Looking for answers to life's questions

Our little family of four made the move back to Germany when my dad was reassigned there for three more years. I’m certain mom was glad to be back in familiar territory with her family some distance away but at least on the same continent. Not long after our arrival, my first little brother arrived.

We were technically in Base housing but not isolated or walled off from the city in general. There were five or six large concrete buildings one behind the next that had six apartments on each side and there were two sides to each building with a floor below for storage and a floor above each side that help maids quarters and a playroom at each end. The top floor and bottom basement that had storage units for extra personal things were the only floors that connected the two sides. Each apartment I believe had three bedrooms and one bathroom. There was no outside play area provided.

Mom holding my sister’s hand to keep her in the photo, Aunt Helga and one of her sons sitting in front of mom. Perpetual cigarette in hand. I took off my glasses for the photo

Directly across the street were rows of barracks facing us. Single GI’s lived there or those without families or without families along.. They worked odd shifts so they were there infrequently and stayed to themselves.

My little sister loved to dance and thought she was quite good at it. She didn’t even need music. I think she had her own music playing in her head. She was always happy and carefree with more energy all of us combined. Mom had her hands full and was in a chronic state of overwhelm so my sister just ran. She would sneak out and mom could do nothing till I got home from school as she had a newborn to requiring constant care.

I came in from school one afternoon to see mom staring across the street at the barracks across the street. The GI’s were looking up at the top of our building, which was almost a mirror image of theirs. Mom asked me to go upstairs to the 4th floor where the playroom and empty maid’s quarters were located and see if my sister was playing with the neighbor kids up there.

As I walked into the playroom, I saw my sister up on the wide window ledge with the windows open, dancing. She thought she was entertaining the troops and her friends, having the best time ever. She waved at the GI’s as they held their collective breaths. My heart stopped.

I may have only been 7 but I knew an accident waiting to happen when I saw one. Somehow, I managed to calmly talk her down without incident and took her home. As a hyperactive two year old, listening was not what she did well.

I was just grateful that my sister came down when asked. Probably one of the few times in her life she did as she was told. I wish that was the last time she was in that window or that someone had the foresight to put bars on them but I never saw that happen.

 

From my heart to yours,

Marlene Herself

Comments on: "SUZY Q Dancing in the Window" (65)

  1. Oh my, I’m relieved that you were there to help your sister, Marlene. I love how vivid your memories are. I’m afraid mine aren’t as clear. Do you think writing them down helps you to reflect more clearly? I love the photo! You look so happy. xo

    Liked by 2 people

    • There are so many things that I absolutely do not remember or remember differently than my sister. My memory is better than hers. 😉 I’ve meant to write these antics of hers for years so I’m taking the stories I’ve told for years and put them down own on paper. (so to speak.) I did look happy there which surprised me a lot when I saw the photo. Thanks for the visit. Have a wonderfilled weekend.

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  2. I just exhaled. Of course I know your sister is still with you, but the fear in your writing is palpable. You were a wise soul, Marlene, even at that young age. Your mother really counted on you.

    I also had a good giggle at the idea of a two year old dancing to entertain the troops. You’re a great story teller, Marlene. xo

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  3. Oh my goodness, Marlene, I was holding my breath reading about your sis dancing in the window. She sounds like quite the character!

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  4. When you get all these stories of your sister compiled the title of the biography could be ‘The Nine Lives of Susi Q’ Though the number may increase ….. 🙂 Heart-stoppingly told Marlene – great stuff!

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  5. The love for your sister shows in your writing Marlene. You took on a lot in being her big sister/caregiver. She was and continues to be lucky to have you.

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    • I consider her my first child. I’ve always tried to protect her from the world and herself. We are very close though very different. Thanks for stopping by.

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  6. I was so afraid she was going to jump out just to see if she could fly or dance on the air. I’m so glad you got her down. The last paragraph sounds ominous ….

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  7. Oh, what a heart-stopper. Well done on the calm talk-down, I’m not sure I’d have had the nerve.

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  8. Having met Suzy Q a few times myself, I can definitely see and feel that that spunk from the early years is still there! You do a wonderful job of bringing your sister alive in your stories! 💖

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  9. Well, your sister was a daredevil. Wow. And you were so calm and collected even at that age which was a good thing. My mom had the ever- present cigarette in her pictures too. Until she quit cold turkey one day. But I always remember her with a cig when I was young. It was the times I think.

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    • My sister is still the same way. Cigarettes came with my dad’s rations so they were exposed and hooked early. It took her a long time to kick it but dad never did.

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  10. What a huge responsibility you had!

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  11. A wonderful photo and a wonderful story ❤

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  12. Oh my goodness you poor thing being in the position of having to talk her down, and very well done on managing it. Your Mother was lucky to have you, as of course was Suzi Q

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    • Thank you, Cathy. Things ended better than they could have. I think I was sent here just to take care of mom and sis. They both needed all the help they could get. 🙂

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  13. You told this story so well! Your sister was a pip!

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  14. I really enjoy reading these stories from your past Marlene! Hope the you are enjoying your weekend.

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  15. Oh, Suzy Q! You were there, Marlene. Thank goodness!

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  16. Wow, childhood antics were rather dicey at the time weren’t they? Now a day’s, child services would probably be involved, LOL. Thank goodness you were such a reliable 7 year old. I think we all were a bit more mature back then. No one driving us to and from school, sports activities or really anywhere’s. I guess it’s just too dangerous now to allow that kind of independence. So, did the teachers speak German in school? Or did you go to an American school on base? What really struck me when we traveled in Germany was how tidy and clean it was. A big contrast from Italy although I loved both countries. The Italians must take more time for fun and leisure. Was your family able to travel around much on summer break? Mr B is from a military family. But he was too young to have many memories. How nice that you do and that you’re writing them down. Fun read dearest ! Toodles xo k

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    • It was a very different world back then for certain. I have to admit I had a daughter very much like my sister. Daredevils with no fear. They are so hard to keep track of that I ended up putting mine in a harness when we went out shopping because she would be so quick to disappear. We did not travel much other than a Sunday drive on occasion. Germany is exceedingly clean by comparison to most countries. Not real relaxers in that bunch. My mother had 4 of us in base housing and we never had a fingerprint anywhere. School was taught in English by teachers brought from the states. Mostly young and inexperienced. We did have a little bit of a class to teach many of the children German but it was my primary language so you can imagine how that went with an American trying to teach German to me. 🙂 More of my sister’s antics coming soon.

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      • I am familiar with the whole German house cleaning mode as my mother was German. We all had chores from very young.
        I laughed at “not real relaxers in that bunch” , because Mr B has accused me of not knowing how to relax. Which is why I don’t do well on a beach holiday. He can sit and read for hours while I lose my mind after 30 minutes, LOL xo

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      • I’m MUCH better at relaxing than when I was your age. Now I have spurts energy and more down time. 😦

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  17. I held my own breath while reading this Marlene.. Thank goodness your little sister did listen that time and came down from the window.. Phew.. Amazing isn’t it how certain memories stay alive in our minds so clearly while others have gone for good.
    I love reading your story of your childhood and enjoyed seeing the old photos you share.. 🙂

    Have a Peaceful week Marlene.. Love and warm well wishes your way xxx ❤

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  18. What a great story, Marlene\ my two boys were similar in many ways, but I was a bit, too. So I’m not surprised; just glad you saved the day. I hate those harnesses, but Mum got one for me after I got away from her in downtown Vancouver (BC) in ’49. She was carrying my first brother, a baby, and if an older lady hadn’t grabbed me at the corner, I’d likely not be here today. So I do understand the necessity at times. 🙂 You know, I do think being the eldest is generally a good thing, as it gives us much-needed skills that come in handy later in life. I’m not really close to my brothers & sisters, as you are. We love each other, but I’m just too different from them in too many ways. You are so lucky to be close to each other despite the differences. I can’t tell you how much I’m enjoying the stories about Suzi Q; you spark so many of my own memories, from my own childhood and from my sons’. Thanks for sharing with us. I also love the way you write; I can see and feel what you describe as I’m reading.
    Love and Light to you, Marlene. ~ Linne

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    • I didn’t need the harness for my son. My daughter was like greased lightning and when I found her out in the mall parking lot with a man giving me the bad parent daggers. I went back into the mall and bought the harness. She had no fear and that was dangerous where we lived. I’m not that close to my younger brothers but have always tried to help my sister whenever possible. Hugs to you as well, Linne.

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  19. Oh my! I held my breath as I pictured Suzy Q dancing on the window ledge! You were (and still are) wise beyond your years, Marlene. ♡

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  20. Wow, Marlene! That must have been so scary for you! You were very brave; she is fortunate to have you. 🙂

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  21. Oh my! You’ve mentioned before that your sister got herself into some pretty tough situations but I had no idea she had been so close to danger. She was very lucky to have you as a big sister to save her and give her the chance to live a long life.

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  22. What a wonderful big sister you are, Marlene!! I wish your were my sister!! Sisters often share a special bond.

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    • I was born to mother, I think. That’s more or less the relationship we’ve had, more than just sisters but we have pulled each other along through lots of tough spots in life. She’s taught me a great deal as well. Thanks for stopping by.

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  23. Wow! This reads like quite the fiction story! I was quite riveted and hoping, hoping, hoping that your sister would be well. 🙂 I’m glad for a happy ending, even though there was a suggestion of repeated danger with that apartment window. Whew!
    I must say your stories are quite fun to read. I get the storyteller version of history through your literary lens and for that, I am grateful.
    I hope your January – fast as it has been – has been relaxing and that you’ve been able to stay nice, warm and cozy. 🙂 I’m glad that you said you’ve had a chance to do some healing and I hope that it continues. I’m sending you lots of healing thoughts, love and light and hopes for a fruitful healing journey.
    I look forward to reading more of your incredible stories and experiences. Be well, friend! Sending hugs!

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    • Thank you so much for your kind words. My sister came by yesterday and reeled off another adventure she had in her 20’s that would make any mother’s hair curl. I know she has Angels sitting on her shoulders. I’m glad you enjoyed the story. Getting better every day. Have a wonderfilled week. Hugs.

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  24. Oh my goodness Marlene, I was holding my breath there too! What a scare, so glad it turned out well. What a great photo, those sepia family shots really do tell a story don’t they? All the women, except my granny and mother, had cigarettes in their hands in their photos. Everyone smoked it seemed. I’ve missed you, trying to find my way back to some measure of blogging while finishing my memoir. The past two years have knocked me pretty flat, I’ll admit. So glad to see you still blogging, sharing your rich and wonderfully written memoirs. Big hugs to you my friend… ❤

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    • Thanks for stopping by, Sherri. I wish I had more photos of those years but no one had the time to take any. They are incredibly old black and whites that have withered with age. I have struggled to keep blogging as well but seems I can’t give it up. I’m going to be doing a lot more writing this year. Running out of time so it’s imperative. Hope to see your memoir on the Amazon list soon. I know how much work that takes and you’ve had so much else going on. Hope you will take some time to keep us up to date. Miss you a great deal too though keeping up with blogs has been rough lately. Giant squishy hugs.

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      • Always such a pleasure to visit you dear Marlene. I so much enjoy your memoirs, and so glad to hear you’ll be spending more time writing. I love your writing and storytelling. So glad you’re still blogging, but I I feel the same way about it being a struggle, yet not able to give it up! The battle between finding time to finish the memoir and blog never goes away. Hoping to get an update post out very soon and will keep tabs on you here. You can’t get rid of me that easy, ha!!! Lovely chatting dear friend. Have a good week and giant squishy hugs right back 🙂 xoxo

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  25. I think we have very similar sisters 😉

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    • I’m so sorry. 🙂 They do keep life interesting. I see your post and am working my way there. My sister is coming today to drop her truck off at the mechanic and help me do some heavy lifting today. I’ve had bronchitis and struggling through and way, way behind. My sister is quite the character. More stories coming. Have a wonderfilled week. Hugs.

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      • Hahaha…had a big chuckle when I read your first line 😁 Mine is quite the character also…thats for sure!!
        Sorry to hear about your bronchitis…take good care of yourself…it is important to rest to get better!! (From one who does not take her own advice!!😉)
        💜💜

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  26. I’m so relieved that this story ended well, Marlene! You are a real hero! It’s not always easy to keep calm in the face of danger and many people fail at it. You didn’t and what’s more at such a young age too!
    As to perpetual cigarette – I know them well from my family pictures! Everyone seemed to have smoked back then and sadly most still do. I never did smoke and I’m not planning to! 😊 Hugs!

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    • I would watch my mother panic and knew that wasn’t going to help so I learned to stay calm in a crisis. It’s served me well. I did smoke on and off when I was young and my nerves were shot. But never enough to get addicted if that tells you anything. On a rare occasion I would light one but never had the time to actually smoke it. I would sell the cigarettes my husband brought home for me and he never understood where I got my spending money. Ha, ha. 😉 Fooled him.

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