Chapter 30: If Only Us... Chapter 30

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Romance

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Three weeks to the day Claus called me and said the apartment was ready for us.  I thanked him and turned to Virginia.

“We have a new home, Honey.  Claus said the apartment is ready.  We need to go sign papers.”

“Oh, wonderful!  I’ve been packing some of our stuff so we can move almost right away.  Can we borrow your dad’s bus to help move?”

“I imagine we could.  We could even take the rear two sets of seats out to give us more room.  I’ll go ask.”

I went over and tapped on the connecting door.  My sister pulled it open and said that dad was in the living room.  I went in and asked.  He said yes and that he’d even help us move.

Virginia and I went down to Claus’s little office and signed paperwork.  Most of it had thoughtfully been translated into English.  The deal looked good, the money was right, so we signed and had our very first home to ourselves.  We shook hands with Claus and he handed us our keys.  He smiled broadly, knowing that we would immediately go to the apartment but also asked that we be there at seven this evening for the housewarming.  We told him we’d be there and left for the apartment.

We poked around and looked at the great job he’d done painting and fixing up.  The steps to the attic were nicely varnished and when I peeked into the space it looked large enough to store almost all of our things we weren’t using at the time.  The stove seemed different until Virginia said she thought it was new.  The on-demand hot water fired up and produced very hot water.  I found the adjustment and turned it down a little so we wouldn’t be scalded or, more importantly, scald little Marie.  We left to go back to the base for a bit.

That evening, we arrived at the apartment and found the door open and the sounds of a group of people enjoying themselves.  When we entered the living room everyone stood and introduced themselves.  Some were neighbors, some were friends of Otto and Herta, and some were just friends with the others.  All the women wanted to hold Marie and one of them rattled off to her friend in very fast local German that Virginia was way too young to have a child.  When I answered her in the same town patois she looked a little embarrassed and apologized.  She added that my German was very good.  She laughed wholeheartedly when I bowed and clicked my heels towards her.

Even Danni, Otto’s niece, put in an appearance.  She asked shyly if Virginia would like to have some part-time help and brightened considerably when Virginia said she would like that very much.  Danni took Marie into the other room and out of the smoke from many cigarettes.  I didn’t really mind it, but Virginia wanted to keep it away from Marie as much as possible.

The short ‘kaffeklatsch’ lasted for about an hour or so and then everyone said their goodbyes and left.  Danni brought Marie to Virginia and shyly shook our hands as she left.

“Well, Honey.  It’s all ours now and we can move tomorrow after work.”  I said.

“Oh, Tom.  I feel a little scared now.  On base we had our families around but down here all we have are strangers.”

I held her shoulders.  “But, they won’t be strangers for long.  We’ll see them every day at some time or another.  We even share a common patio with the Wilhelm’s.  It’ll be fine, you’ll see.”  I said, putting my arms around the both of them and hugging.

I kissed her cheek and bent to kiss Marie.  She gave me a raspberry and we broke up.  It took us four days of hard work to move all our stuff from the base to the apartment but when we were finally done we had a home.  We hosted both families to dinner in our cramped living room and kitchen but a great time was had by all.

My mom surprised me a little when she put her arm around my waist and told me again that she was so proud of me and my family.  She added that it didn’t seem like I was anywhere near a kid any more but a young adult with a family.

* * *

With a heavy heart, Virginia and I helped her parents pack up for their transfer.  They were on their way down to Italy which isn’t that far away by train but a long way for moral support.  Every so often her mom would hand Virginia something of her childhood and they’d have a good cry over it.  Pictures, stuffed animal, old toy, or bronzed baby shoes; it just didn’t matter to them.

Finally, the day arrived when they were to leave on the train.  Feeling a little bit strange seeing them off for a change.  Virginia, Marie, and I, along with my whole family, stood in a sad little group as they waved from the compartment window until the train rounded the corner near the river.

Virginia turned to me and hooed and hawed into my shoulder.  I lifted her head, kissed away her tears, and told her that we were her family now and always would be.  Red-eyed, she nodded and kissed me back.  My family said their goodbyes and went off to get their car for the ride back to the base.  I felt that Virginia might like to just take a stroll.  Marie was put into her baby carriage and we went down the sidewalk towards the fence around the rail yard.

The first thing I noticed was Hans’s little switcher chugging down the yard lead with a string of beer wagons.  As it got closer I could see that it wasn’t Hans doing the driving.  It looked like Gerd was firing, but no Hans.  I waved as they passed and Gerd waved back vigorously and indicated for us to wait.

We sat down on the bench that had been thoughtfully placed just for train watchers and waited until Gerd and his driver came back empty.  The driver tooted twice, which is a signal for stopping, and squealed to a halt right across the fence from us.  Gerd bounded down from the engine with his face wreathed in smiles.

He asked if we had heard about Hans.  The last I’d known was that he was a pretty highly placed engineer but that’s about it.  Gerd filled me in.  It seems that Hans was not only the chief engineer, but was really supposed to be in his office instead of driving trains.  Now, I’d known he was a pretty big guy when he and the gang at the office paid for all our meals on the Tulip Express for our honeymoon to Amsterdam, but this was the first time I’d really seen just what a big shot he was.

Gerd started to say something else, but stopped and stared at the baby carriage.  He did a double-take and looked at me quizzically.  I told him that, yes, this was our baby, and he really started to get agitated.  He called back to the driver who looked both ways to see if anyone was watching, and ran over to the fence.  Gerd rapidly filled him in on who we were and how much Hans liked us.  He pointed to the baby and said that it was ours.

Virginia uncovered Marie and held her up to the wire.  Gerd tickled her under the chin, looked at the little black smudge he’d put there, and quickly wiped it off with a clean rag – apologizing all the time.  We laughed and put him at ease.  The driver was getting a bit nervous and said he wasn’t supposed to leave the engine so the two of them went back over and climbed aboard.  Gerd told us to go to the second floor of the Bahnhof and ask for Hans.  We waved as the driver tooted three times (which startled Marie) and hustled down the tracks back to the brewery.

We did as Gerd told us and found Hans in his office.  When he saw who it was he hopped up and rushed to shake my hand.  He bowed over Virginia’s and also did a double-take at the carriage.  We went through the bit about whose it was just like Gerd and let him hold Marie.  He went back across the office and sat down.  He began bouncing Marie on his knee and making puffing sounds.  She was certainly meeting a lot of men in her young life.

He told us he’d finally been told that as a supervisor he should get out of the yard and back up in the office.  He had reluctantly agreed and, now, here he was; surrounded by forms and all.  He was philosophical about it however and said that he’d accepted his lot.  Changing gears quickly, he invited us down to the employee cafeteria for a cup of coffee.  We accepted.

During the relatively short time we spent in the cafeteria we met what seemed like everyone in the building.  Some of the people who had contributed to our honeymoon meals said that they were happy to finally meet the young couple Hans had been going on about.  I thanked each and every one of them and so did Virginia.  We finally had to leave because Marie was getting fussy.  As we said goodbye Hans told us to come back and visit him in his dungeon.  We laughed and Virginia pecked him on the cheek.  Then we left for home.


Submitted: July 28, 2013

© Copyright 2022 B Douglas Slack. All rights reserved.


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"...hooed and hawed in my shoulder." Your word and wit never cease to amaze me. I hope I can someday write as well as you.

Mon, December 9th, 2013 3:47pm


High praise, indeed! A much appreciated comment.

Mon, December 9th, 2013 7:51am

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