While young Manny Kaiter will mature to become the man who marries Buddy Holley's sister, in this volume, he faces more threats to his life. He and older brother, Siegie, play with explosives and loaded wartime weapons. They face incredible dangers, including the feared rape of his mother. He tries to grow up normally in the aftermath of war torn Germany. His efforts culminate, at age 16, in an attempt to flee the East German Communist menace in a boat cobbled together by his father by crossing the Baltic Sea to Sweden. "Sounds interesting!"
hings were pretty dreary after Gunther left. Since we weren't on the road running from the Russians and the SS, Siege and I bad time to locate things. We discovered that Castle Willigrad had its own little theater. We found it, and we investigated it. We returned to the cottage at lunch wearing costumes and carrying ceremonial swords. I was carrying an extra suit of clothes, and Siege had on a baron's ceremonial robes. We had barely shown our prizes to Mom when we beard a knock on the door.
swung the bazooka around and started around the cottage behind Siegie. He stopped suddenly. I bumped into him and almost dropped the bazooka.
Siegie said, Yikes!” The grenade slipped from his hands.
I gasped, “What’s wrong?”
Siegie grabbed my arm. Wordlessly, he pointed at the American soldier whose head and shoulders were sticking out of the top of the tank with his hands on a large mounted machine gun.
I swallowed hard. Slowly I put the bazooka on ...
guess the Americans had been in Willigrad for about three weeks when they found a school teacher. They rounded up all of the kids who had come to Willigrad and put us in a building. The teacher had been a retired train conductor. They pressed him into service as a teacher. Siegie started to school wearing a bandage across the top of his forehead. Mom put one small bandage over each of his eyebrows. His lips were swollen twice their normal size. He looked strange.
We stayed away from school as muc...
ust before the Russians arrived, Siegie and I were sitting on the curb where we had sat when the Americans arrived. Dad was in the kitchen in the great hall of the castle. Mom had gone for a quick visit in the chapel with the other women and children. The other women, wives and daughters, were in the chapel of the castle dressed as nuns. They had most of the children with them. Siegie and I were supposed to be there too, but we just hadn't gotten around to going there.
When the Russians arrived, t...
he Commandant sat uneasily on his horse. He looked down at Dad. He had previously told Dad that he liked him because Dad was the only German who could speak the mother tongue, Russian, in a God forsaken country. He turned in the saddle, and looked up and down the row of lakefront cottages. He said to Dad in Russian, "There's a group of people huddled around someone down there, comrade Kaiter." He nodded in the direction of the group.
Dad looked in the direction the Commandant was nodding. He said,...
ad drove all night, slept the next day, and drove all night again. He believed that very few people would be on the roads at night. Few if any German citizens had gas of any kind. The Russian army had gas, but the army wouldn't be out at night wasting fuel, because the war was over. So, he drove at night. He didn't travel very fast either. He said our car couldn't travel very fast because we were pulling a heavily loaded trailer. We were able to travel only thirty or thirty-five miles per hour.
Siegie and I cried.
Luther cried too, but he cried because all of us were crying.
Dad just stood there with his arms around us. He said, "I know it looks bad now, but things have looked bad before, and we've made it. Don't worry. I'll find a way to get us there, somehow."
We were standing beside our trailer wondering what we were going to do when the commandant rode up on his horse. He didn't dismount but sat upon his horse and looked down at us.
He spoke to Dad i...
reakfast was pretty quiet that morning. The bread was good, but we didn't talk much. I wondered what we were going to do. I know Mom was worried about it. She ate with her head down. After breakfast Dad took all of us outside and talked to us at the trailer.
He said, "Listen. This is the situation. We have powdered eggs and powdered milk in the trailer. We have cheese in there, and the army rations along with the rest could last us another six months.
If we're stuck in Popenteen that long, w...
Monday morning Dad set about showing Mom how he could make vodka. He assembled a couple of metal milk containers and some tubing he had found somewhere. Whenever he was out looking for work, his mind always catalogued and stored odd bits of information about things he had seen, and now he drew upon his memory to find the parts and pieces he needed to make his cooker. He brought the parts to the apartment and arranged them. He put several empty milk containers in the bedroom and assembled something he cal...
ad was gone four days, and we paced anxiously awaiting his return. On the third day, we heard a knock at the door, and I went to see who was there. I opened the door, and an old farmer, about five feet seven, with floppy hat, large mustache, thin face and pointed nose stood at the door. I looked at him twice, and my mouth dropped. Before I could say anything, he said, "Don't you know your Grandfather Kaiter?"
Across the room behind me, Mom squealed, "Grandfather!" Siegie came out of the bedroom an...
he next morning Dad came to Siegie's and my room to wake us for the big day. Mom and Dad had let me spend one last night at home before Schultz and his wife were to come and pick me up. Dad stepped into our bedroom and said, "Siegie, Manny, it's morning. Get up."
Siegie rolled over and sat up on the side of the bed. Dad said, "Siegie, wake Manny." He turned and walked toward the kitchen.
Siegie flipped back the covers on my side of the bed, blinked several times and said, "He's not here, Dad...
Grandmother went into the house to change into dry clothes, and Grandfather found another place to hide his piglets. A few days later, about a week before my tenth birthday, Grandfather received a message from Dad that I needed to come home so that I could get back into school. Grandfather decided that we should return to Jarmen to look into the school situation and to see how things were going with the oil press. Saturday morning, we put my bicycle on the back of Grandfather's wagon again and drove to J...
irthdays and time passed. I had made a commitment to myself and to Grandfather. I was determined to keep that commitment. When I returned to Jarmen after my tenth birthday and enrolled in school, I became the best at everything I did. I applied myself in school and made the top grades. As the other students did, I joined the clubs and organizations that were popular with them.
I found a girlfriend who liked only me. I became the class leader and won awards for academic excellence and for leadersh...
uring the next week at Insel Ruegen, I watched the boat traffic from the brick mason school. The school was on a high point on the island near the boat traffic. As I laid brick during the day, I kept my eye on the comings and goings of the boat traffic. When I saw a patrol boat leave, I wrote it on a piece of paper and stuck the paper in a breast pocket of my work frock. When I saw the same patrol boat return, I marked the return on the same piece of paper.
After work classes, in the evening, I we...
cared out of our wits, we stood frozen. Then, slowly, the spotlight moved, and the government’s boat continued upstream. My knees were shaking so bad that I couldn’t stand. I slowly sank to a sitting position on the boat.
Dad said, “We’re going to spend the night here.
My mind screamed, “What?”
Dad said, “I don’t think we could go through another fright like the one we just had tonight. Everyone find a comfortable spot, and I&rsq...
anfred returned to Sassnitz to complete his education. At the age of seventeen, a full year ahead of most of his classmates, he graduated. He teamed with five other of his classmates who graduated a year ahead of their classmates, and became the leader of their work brigade.
Since he had learned to speak Russian and understood the Russian system of doing business, he took his work brigade to Berlin where things were happening. There he became caught up in the winds of change. Daily there were rumo...