, we all had a piece of Slate which came from somebody’s Roof. I don’t know where they came from, but for writing with we had round pencil like pieces of Slate.
The big piece of slate had a hole in it at one side, a string was threaded through the hole and for most of us a piece of rag was attached to it, which was for wiping the slate clean (Where have I heard that before?) Kids with rich parents had a piece of Sponge instead of the rag. Your lunch was wrapped in Paper and was always soggy. Can you imagine Black Bread with Lard and Sugar? Yuk. It was always black Bread or Bread made from Corn flour. Double yuk.
Now that I was older, of course I got into more trouble. Some of the things I got up to where: throwing wires over the Mains Electric Wires, Throwing stones at horses as they with their wagons and driver came past my hiding spot, climbing up the Lighting Conductor up onto the roof of the barn, which was reed, and then used that as a slide coming down the roof.
There was lots more. At about this time I also started stealing money from my mother and bought things from the shop saying that I found them. Sometimes I would plant things along the road and when Mum and I went for a walk, I would “Find” them. My parents also were of the opinion that I destroyed everything they gave me. But I looked upon it as being inquisitive wanting to know how everything worked.
Over this inquisitively nature I got into lots of trouble. I can’t remember much about school, I was not a good student that was for sure.
My moment to Fame; while playing outside my normal play area I found lots of pieces of Flintstones among them what looked like a Dagger but chisel from stone. After playing with it for a while I took it to school to show my Teacher. I thought I might get some Brownie Points.
Teacher send the Dagger to the big “Smoke”. Well that caused an unexpected commotion with people from the Universidad coming looking for more stuff. They found stone Axes and other artefacts and I got my name in a Book. So I wanted to become an archaeologist. I might have had the brains but I was to lazy to study.
Meanwhile Opa died, when I was told I didn’t believe it so I went to his room to have a look. When I got into his room my suspicion was confirmed. He wasn’t dead he was just lying there. I knew that when people died, that they went to Heaven or Hell and he was still there. But later things were explained to me. Some weeks later a Girl about my age that I knew from school Died. She had drowned in the Town Lake.
This was very confusing to, as I thought that only old people died. For the Girls Funeral we all had to Dress in our good clothes and we walked behind the Coffin, we were told the Girl was in it, I didn’t want to go, but we, us Kids,
were all given a Basket with flowers which we had to chuck on the road, I was the first to get my Basket empty, my mum tried to give me some of her flowers but me and my mate snug of to play by the Lake. In the winter we used to play on the frozen lake and the big kids did Ice skating, at the beginning of the Summer the Farmers used to drive their wagons into the Lake and wash them, we used to help, but we got more dirty than clean, they also washed the Horses.
In the Summer we all went bathing in the Lake, but it was always cold. I never forget (for me it was a scary thing, I knew it was forbidden} one winter, 4 of us Boys 3 bigger than me caught a Girl, we got her onto the ground and tried to take off her underpants, we wanted to know what was so different about Girls, I don’t know who screamed louder the Girl or I. I don’t know why I screamed.
We never did get her pants off. She told her Parents what we had done and with our parents we had to see the local Pastor who gave us a lecture on Morals, which I didn’t understand. We all got a caning which hurt a lot. Later that year, it was winter a Girl that I knew very well showed me the difference between Boys and Girls. She was my Girlfriend and we were going to be married. We were 7 years old at the time. I was faithful to her till I left Högel at the age of 10 years.
There are not too many likes, playing with my friends, down the Hogelund road we had build a Cave, big enough for 4 kids to play in, we had no idea how dangerous this Cave was, we had virtually scooped it out of the small hill the sandy roof could have fallen in on us at any time, when a Horse & Cart came by, the sand used to come trickling down on us, but we weren’t worried. I also liked going for long walks with my Dad.
He did lots of walking for exercise. Some evenings we would sit by the fire and my Dad would light a piece of windscreen that he got from an enemy airplane. It smelled funny and he would only burn a little bit each night. My brother Karl-Heinz carved me a knife out of wood, it was my treasure. Karl-Heinz also once took me to a Circus in Flensburg.
He worked as an apprentice there. I thought he was just the greatest. I remember having to go to the Toilet but I couldn’t reach the Urinal. My brother stood me up on a box. I didn’t see him again for a very long time. I don’t think my father liked him.
But I did. I used to like going with my Girlfriend, her name was Hannelore. We used to have to look after the Cows. When we got hungry we used to eat Beet, they was nice. We did lots of things together feeding Chooks, Ducks and other Farm animals.
Not so nice; One day we were having our evening meal, my Father told me to take an empty bottle out to the rubbish bin and he said; don’t break it. I didn’t know but he followed me out and when I broke the bottle , he grabbed me and hit me continuously with a stick and when the stick was all broken up he grabbed another stick and then another and so on. Next day at school I told everyone that I fell of the Roof.
I don’t think many believed me. Another time when he had a Paper-round, it was about the time when Germany got a new Currency, he told me to go around and collect the money from everyone that was owed to my father. But he told me to make sure that I didn’t accept any of the old currency from anybody.
But that was easier said than done. I didn’t have the guts to stand up to any Adult and so I came Home with some old Currency. So my father got stuck into me again and next day the Kids at school teased me again about falling of the roof.
Next he sends me out to deliver the Newspaper, not in Town, but the surrounding areas. After a while delivering Papers, I hid the Papers under some Dirt and went to play with my Friends. By the time I got home my Dad knew what I had done. After I got a hiding, he made me get the papers and deliver them. I also had to explain to the Customers what I had done. My other Job was Baby Sitting, I hated it, and I was always scared that something would happen.
In them days one didn’t buy new saucepans when they had a hole in them. I always had to take them for repair and pick them up again. It’s embarrassing for a little Kid to say that they will get paid later. That’s when I knew why I got all the shithouse jobs. Speaking of Toilets, our Toilet was my favoured place to play in peace and Quite.
It was a fairly big room with a big wooden toilet that went from one wall to the other. I remember it was Green in colour and had a big square Lid. At another time I was send to my brother Erich in the town of Heide, he was my father’s son, I liked him very much, and he was always nice to me. I was told that on his 21st Birthday, my Father gave him a hiding.
My Father ruled by fear. Erich was a good man. He and his wife Hilde had two Children, Erni & Karin they were a few month older than me. Erni had built the biggest Cave you ever seen; you could stand up in it. We had great fun playing there and at the park in an old Tram. Karin was a real “Tomboy”. In the meantime Ina my Sister was born, 1946 September. I remember when she was born there was blood everywhere.
When I ask my Father he said that was where the Stork bit my Mother, after that I used to throw stones at the Storks. My sister was very sick when she was born. Her whole body was covered in Puss, except for her Ears. The doctor came everyday from Hogelund to make her better, but it took a long time.
The local Priest also came, I don’t know why. I think it had something to do with her name. The women from town used to come every day and bring us hot meals. That was nice.
One night when I was Babysitting her, I was lying in Bed and she was on the Couch. I woke up to this noise coming from near the couch. In them days because of the cold weather we had a Bucket for “PEE” and yes you guest it, Ina had fallen into the Bucked which was half full of “PEE”. I dragged her out by her Hair washed her and went back to bed, only this time I took her with me.
I don’t know when it actually was, but my Father got a Job in Westerland on the Island of Sylt in the North Sea at the Danish Border. During School holidays I went up there by Train and Stayed with my Dad. I met some nice Kids there but they stayed only a short time as they were on holidays with there parents.
When Karin came out to stay with us in Högel, she was always crying, she was homesick. Erich was the first person that I knew who owned a Car. I thought he must have been very rich, but he was just very clever. Soon he moved to Hamburg. I still got into lots of trouble, maybe it was in my nature, I just don’t Know. I didn’t want to be a bad Boy, but it seemed that I had no choice.
Karen & I 1954
A couple more things before we/I leave Högel. I remember Karl-Heinz came to see us. Gee, he can get into more trouble than me. He came to Högel to ask my parents for him to get married. That in itself was bad enough
, I don’t know what was the big deal, but I soon found out. The women he wanted to marry was a single mum with one child. Well, he got married anyway and they settled down not far from where we were going to live. He build a House for them and her parents. He those became the “Black Sheep” of the Family. But not for long.
Nearly all my relations lived in Hamburg Oma & Opa my Grand Parents on my Mother’s side lived adjacent to us. I stayed with them till our house was build or livable. I liked it with my Grandparents. Opa worked in Hamburg on the Warf and Oma spend most of the day in her garden or her Coal finding missions,
If you went down to the Powerhouse, by the foreshore of the river Elbe and you waited by the discharge pipes you could pick up the occasional piece of coal but on a good day you could get a bag full, which we transported home on our 4 wheeled Cart. The Winters in Hamburg get very cold and it was impossible to get Coal for your stove the Legal way. When I got older 11-12 I joined my Brother Karl-Heinz in pinching Coal of Railway Wagons. Sometimes the Police would shoot at us, but they were not trying too hard to hit us.
Meanwhile our house went up. It was a 2 roomed prefab. House made of wood, very popular in Finland. Once you had the floor down and the Brick Chimney in you just put the 4 sides up and then the Roof which was also made from Wood and covered with Tar-Paper.
Quite Cozy. One room acted as Kitchen & Dining Room and the other room was the Bedroom. Toilet was outside. Bucked. When it was full Dad used to dig a hole in the Garden and burry the content. My Uncles helped putting up the House and Toilet. One day I found a pistol where we were playing and I was dying to try it out. But I was afraid of the noise, so I stuck the barrel of the pistol into the toilet bucket and pulled the trigger, well you can imagine the rest. My Mother had two Brothers Uncle Otto and Uncle Heini she also had a Sister Käte
Who was married to Bruno, they had a son and a much younger Daughter, Bruno jr & Karin. Heini & Gerda had a daughter Waltraud. Otto & Else
had 2 boys my age Jϋrgen & Horst. That was a lot of help. Running water we had not and everybody used to send their Kids and their wagons 2 or4 wheel with a big up to 50 liters container to get the water. Later Uncle Otto build us a shed and we moved the toilet inside the shed.
Next we bought another house same as before and put the second one onto the first having a small hallway between the two of them. This house we left as one room and it became the Lounge room which was only used for special occasions. Then we build onto the first house another room which became a general room. By now we had a small Vegie. Garden and a few fruit trees. Both mum & dad worked and that left me to find trouble.
The worse trouble I could get into would be having friends over. No Fear, my father would always surprise us by coming home early and everybody would run for the hills so to speak. By 1952 we had our own water tap in the garden between Oma & Opas place and ours, we had to share.
In the winter we would still bring a bucket full of water inside because the water pipes would freeze-up. We would put paper and straw around the pipes and then make a fire hoping to melt the ice inside the pipes.
Some days we got Chocolate milk with Raisons at other times we got Soups like Ham & Pea, but it tasted sweet and anybody who found some meat used to sing out and we all cheered. One thing I do remember, that the Soup was always dished-out by pretty young Ladies.
I was no good at sport, so I just sat on the side or disappeared. I had some good friends there and I must admit the teachers really tried. Some of my friends were Rϋdiger, he was the quite intelligent type,
Holger, he lived closes we both looked like each other and so we both got continuously into trouble, Klaus, was older and the Artist, Olaf, could make a whip out of anything, as long it was stringy, Wolfgang, his mum owned the local pub. Horst lived with his grandparents, his parents died in the war and then there was Georg he lived the furthest away but we all went to the same school. Georg is the only one that I know that has passed away.
When there was more than two of us to-gather the teachers knew there would be trouble. Wolfgang always had money; he pinched it from the pub, that his Grandmother owned.
I always got in trouble for waging school, I sometimes go to Karl-Heinz and then get him to write a note to the Teacher. But he soon stopped that. Meany! I always got back at him and anyone else that crossed me. Our main hangout was the local Railway station.
Next to it was a big Bridge where the trains went under. Ever tried peeing into the chimney of a steam loco from above. I don’t advise it, it comes back and usually into your face. Under the Bridge where it was all railway property there were lots of service tunnels where we used to play. Then there were the railway yards also good place for playing.
I think we were like most kids all over the world playing Cowboys & Indians, Cops & Robbers etc. Not far from there was a landfill place where the trains used to bring all kinds of rubbish (Goodies to us) sometimes even old food which we ate if it tasted all right. Swimming hole or channel was also close by the girls even joined in. we all went in the same just dressed in our undies.
I remember later the Girls were made to dress in shirts, we didn’t worry, and their breasts were not big enough. Once the weather was warm enough (More than 21˚Degree) we would go to a place called “Boberg” there was a big Waterhole in the sand dunes surrounded by Bushes which where favored with boys and girls for the purpose of engaging in all sorts of sexual play. We started pretty young but then lot of it was just harmless play.
A another one of our play grounds was a heap of dirt some kind of embankment about 2 Klm long, leftover from the war, complete with bunkers and places with or for antiaircraft guns. We would find lots of leftovers from the war. We used to look for Bullets and anything we could take apart and use the explosives to make our own little bombs.
These things usually went off without a hitch but sometimes things went wrong. I know of one Boy who hit a Bullitt with a hammer, it exploded and he lost a leg. Two more boys lost their lives in similar incidences. One more of our favored pastimes were going around at night blowing-up Letterboxes. I remember my Grandmother complaining about me blowing up her Letterbox.
To which my father replied that it couldn’t have been me as our letterbox was also blown up. I was smart enough to blow ours up too. One Day I disarmed a German Hand grenade then went to the Railway station and as the People came from the Train I threw the harmless grenade into the Crowd. Result; enormous panic.
My Grandfather had grey Hair and my Fathers Hair was white, no wonder I used to pinch my Grandmothers Milk bottles so that I could go to the Cinema. When it came to getting money for the Cinema nothing was secret. I made a lot of my money by selling Scrap-Metal and clean lots of Newspaper.
I would walk long distances to find Rubbish tips where I could get my sellable scrap. I remember one day working for hours with hammer and chisel to separate Aluminum from some piece of Iron. As I got older I found a new venue off getting money. From the Church!
I used to volunteer to carry the Collection Box over to the Parish House and help myself to a small amount. Later I found out that the Pastor knew what I was doing. We later became good friends.
Makes for a good story “The Priest and the Thief”