Today is the 50th year anniversary of people in Berlin waking up to find a lethal barrier between the two halves of their city.
My dad was a soldier in the US army & immediately deployed. I remember wondering if he would be home for my 11th birthday.
I don't remember if he was or not. I had one of those marvelously wholesome families as a child -- if he wasn't home on the right day, it would have been fine and familial celebrations would have continued in a happy, child oriented manner. (it wasn't until later that my mother went wack)
Thinking about the wall going up has brought back a plethora of memories from that time. Where I lived; how we lived -- military housing in complexes that had three stairwells, 6 apartments in each, connected by a basement that ran all the way through. The basements had laundry rooms and storage rooms but were primarily the domain of the many, many kids who lived there. During winter, we could actually roller skate through the depths of the building then clump up the stairs to pound on doors and invite friends to play.
Outside there were more complexes, playgrounds, 'the big hill', and a gap through a fence to ride bikes into the Gruenewald. I swear I can still see, in my minds eye, the roots of a tree as my front tire bounced over it before getting to a decent trail.
If I were a writer (sigh) I could go on and on about riding the U-bahn (never the S) with my brother to museums, the zoo, downtown-- anywhere we wanted to go. So much freedom then. Such a wonderful place to grow up. For me. But today I'm thinking about the wall and it's horror.
I'll never forget the people jumping the wall, crashing their cars through, sending their children through -- just to get to the west, to freedom and opportunity. The boy, Peter, lying there dying after being shot trying to escape. The wooden platforms built so people could stand high, look over, and perhaps see their friends & family.
I volunteered in an orphanage on weekends. It was fun for me, playing with the little kids & cleaning & boning up on my German. I didn't think about how many orphans were there because of the Wall.
Fifty years ago today -- much to think about on a beautiful day like today, nestled safely in my cute little house here in Northern California.