Showing posts with label German. Show all posts
Showing posts with label German. Show all posts

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Hound Dog

I’ll never forget that snowy winter morning when I was ten. At seven a.m.,  it was still dark, and frosty outside, my Dad would crack the upstairs hall window and stand there smoking his Kent cigarette staring into the blackness, waiting for the dawn.

His deep, throaty Guten Morgen Cornelia, exhale matched mine as I echoed my answer,
Morning Dad, close that window, its freezing I can see my breath!!  Mom tell him to close the window, we are ALL going to get sick!

KURT, Connie, Angie come look; Mom screeched from the Kitchen; I just saw the hound dog!

I beat them into the kitchen  as Mom continued to wave towards the window, as her eyes grew wider. She was so excited, I thought she would burst.

What, I countered?

The Hound Dog, the HOUND DOG!

Okay Mom, back up. What hound dog? The neighbor’s dog? What dog?
She shook her head emphatically and said
The Hound DOG has no shadow! 
That means Spring is coming early this year.


Sunday, November 20, 2011

What's In A Name?

What’s in a name you ask? Plenty! I have four reasons to be thankful. My parents were so proud when I came along that they gave me two middle names.  Both sides of the family were represented and equally proud, for I was the eldest grandchild on Dad’s side of the family and on Mom’s side, well, let’s just say we were the ones that moved away and settled in America.

America oozed golden opportunity.  America was where all our dreams would come true, where my parents could escape war torn Germany and start over with a clean slate.  Or so they thought.  It was the late 50’s but America still doled out its judgment to the immigrants and we did not escape unscathed.  I can still remember having to report my address every January to the immigration department. Today I no longer have to do this, I’m a citizen, but back then I was an alien with a green card and a number.

My parents and I flew in on an airplane, so we managed to avoid Ellis Island.  Our first apartment was on the east side of Manhattan on 83rd street between 1st and 2nd avenue.  I don’t remember the exact number but I do recall it being in a four story brownstone building and that it was a railroad apartment, the kitchen on one end and the living room on the other, overlooking the street.  I remember the fire escape in the back of the building outside the kitchen window. Mainly because that was where I used to throw out all the gray vegetables that Mom had boiled to a premature death. I hated vegetables with a passion.  I remember the men opening up the red fire hydrants out on the curb on hot muggy summer days and the force of that water as we ran beneath it shrieking with glee.  I also remember many late afternoons looking out the window after Mom left for work with my two year old sister Angie, waiting for Dad to come home.  The neighbors were asked to listen in, just in case I had a problem.  I was the responsible one at 8yrs. old.  My sister Angie wasn’t too happy about this and I wasn’t exactly thrilled either, but we survived.

We were the kraut kids with a Polish last name.  My last name ended with S K I.   My parents swore we were German, I swore that I would survive my names especially the first one, Cornelia pronounced KORE-NAE LEEAH when dad was disappointed with my behavior after a long day at work.  Or if god forbid, my sister had a scratch on her. What my parents called discipline back then would have had us kids screaming for the police today.  That was way before kids had rights but I was tough and stubborn, and before long my parents moved us up to the country following closely behind my uncle and his family.   

I said goodbye to my two boyfriends; Oscar the rich boy with the Spanish maid who would take me home for lunch on school days and Richard, the cute boy across the street who happened to be a really good kisser.  It was in the summer after I completed 2nd grade when I packed my bags and without a second glance flipped the city the bird.  We were getting away from the crowds and the crime. 

 My parents planned to take us kids to a safe place where the air was fresh and clean, to the land of white picket fences and as I later found out, to the land of the brothers Grimm. The city had nothing on the country, which was where all the perverts crawled out of their hiding places. Being a kraut kid wasn’t exactly something you wanted to let spread around, too many drunken war heroes, dirty old men and brawny dykes and those were just the next door neighbors and the parents of my new found friends—oh joy!

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