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  • Tom Boyd

Mother Stories

Mother was barely more communicative than Father. Mother (1923-1996) being German and living in Germany until 1948 must have had some interesting experiences. I only have two stories of her German years; the first told to me by my Grandmother and the second told to me by my Mother shortly before she died.

1. In late 1945 Mother found herself in her home town, near Berlin. A war widow living with a three-year-old boy and her mother, she did not want to live in the German zone controlled by the Russians. (She hated the Russians, I never asked why). She hitch hiked, very few trains running (war damage extensive), and walked to Giessen, some 330 miles away and in the American zone to find a better place to live. Giessen was a university town and not heavily bombed. She then came back to Berlin to get her mother and her son and again, now with them, hitch hiked, and walked to Giessen. She did not see her hometown or her cousins again until 1987. A very determined lady.

2. So many Germans fled the eastern zone, controlled by the Russians, that the British, French, and American zones were sending the Germans back to the eastern zone unless they could prove they had a job or family in the west. Mother had neither and had to go to the American court and face being “deported.” The German “underground” arranged for her to have a fiancé for the court appearance so that she could remain in Giessen. She and her fiancé had not met until that day. The court gave her 30 days to get married or get a job. She got a job working for the Americans where she met my Father. I was born in Giessen in 1948.

In 1983 while Mother (then 60) was visiting her mother in Giessen and as they were walking down the street, a man across the street yelled out to her and ran over. It was her fiancé from 1946 and they had not seen each other nor stayed in touch since that day in the court. He recognized her after all those years and from across the street. Life is funny.

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