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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

More Memoirs..........Ever Eat Newspaper?............Another Symptom?

I got to thinking a few days ago ( I think that's when I was thinkin') regarding my memoirs and my inclusion of them here in the blog, and I came up with the following answer: These will all be my memoirs one day, right?

Also, it may help the reader get to know me better, and I believe that's a good thing.

By the way, I think that making my blog public was also good in that I have seen an increase in visits/readers, so thanks for that idea, Eileen!
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Sooo. Ever eaten newspaper? I have and it was during the time I lived with my Grandmother in East Germany, which was, at that time still under Communist (Russian) rule. My Mother had contracted Tuberculosis during that time and my American Dad wasn't able to take care of me, so off I went to Zeitz, where my Oma and four uncles lived ----- in abject poverty.

I have written before in this blog about our living conditions (3 to a bed, the rats, the filth and the lack of food), so I won't bore you with that again, except to tell you that when we did have food, we were expected to eat all of it ---- all of it. An apple, for example when finished, should only have the stem and the seeds left. The cheapest cut of meat was pork and we ate every part of the pig but the "oink". This included sucking the marrow out of each bone.

I hope I haven't ruined your lunch? No? Okay, weiter geht's ("on we go").

I have also written about my thievery during those times. Eggs, mostly, but sometimes potatoes, cabbages and carrots. My uncles and I were never prosecuted, but were ordered to work with the farmer from whom we stole, and he, being a kind man, fed us there and always sent home enough food to feed all of us.

Still waiting on the newspaper-eating, aren't you? Okay. I won't keep you in suspense any longer.

Because I was the youngest in the family (5) it was important that I be fed first, but sometimes there was just no food and we all had to resort to going to the nearby Russian camp to beg for bread or whatever leftovers there may have been.

I don't know which of my uncles had the great (?) idea that newspaper, which used to be trees, but which was mulched down into paste, might take up enough space in my tummy to ward off hunger pangs, and at that time there was plenty to be had in the form of advertising and flyers and such. So that's what we did: I was given some newspaper paper to eat sitting in front of the local elementary school with an empty coffee can for a few "Kroschen" (ten pennies).

It worked. I felt sated for a time.

When school let out, there I'd be, stuffing my face with newspaper and with a big ol' grin on my face. The kids (especially the girls) thought it was cute and sad at the same time, and dropped a few coins in my can and that went for whatever little my Oma could afford to buy. She worked part-time at a nearby bakery, and every now and then, after work, the baker would give her a little of whatever bread, rolls, and (yum) pastries which weren't sold that day. On those days, we ate like Kings (and their Queen).

What we didn't realize at the time, was that the ink on the paper was actually poisonous and if consumed in too large a quantity could set up serious intestinal problems - not to mention blacken my teefs. So when I began to vomit, we stopped it for a time.

Luckily, I didn't have to do that for too long because two of my uncles had been hired by the guy we had stolen from and began bringing home enough to feed all of us.

So there you have it. Am I proud that we had to resort to this to feed me? Hell, yeah! We did what it took to survive, and here I am able to tell you about it - so yeah, I'm pretty proud of all of us - thieves, beggars and one eater of newspaper.
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So now I want to tell you about a new symptom I just discovered a few days ago, which I hope you find as hilarious as I do.

I went into the kitchen to fix myself a little midnight snack of some cold cuts, and as I was laying them on the plate, I told myself, "Don't forget the mustard", and I told myself this all the way back to my bedroom without the mustard. I just sat there, shook my head and smiled. "So it's come to this now", I told myself.
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1 comment:

Bethie said...

Wow. I have been poor before, I'll admit, but I have never gone hungry. It reminds me of the passage in the Good Earth where the children ate the soil to fill their bellies.
The fact that you sometime find your symptoms "hilarious"? More proof that you can survive. you will survive, come hell or high water. I am proud to call you friend. Love ya & junk!