JOURNAL OF A LIFE – The Long Hot Summers
“A Life Worth Living Is A Life Worth Recording”
‘Cowboy’ Joe Schroeder
JOURNAL OF A LIFE
The Early Years – The Long Hot Summers
We have had a wonderful, wonderful childhood. My childhood was full of all sorts of little episodes, happy ones, interesting ones, sad ones, and overall a wonderful sense of ‘being’, of ‘life’, of floating. It is worth recording, at least some of it. Not just the childhood but life, the whole journey through this life so far, as a little document of a life in the 20th Century. Just in case my grandchildren will be as interested in “the olden times” as I have always been. That is my reason for making this journal, to record a happy memory.
I remember when I was a child, and later in my teens, listening for ever fascinated to stories from older people. And when they were in their 50s or 60s it seemed all so long, long ago when I was in my teens etc. And now I am nearly 57, in fact when this is finally finished I might be in my early 60s myself, it is time to write some of the life and experiences down.
I was born in 1926, how far, far away that sounds even to me, and yet a lot of happenings are in my mind as if they had only happened yesterday
My parents were born in 1889 and 1893 which is the last Century and some of the tales will be of their telling.
My Grandparents were born in the 1860’s and that seems incredible, that I remember things which happened to people born that long ago. At least some of the things they told, and some of the things I did with them.
At least three Wars lie between those lives. The 1870/71, the so-called First World War 1914/18, and the so-called Great War 1939/45 in my own lifetime . And in between and at the same time lots and lots of other great and small wars. My wish would be that, when these words are read by my great-grandchildren that ‘War’ is as strange a word for them as Space travel is to us now. That would be wonderful.
THE LONG HOT SUMMERS
Up very early, that was us. At least in the summer it was. In the winter we could not get out of bed all morning and very often played in bed with these huge featherbeds of ours. They made ships, wagons, houses, Igloos, you name it, it could be made from a featherbed, depending on your imagination that morning But in the summer, up and dressed and out was the motto.
During schooltime we would be going swimming at least three times a week, first lesson, to the Jadebad, the swimming bath at the end of our road, part of the Ems Jade Canal. But in the afternoon we would go again because school always finished at the latest at half past one. Half past 8 until half past one was an average school day, from Monday to Saturday.
And so, this is how it was done.”Are you going to the bath this aft?” “But of course” “Right, when are we going, who is coming?” Well, nearly everybody was, nearly every time. One then went home and said to Mum: “Please, please Mum, can I have ten Pfennig please?? And one got this because it meant that Mum knew where her brood was for the afternoons And so, that was it.
The Picnic would be packed, consisting of two or three slices of bread with butter and sugar on it. And a bottle of Sugar water. Just cold water with a few spoonful of sugar dissolved in it. Lemonades and things were a rare treat. The swimming tackle packed and off we went, all kids together. It cost five Pfennig to go in and one had 5 Pfennigs to spend on an Ice, or Lolly or string of Liquorice. Sometimes when things were a bit short one only had ones entry money, of course, the other five was always a privilege. And sometimes we had one five to share between the lot of us. In that case it was liquorice which one could divide into pieces.
And then, quick undressed in the huge rooms for undressing, all things put neatly under the towel, checked Walter’s and other friends if their pile was neat, and off you went, into the water where you stayed hours and hours. Sometimes getting out and playing in the sand. A very large area of sand was behind the Cafe, where grown ups sat and drank coffee, flirted, danced etc. In and out of the water all afternoon, until you all decided that was enough for the time being. And then you all got your Sandwiches out, your Sugar water, and that tasted fantastic, melted butter and all, that was a great meal.
You see/you could not have it before, because you had to wait an hour after your meal before you could go into the water again, or your stomach would burst and all the insides would come out. Dreadful thought, so many things to remember. And many times that was the longest hour, to wait ’till you could go into the water again. The picture about that burst tummy was very real. Sometimes you could only go into the water again just before we went home, at about quarter to seven. Because Abendbrot, Supper, was at seven o’clock and one was never, but never late for any meal in our house. But these Jadebath times were a treasure. During the holidays from school one would go for almost the whole day, even in rain.
And once a year aunty Manny (Amanda), uncle Fritz and their two sons Fritzi and Enno would come for their 4 weeks holiday and stay with us. Aunty was Mum’s sister, he was a big shot in the Tax Office, A Civil Servant. And that was something in Germany. If you could be a Civil Servant you were made for life and you were above, far above the rest. But uncle Fritz was nice, the whole family. We looked so much forward to them coming each year. Fritz was almost Paula’s age, Enno about Walter’s. And they mostly came by Bicycle, the whole Family, All the way from Oldenburg about 50 km away. Quite a feat for the children. And that meant that there was a Bike to start with, oh wonder, that was great.
Paula and I looked forward to the boys bikes, it gave us a chance to ride Bikes, something fantastic. Me on Enno’s, she on Fritz’s. That took care of the first afternoons. Whilst they played Indians and that sort of things, we had the bikes. Then the whole family did everyday what they had come for, go to the Beach. And, of course, they took us children. That was wonderful. Even though it was a long hard treck in the hot sun, to get to the long green Strand in Wilhelmshaven, over the Kaiser Wilhelm Bridge, or over the Ferry at the Dyke Bridge. It was lovely when you got there and played, swam, did Gymnastics and all sorts of things all day long.
We always met up with Mum’s other sister, my favourite, aunty Anna, and uncle Kurt and their son Kurti (my best favourite Cousin, I loved him dearly) and some more friends of the Oldenburgers so we were a very large crowd and it was wonderful. We picnicked, did l gymnastics altogether, swam, shivered, swam again, fished for snails and star fish, sailed our little boats, said very nicely thank you for an ice cream one might get bought and it all was so wonderful in the long long hot summers at that time…
For myself, I hope that today’s post encourages us all to think of the summers of our own youth.
There must be something to this ‘Theory Of Relativity’ thing. Why do the summers of everyone’s childhoods seem so long?
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Published: May 19, 2014, 22:19 | No Comments on JOURNAL OF A LIFE – The Long Hot Summers
Category: Freedom Of Environment, Mind Freedom, Real People Helping Real People, The Story Of A Life