The Old German Woman
The Knife On The Table
The Old German Woman
The woman who lived in the house was old. She had white grayish hair which she wore in a bun on top of her head. The day I met her she had a dress on; In those days women wore house dresses. The dress had a matching belt made out of material that matched her plaid pink dress. Her shoes were those old fashion leather black ones with black shoestrings and the shoe had a thick black heel. The shoes were overly plain. The kind of shoes elderly women would wear. A small part of the leg could be seen and the legs were covered with thick black knit stockings. She had a black apron on that tied around her waist. The top part of the apron went over her head. She has a maroon flannel scarf on her head. She had been outside getting wood for the wood stove. Her wood stove was used to cook and heat the room. On top of the stove she had a pot of soup cooking. I didn't know what kind of soup it was but it sure smelled good. She was a short chubby lady and later I could see why.
How do you judge others?
The Old House
She lived in a very modest house, really closer to a shack. It was made with a tin roof that was silver with a little rust on the edges. The outside walls had green shingles. The house sits far from the road. The whole house was probably 500 to 600 square feet. In the house were neuromus black and white photos of Germany. It showed the beauty of her flower garden and her old farm. She had a very large garden with photos of her family in the garden.
The old woman was probably about 65 years old or older. I told the kids she was in the 40's or 50's that was real old for me. All the kids that road my bus told me she was an old witch and real mean. No one was ever there to visit so I really do not think anyone knew her.
It was Saturday morning and three of my friends walked down the road pass the old witch's house. When we saw her we all ran fast. One of the kids wanted one of us to go to the witches house and knock at the door. We drew a line in the dirt with a stick and found some stones. Whoever got the stone pass the line didn't have to go. Barbara threw her stone and got past the line. Kathy got hers past the line. I had to get mine past the line. I knew I didn't want to go.
My stone didn't make it across the line. All I could hear was the word chicken. I just wanted to go home, but knew it was not possible. I would have to save face and go to the witch's house and knock on the door. They all kept calling me a chicken. I told them I would do it.
The Old House
Hiding In The Ditch
The kids laid down in the ditch so no one could see them. I was scared I was going to die. My heart was pounding so hard though my ears. I tried to knock at the door, but when I did the witch opened the door. She sort of spoke English, but it was broken. She gestured for me to sit at the table. I sat in the chair and in front of me on the table was an old butcher knife with a loaf of homemade bread. The knife was real old and had a dirty look. I guess after years of cutting the blade turns black. The blade was about 7 inches long. I am sure as a 9 year old I made the knife much bigger. I didn't like the knife next to me. My big imagination thought all kinds of terrible things.
She asked me if I wanted tea. I told the old woman no thank you. She asked if I wanted blueberry ice cream. I told the old woman I wanted ice cream. She went to the old small ice box, then opened the cabinet and got out 2 melmac bowls and put ice cream in each bowl and told me to eat. It was very good, and if this was poison this was certainly the way to die.This was the best blueberry ice cream I had ever eaten. Actually,this was the only blueberry ice cream I had ever had in my life.
Old German Women
I Could Hear The Kids
The kids outside were yelling something. I could not make out what the kids were hollering. The old woman opened the door and we could hear the kids hollering. The kids wanted to know if I was dead. The old lady looked like she was letting out a little laugh, but quickly covered her mouth.
I finished the ice cream and told her I needed to go home. I really did need to go home and use the bathroom after being so afraid. She told me goodbye and to come back. I only remember running down the driveway and meeting my friends. It was like my feet just flew. I just told them all I got away from the witch. They asked me if she was a real witch, and I told them you bet.
This was the day I found out she was a German. She was a German lady and there was no reason to be afraid of her. In those day people seamed to really care about what other people thought. I had no idea what a German lady was, I just knew the other kids missed some fine homemade ice cream.
Don't Judge People
Over the years I continued to visit the old German lady until she died in 1964.We didn't do a lot of talking but did do a lot of smiling and eating. She was a fantastic baker and made cinnamon rolls that weighted about a half pound. If you never ate one of her pretzels you have never had the best.
What did the old German woman teach me? She taught me never to judge people because they are different. She brought me peace and safety in my childhood, a good place to visit. A lesson never to be forgotten by me. It was not till I grew up and heard about WWII, I figured out why the neighbors did not visit. They sure missed a good woman.