By Esther Starobin
The meal was over; the table was cleared; we were all sitting around. Then it began; the cousins were silent as they waited and listened. I asked Edith, my second oldest sister, to tell us about the time she ate all the cookies hidden in the front room of our home in Adelsheim. She began as she had done so many times before by telling us how the front room was for company only, but she knew the cookies were hidden in there. She reminded us that she knew what her punishment would be when she was found out. Then she told us how she ate up all the cookies, one by one. The story is always the same; any of her nieces and nephews could relate the story.
Next I ask Bertl, my oldest sister, to tell us about the scooter Uncle Sali gave her. She described the scooter and our father’s outrage that his child should be given such a gift. Our father chopped the scooter to pieces because he didn’t want his children getting hurt on such a dangerous toy.
So it goes. We, or rather I, ask a question about some incident that happened in Germany before the bad times. My sisters tell the stories; we all listen and enjoy the retelling. It is almost as though we were there. Finally all the familiar stories have been told.
There is a pause as one of our kids gets up the courage to ask a question that has not been asked before.
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