Love Hawaii? A Lovely Love Story…

Ocean Girl shrubs

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful girl living close to the ocean. One day she met a handsome but somewhat rugged looking boy who had kept his eyes on her a bit longer than was considered appropriate. A hot shock went through her body and she just knows:

“He is the one I have been waiting for. How do I get to know him?” She shouldn’t have worried because, well, he felt the same way. Encouraged by her unwavering eyes, he approached her, took both of her hands into his rather rough ones, looked at her and told her:

“I’ll be back. Wait for me. After seeing you, my beautiful Moana (ocean) girl, I know I cannot live without seeing you.”

But, there was a problem. She belonged to the Ali’i, the ruling class, while he was just a simple Kama’aina, a local resident. She sat at the ocean day after day, thinking about him. She picked fragrant flowers and fashioned a beautiful Lei which she kept around her neck. On the third day, he appeared like a mirage. He extended his hand to pull her up. They looked deep into each other’s eyes when she lifted her arms, took the Lei off herself and slowly put it over his head to sit on his shoulders. He knew it was her declaration of love. Both started laughing, then, after dancing a few hula steps they were running along the beach, in and out of the oncoming waves. It was a very happy day for both of them. They had many of those happy days – and the days turned into weeks and the weeks into months. Their love grew deeper every day.

On a stormy afternoon, one of her brothers came looking for her and saw what they had been hiding for a long time. He demanded they both come with him to see the Ali’i, the Chief, who happened to be her father. The young couple declared their love and begged to be allowed to get married. The father called for his wife, her mother, and both denied the request.

“You are a princess, you are promised to another Alli’i and you cannot marry a fisherman.”

The young girl, with a breaking heart, told her parents she would never, ever marry anyone else. The Kupuna, her grandmother, put a spell on both, the young girl and the unhappy young man.

“You, Keikimahine, be the ocean shrub, growing deep roots and never be able to leave the sands on the beaches. You will bring forth a simple small white flower, one hardly visible. And you, young man, you will become the same type of shrub but you can only grow in the mountains, far away from the beaches. You may develop the same flower and it will remind you of your forbidden love. You cannot ever again get close to the ocean girl. You will be forever the mountain boy. You may say Aloha to each other with a parting word.”

Ocean girl's half flower***************Two hearts were breaking as the young couple was released to go. They promised undying love to each other and forever display it in their flowers. The ocean girl’s flower shows only the lower half of the petals while the mountain boy’s flower only grows the upper petals. Both halves will make a perfect flower with petals all around as it was meant to be.

There was no release from the spell. There was no frog to kiss or a prince who could kiss the sleeping beauty. The way I see it, the half flowers are a reminder to all lovers to appreciate finding their “second half”.

Ocean girl shrubs at beach

Ocean girl shrubs at beach

Sorry, dear readers, I have never been able to go into the mountains to find “the second half” of the flower with the upper petals, the half of the mountain boy. But, I have been told by Malihini, my Hawaiian friend, that it does exist. Someone said to me “just turn two of the same halves around, wouldn’t it make a whole one?” It’s not that simple. It wouldn’t fit because of the way it grows. Let’s enjoy a romantic fairy tale that can be told in different ways. This one, I told ‘my way’, the way I remember hearing it told during a “plant walk along the beach”. That tiny little half flower pulls at my heart strings.

A Brand New Life in Canada

My 'Max"

My ‘Max”

It was the 5th of October 1955. My father had helped me to make an irreversible decision. Without even saying ‘goodbye’ to my mother after our last meal I left what had been my home for the last ten of my twenty-one years. My heart was filled with anxiety but also sadness for all I was leaving behind – my parents, my sisters, my friends at my kayak club, my boat “Max” (the great love of my life), and my new sky-blue bike. All I took along was a very small suitcase containing one set of bedding sheets; a couple of towels and an evening gown a friend had just made for me. This was very unlikely luggage for someone escaping from a politically oppressive life into a totally unknown new one – and that was just from one Germany into another Germany. That ‘other’ Germany was known as “The Golden West”. Freedom! Chocolate and bananas and oranges and nice clothing were available if you worked hard and earned money. And I planned to do just that. I won’t even go into the “trials and tribulations” I had to endure. (Most of you read about them in my memoir anyway.) Those troubles finally drove me over the edge and I wanted to “escape” once again. This time, my luggage was a shipping container full of my accumulated goods of almost ten years, except for furniture and my beloved car. It all went across the ocean to another continent. The container later became part of a Volkswagen garage for a neighbour in Canada.

Every year, when the 14th of December comes around, I remember that day in 1963. I remember my feelings. I can see myself, see the way my hair was, the way I was dressed. I was floating in a vacuum. I couldn’t cry and I couldn’t laugh. I can still see my new in-laws and their faces as we said goodbye. Was it forever? I emigrated because of image1-002the little Canadian girl I had fallen in love with and right now she was tightly holding onto my hand. She was shaking. She was leaving her grandparents after a couple of months she had spent with them. I was taking her home to her daddy in Vancouver, Canada. I had married him after five months of lovely correspondence and hoped I would learn to love him after I had my heart set to be a mother to his little girl. She had picked my picture out of about three hundred replies to an ad he had placed in the German magazine “Constance”, and declared: “I want her to be my new mommy.”

image9

Language did not matter between us.

This year on December 14th it will be fifty-three years since I set foot on Canadian soil. I hardly spoke any English; the little girl became my first teacher. The YWCA in Vancouver offered language courses for newcomers; I booked and paid for several courses in a row. Did we receive help in any way from anybody? No. Immigrants were on their own. If you had a job, you might make about $50.00 a week. My husband had started with ‘White Spot’ in 1956 and had not even earned $20.00. When he ended up in the hospital needing a stomach operation, the doctor, who discharged him, had asked:

“What’s your address?” Since he didn’t have one, the doctor invited him to live in a cottage on his property. In payment, he did handyman’s work. But that is another story.

You worked hard, you did not care what the work was, and you just did what was needed to make ends meet. There was a time when I worked in an office, did bookkeeping at night and cleaned toilets on that business property on Sundays. Those were the tough years.  Now, fifty-three years since I first came to Canada and comfortable after a successful business life, I think back and try to figure out “What am I?” Am I still considered an immigrant (Which most Canadians are anyway unless they are indigenous) or am I really the Canadian woman I think I am? I have written four books in English, one of them is translated into three other languages.  I have now lived in Canada for two-thirds of my life. It’s a very long time, but looking back, the fifty-three years passed one another like sand running through my fingers. Life is like a toilet roll – it goes faster the closer you come to the end!

As I am writing the sequel to my memoir “We Don’t Talk About That”, more and more memories are flooding my head about my life in Canada, this enormous and beautiful country. One day, in about a year (?), you will be able to read about the new and different “trials and tribulations” I faced on this continent during those fifty-three years. While writing some of the chapters I can’t help but smile – while others give me writer’s block. Ce’st la vie!

A Different Type of Addiction

McleanMe? Addiction? Can’t happen to me! You know I am into history, reading and writing about it, telling you about the books I read and how I learned more from reading history books than I ever did in school. One day I came across a review of a book called a fantasy-thriller, science fiction  and, because it mentioned kayaks paddling under the Burrard Bridge, I went to Amazon.com, put in the title “The Gift: Penance”, clicked on ‘Look Inside’ and read as much as was possible. After that I even wrote to the author, J.P. McLean, and the rest is history. My book reading history changed.  I read the whole thing, a genre I have never ever even given a thought to. My webmaster did too and we were both ‘hooked’. One day we met the author. Jo-Ann McLean lives on one of the Gulf Islands nearby and we exchanged books: Since I had read the fourth book of her “Gift Series” I was happy to receive the first one, “The Gift: Awakening”. After reading it I can’t wait to read number two, “The Gift: Revelation”. And you know what? I know I will then go on to book number three: “The Gift: Redemption.” I have read book number four (The Gift: Penance) already but I know there is now also a book number five. These books take me away from my own writing. I apologize for not having written a blog for several weeks, I just couldn’t! My mind was occupied with weird stuff. Sorry, folks. Forgive me.

Gift awakeningI am addicted. If this is what addiction is like: Thinking about it all the time, even a few weeks after I finished reading the book, trying to figure out how the h… anybody can come up with the ideas, the ‘invention’ of something that may even one day be possible with the way the technology is going; thinking back to the time when we didn’t have trains, planes, submarines, bikes, cars, washing machines or vacuum cleaners, radios or television, telephones, cell phones, computers, i-Pads or even self-driving cars, safer than any driver could drive.  Even more astounding was the first man on the moon and, if we have enough money, now booking a future trip to Mars. So how did Jo-Ann come up with the idea of a human being able to defy gravity, lift off and fly, doing somersaults in the air, having fun and in this particular scenario even be able to be invisible…

As a growing child I loved reading fairy tales. As a teenager I started to realize that fairy tales carry a subliminal message, not really thought for kids but for the grown-up who reads the story to the child, or later for an adult to finally understand it. One of the best books in this kind of genre is “The Little Prince” (by author A. Exupéry) – his love of his prickly rose, his travels to planet Earth, his encounters with different types of people, how could any child understand what all those stories mean? Anyway, I started to collect Fairy Tale Books from all over the world. For quite a number of years I lived in a “Fantasy World”. But now, in my senior years, I should start reading thrillers? Science Fiction-Fantasy? I remember my son writing an incredible fantasy story for his English class when he was thirteen years old. I wish, oh, do I wish he or I would still have that story! It was something similar to Star Wars…and a bit like what J.P. McLean is writing about. I remember being absolutely engrossed and fascinated by it when he read it to me. He has the mind to be able to write something like it but he is too busy living, working, and what else people in middle age do.

Let me tell you: If you want to dive, sorry, fly into another world, read J.P. McLean’s first book of the series, “The Gift: Awakening”. It starts a bit slow, at times your mind rushes faster forward than your eyes can read, but this author has a ‘gift’ herself for spinning a tale like a net and you are in it. Trapped! The setting, the characters, as during the story more and more enter the plot, the danger, the love scenes (oh my goodness, I could never write anything like it!) and as I said before, you will want to go on to the next book.

Maybe you are stronger than I am and will not become addicted.

 

Reflections on my Life:

The last couple of weeks I had reasons to look back on my life. A lot of physical pain made me vulnerable to emotional hurt and, being who I am, I was looking for a cause on my part. Where did I go wrong? Was taking responsibility for everyone in and around my family, my employees, and even feelings or reactions of my relatives not enough? Didn’t I always put them before my own wellbeing? Was I trying too hard to do more than necessary to get their approval? Was I wrong in honestly believing in doing that it would ensure me a special place in heaven? Was I caring and loving too much and not expressing it in words, not talking about it, just thinking my acts would speak louder than words? Now, towards the end of my life, I came across these 18 rules of the DalaiDalai Lama Lama and I realize that I should also have taken my own needs into consideration and not always put myself second or not even take my needs seriously. Big mistake! One sentence my second (step) daughter expressed at a critical time: “If you would have insisted on your right we would have respected you more.”  Her sentence is burned into my brain, but I had an excuse why I did what I did. “I did it for you (plural)”.

Please read the following slowly and with attention to detail. I would very much like to hear your thoughts on these rules and what I am trying to express with my introduction. Thank you.

“Dalai Lama’s 18 Rules for Living” Expanded

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk. Risk is involved in every great opportunity in life. If it isn’t risky, then everyone would be doing it, thus making it ordinary and not “great.” Separate yourself from the crowd as one who not only can take risks, but enjoys doing so. Certainty life can only be comforting until it gets boring.
  2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson. If you lose what you have learned not to do, you will be doomed to repeat it. More importantly, however, do fear failure. Failure is the precursor to success. Hardly any great thing that you wish to accomplish will come without failure. This ties back to the rule of risk mentioned above.
  3. Follow the three Rs:
    1. Respect for selfConfidence is key in success and one who does not respect himself does not believe in himself. Thus, if you do not respect yourself, you cannot possibly succeed in anything great, nor can you respect others.
    2. Respect for othersAnd you will be respected in return. Anyone who does not return that respect is immediately letting you know that they are not worth your time, and that they do not respect themselves. Avoid weak/insecure/self-loathing people.
    3. Responsibility for all your actionsYou alone are responsible for your feelings, actions, success, etc. You are in complete control of your life, so do not try and blame other people for your mistakes or misfortunes.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck. Not everything that you desire will be necessarily good for you in the long run. If something just seems to not work out continually, in such a way that it seems almost like fate intervened, consider letting it go or come back to it at another time. The Universe works in mysterious ways and should be trusted. Just be sure you are not mistaking your own failure as the Universe telling you something.
  5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly. Rules are meant to be broken. Most of them are put in place by archaic, corrupt institutions that seek only to enslave and maintain their own power. When it comes to breaking them, be sure to do it properly to avoid punishment. But above all things make sure you DO in fact break rules. If authority was never questioned, we could be a stagnant
  6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship. Obviously, friendship is more important than one small fight, but very few people actually put this rule into practice. They also need to be able to follow rule #7 in order to truly follow #6.
  7. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it. And do not let your pride get in the way of taking those steps. Apologize, taking full responsibility. That will speak for your character more strongly than the action of making the mistake in the first place.
  8. Spend some time alone every day. No matter what you do, take at least 30 minutes out of your day to spend alone in a quiet place. This will give you at least a half-hour to examine what is going on in your life, to examine yourself and to figure out what you want. Whether it is through prayer, meditation, yoga or golf, this ritual is a must. The Law of Attraction is the best way to spend this time.
  9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values. This world is constantly changing. If you are not open to change, then you are going to live a very miserable life. You, yourself, are going to change as well, but that does not mean that your values have to change as well. Welcome new places, new faces and new loves, but never change those core parts of you unless you have strong reasons to believe you were wrong to believe in them in the first place.
  10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. Silence leads to relaxed contemplation during which emotions have less influence and logic can take over. For example, in an argument with a friend, remaining silent instead of retaliating with something anger-driven is more efficient in ending the argument faster and with less hurt for both parties. Or consider Gandhi, who took down the British Empire through silent, pacifistic behavior. Silence is a powerful tool that few choose to use over irrational action. Consider it next time you find yourself in a difficult situation.
  11. Live a good, honourable life. Then, when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time. You are going to have to live with your actions for the rest of your life, so save yourself the regret and anguish and live with honour now. Good things also come to good people. You will never be punished for acting with integrity, only rewarded.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life. This is the rule that you have the least amount of control over. Your family dynamic will ultimately determine your home atmosphere, but you can definitely help it along by showing your family that you love them. As in rule #3, if you respect (love) your family, they will provide you with respect and love in return. This rule comes to play again when starting a family. Inject love into your home. Make the walls glisten with endearment. That will set a solid foundation for the lives of your children.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past. The past is constant, unchanging. Bringing it up can only bring more pain to the current situation. This is a problem especially with loved ones because relationships with them go so far back into the past and are so fueled by emotion. Forgive any past actions and focus on the present.
  14. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to achieve immortality. One learns so much just from living a lifetime. Share that knowledge with the people you come across, it can only help them in their journeys. Even more important, share your failures so that others will not repeat them.
  15. Be gentle with the Earth. The Earth is where we live. So this should be obvious. Hurting the Earth is hurting yourself and the futures of your children and loved ones.
  16. As often as possible, go someplace you’ve never been before. Experience new places and new things. You might find yourself with someone or somewhere that makes you much happier than your previous circumstance. The Earth is so vast with unique and beautiful places, why wouldn’t you want to go explore them?
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other. The opposite is a sign that the relationship should end. If you need someone more than you love them, it is a sign of dependency, not affection. Find someone where love is the dominant force and you will find yourself in a much more fulfilling relationship.
  18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it. Success is not truly success if you had to compromise yourself or your loved ones in order to achieve it. Decide what you want. Design your ideal life and go for it. Do not let any part of that dream slip away in order to get the rest or you will live in regret.

Curious about the stories in ‘Forget Me Not’?

Book cover

Book cover

I don’t blame you. I would be curious too. Often I’ve gone to Amazon, looked for the books I wanted to know more about and clicked on “Look Inside”. Occasionally I was frustrated when I came to the end of what I was ‘allowed’ to read – and you had to either give up – or buy the book. If I would have bought every book I liked I would have a huge inventory and could open a library!

This, I have never done before – but I will do so now! I am way too excited about the stories in this ‘Bouquet of Stories, Thoughts and Memories’ not to share them with you. Thinking of you reading the titles of my stories puts a big grin on my face. Why? Because all of them came straight from my heart. I know you will like many and really love others. Each one is educational – either from a historic point, from understanding odd situations in life or has an ending you don’t expect. Or, perhaps, it carries some kind of a message you may want to discuss with your family or friends.

“Forget Me Not” is for readers from ten to ninety and beyond. You can’t go so sleep without reading a few pages? And then get your brain engaged in wondering what the ending of your book is going to be? You need willpower to NOT read the ending? My stories will help you. You read just one and you’ll KNOW the ending – because it ended! Now you can go to sleep without all that “wondering”.

I ought to get an audio book of this for the people who have vision problems or are too weak to hold a physical book. “Forget Me Not” is also a beautiful gift from YOU to friends you don’t want to forget YOU! Just imagine yourself unwrapping a little gift package on Valentine’s Day, your birthday, Mothers’ or Fathers’ Day; any other special occasion or even as a surprise and your eyes are greeted by the message: “Forget Me Not”. Who do you think of? The author? No way! You think of the person who sent it to you. That’s the idea, my friend!

I haven’t revealed that there are photos with some of the stories – and poems to use some empty pages between the stories.

How about this one:

What am I? A cat or a mouse…

I feel like a mouse
In a room with a cat.
I like to hide
Far in the back.
I want to curl up
And sleep, and relax
I seek the quiet
Not hear the fax.
No radio, no cars, no TV
And no noise –
I need to tune in
To my inner voice.
I have to find out
Where I am at –
Am I a mouse
Or another cat?

~~~~~~~~~

Table of Contents
Preface
Prologue
1: Charming Village Life
2: Granny and her Fairy Tales
3: Horses – and their Shoes
4: Magic Hands
5: Winnie the Pooh
6: Pineapples and Spaghetti Grow on Trees?
7: WWI – 100 Years Since and Counting
8: Start of World War II
9: VE Day – May 8th, 1945
10: Churchill’s Incredible Foresight
11: Dutch Clogs and a Nazi Flag Dress
12: Work in an Office?
13: Uprising of the Sheep
14: Learning to Kayak
15: What Happened to Them?
16: Escape from your Country?
17: J.F.Kennedy Assassination
18: She got Away – but only ‘just’
19: Olympic Games
20: The ‘Beheaded’ Rose
21: A Heart Wrenching, Sad Love Story
22: Cuba, Cora and Secrets Revealed
23: Coffee? Black, White, Cookie?
24: “Would you like to marry me?”
25: A Letter to Cindy
26: I own this Joint
27: Desperately Wanted: A Baby
28: Spring – The Ice Was Starting to Melt
29: A Beautiful Rose for a Beautiful Lady
30: “May Day, May Day”
31: It’s Part of Ageing
32: “Blue Hawaiian”…Hula and Aloha
33: One More Try and You’ll Make It
34: Flying On Points
35: The House is Empty
36: It Was the Wrong Date
37: Hope You’re Not Superstitious
38: Oh my, an Affair with Omar Sharif ?
39: My Friend, the Green Turtle
40: Candies and Cookies
41: Dog Days or Other Miserable Days
42: A Russian Rape Baby
43: My Earthquake Experiences
44: Vancouver Island Living
45: Change of Seasons
46: For You, Giselle, Anything!
47: I live here – what’s your excuse?
48: “Too bad it’s Canada”
49: Lest we forget. I can’t
50: What if
51: The Weeping Angel

And now my friends – have fun. If you want to read some stories – go to http://www.Amazon.com – find “Forget Me Not” and click on “Look Inside”, or, if you want the eBook version you can find that here.

Finally – It’s Here!

Forget Me Not
List Price: $11.95 US
Add to Cart

Following the publication of the eBook version I am so happy to tell you that print versions are now available from CreateSpace (Amazon). To order click on Add to Cart.

I know you will enjoy these short ‘true’ stories. As the title of the book also makes a terrific gift I wish you fun with it.

Forget Me Not – A Bouquet of Stories, Thoughts and Memories

Authored by Giselle Roeder

A thousand ‘Forget-me-nots’ have lined my path. From adoption, babies, cancer, dating, depression, dogs, earthquake, escape, grandmas, kayaking, love, Olympics, politics, from superstition, war to weeping angels and many surprises in-between – these stories are part of me and part of the people who touched my life. During the time we spent together – sometimes only days or hours – we shared our experiences and memories. I remember them all, some with laughter and affection, others with sadness, but they live on in my heart. Wander a mile or two with me along the winding path of life, and let me share my stories.
Each story, thought or memory in this ‘Bouquet’ carries a message and all lend themselves to reading alone or in a group. They are independent of each other and surely incite discussion.
What people are saying:
Giselle Roeder broke barriers of personal pain in her memoir ‘We Don’t Talk About That’. In this ‘Bouquet of stories’ she shares her thoughts about world events and tells of people who greatly influenced her. Each story makes you think and incites discussions. It includes several not to be missed surprises! – Barbara Lange, Winnipeg.
Giselle writes compelling stories. After reading her memoir – which I would place next to ‘Anne Frank’s Diary’ – her present book is a delightful ‘bouquet’ of stories. I am still waiting for the sequel to ‘We Don’t Talk About That’ and it seems that ‘Forget Me Not’ is somehow a bridge between the two. – Bob Pickles, UK History writer.
I really enjoy reading Giselle’s stories. A change from her memoir. – Carol Dunaway, British Columbia, a voracious reader.

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An eBook is Born

Forget Me Not 3D image (2)I am pleased to announce that the eBook version of my most recent book, “Forget Me Not – A Bouquet of Stories, Thoughts and Memories” is now available for purchase.

A thousand ‘Forget-me-nots’ have lined my path. From adoption, babies, cancer, dating, depression, dogs, earthquake, escape, grandmas, kayaking, love, Olympics, politics, from superstition, war to weeping angels and many surprises in-between – these stories are part of me and part of the people who touched my life. During the time we spent together – sometimes only days or hours – we shared our experiences and memories. I remember them all, some with laughter and affection, others with sadness, but they live on in my heart. Wander a mile or two with me along the winding path of life, and let me share my stories.

Each story, thought or memory in this ‘Bouquet’ carries a message and all lend themselves to reading alone or in a group. They are independent of each other and surely incite discussion.

Some folk have already commented:

Giselle Roeder broke barriers of personal pain in her memoir ‘We Don’t Talk About That’. In this ‘Bouquet of stories’ she shares her thoughts about world events and tells of people who greatly influenced her. Each story makes you think and incites discussions. It includes several not to be missed surprises! – Barbara Lange, Winnipeg, Editor of ‘Through the Window of a Train: A Canadian Railway Anthology (Borealis Press 2010)

Giselle writes compelling stories. After reading her memoir – which I would place next to ‘Anne Frank’s Diary’ – her present book is a delightful ‘bouquet’ of stories. I am still waiting for the sequel to ‘We Don’t Talk About That’ and it seems that ‘Forget Me Not’ is somehow a bridge between the two. – Bob Pickles, UK History writer (Amazon.co.uk)

I really enjoy reading Giselle’s stories. A change from her memoir – but I am waiting to see the sequel. Get on with it! – Carol Dunaway, British Columbia, a voracious reader.

You can find copies at one of the following:

Smashwords in a variety of formats
Amazon Kindle in MOBI format
Kobobooks in EPUB format

And a variety of other eBook vendors and formats.

Enjoy your reading and please let me know your opinion by commenting on this blog post. I would love to hear from you.

“Forget Me Not” – A New Book is Born

Stories – Thoughts and Memories

3-D book coverAnd every single one of those stories, thoughts or memories carry some kind of subliminal message; a fact of life, parts of history, thoughts of previous and present political happenings, psychological insights. All those stories, even a few fairy tales, will entice conversations or discussions around the family table or with friends. Yes, go ahead and talk about it. It is not healthy to keep your thoughts or feelings ‘inside’, especially if they trouble you. I find it liberating to ‘talk about it’. It is surprising how often one just needs a sounding board. I am not always expecting my conversation partner to answer me, to give me advice or set me straight or even discuss my problems. When hearing yourself talking you often find or hear the answer.

Every story is standing on its own and is independent of the others. Some are short, some are longer. Quite a number are stories of unforgettable people, men or women I met along the journey of my life. Could it be that you find yourself in one of those stories? Where it was suitable I added a photograph as well. Many names have been changed to protect the privacy of the characters in the stories.

Somehow this book is a “bridge” between my memoir “We Don’t Talk About That” and the sequel to it, planned to be published in fall 2016. Since the sequel will be dealing with the rollercoaster ride through five decades after my emigration to Canada I decided to tell some of the stories ahead of time. An author is usually restricted to a certain word count to keep a book “manageable”.

“Forget Me Not” comes at the right time of year – Christmas time. It makes a fantastic stocking stuffer. It will make YOU unforgettable to the happy recipient.

PRE-PUBLICATION AVAILABILITY

The book is not yet available to the wider public. To receive a pre-publication copy, a collector’s dream, waiting for the final edit and maybe with the odd extra or missing comma, you may contact me using the form below giving me your name and email address. The cost for the pre-publication copy is $ 20.00CAD plus $4.10 CAD in Canada and $7.00 CAD  postage to the USA..

The ‘Beheaded’ Rose

DSC02601Don’t think it is easy for me to tell you this story. It should be one of the chapters of the sequel to my book “We Don’t Talk About That”. It is a little love story but it really isn’t a love story. Read it and decide for yourself what you want to call it.

I met Hannes two months too late. Had we met two months earlier something might have become of it. Maybe. Maybe not. He had such an infectious laugh, such as I had never heard from a man and never did again. I knew he would never do or try something I would not want. He was ‘comfortable’ like an old pair of shoes, more like a brother and I felt at ease when I was with him. I still kept him at arm’s length. Why? There were several reasons. One, I was afraid I could fall in love with him. Two, he was in the middle of a divorce even it was a friendly one. Three, he was from the Rhineland and the Rhinelanders had a reputation for being ‘light weights’, people who didn’t take life too seriously. Fourth, he was Catholic and I was Lutheran, a match my parents would not approve of, even if neither of us were religious church goers. Fifth, I was in love with a little girl in Canada who needed a new mommy. Her father and I had been pen friends for two months and he wanted to marry me. But the main reason was I was afraid, simply afraid that a man who was obsessed with me, who had stalked me for years would be true to his promise to ruin any relationship I would ever have with another man. “If I can’t have you, nobody else will.” I had told Hannes all about it. Hannes listened, talked to me and made me see all sides, he pointed out the pros but mainly the cons about going to Canada. He sounded exactly like my father who thought I had gone totally bananas. “Canada! Marry a man you didn’t know, divorced and with a daughter? Nuts!” The problem was my compassion for that little girl, after seeing the photos with the sad eyes. I just couldn’t get her out of my mind. After I had met the grandparents in Wiesbaden I was lost. They didn’t even give me a chance to back out. I wasn’t strong enough. And I didn’t know I was being manipulated. The word did not exist in my vocabulary or my thinking.

Hannes became my best friend. He helped me plan my emigration. We went to the zoo in Hamburg, to a fabulous Indian Restaurant and sampled the “Indian Rice Table” with 23 little bowls containing different delectable types of food. We visited the “Pferdestall” a famous kind of pub/bar in an original horse barn. We attended “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” on the stage under the stars in the Herrenhäuser Gardens in Hanover.  Until I started to get very involved with my Canadian penfriend and his parents and sadly, my friendship with Hannes somehow tapered out. It was the end of a time with lots of laughter for me but I didn’t realize it until much, much later. When I was living in Winnipeg in Canada I got terribly homesick. I wrote to Hannes telling him about my life. He was married to a lady he had seen in the theater. He wrote “I had noticed her legs and they reminded me of you.” He had approached her during intermission, they had a glass of champagne and the rest is history. Hannes and I remained in contact.

It was a few years later when I visited Germany again. I had arranged a meeting with the last company I worked for since I wanted to import their skin care line to Canada. I had been instrumental in developing a number of the creams. Before flying home I planned to visit my sister in Hamburg and since Hannes lived there he picked me up at the train station. He handed me a beautiful long stemmed dark red ‘Baccara Rose’. We walked across the busy plaza in front of the station to his parked car. After he put my suitcase in the trunk he opened the door for me. We both were a bit shy, not yet at ease as we had been during the two months in the past when we had laughed a lot. I held the rose and my purse with one hand, trying to arrange my fancy coat which had a split in the back so the two sides could be lifted and you would not sit on it. I changed the flower from my left to me right hand and arranged the coat around me with the other. Finally I was seated with both coat tails on my lap. Hannes asked “is everything in now?” We looked at each other when I replied, “yes everything is in”. He closed the door and walked around the car to his side. As he was inserting the car key I noticed I had only the stem of the rose in my hand. I felt the shock right down into my tummy:

“Hannes, look” I whispered with a tiny voice. Hannes grabbed his steering wheel, put his head on his arms and slowly, quietly said “Just like us. It’s our story. A beheaded love story, a beheaded rose. I should have seen the rose wasn’t in when I closed the door. Should we stop by a flower shop and I buy you a new one?”

We decided against it. After a while driving along Hannes started to laugh. His Rhineland humour had taken over and he thought the whole episode was really very funny. I was sorry to have lost the beautiful flower head but I saw the weird humour in it as well. Actually, because of the accident, – I never forgot the rose.

 

A heart wrenching, sad love story:

Ingrid (2)

My sister Ingrid

Maybe it’s not my place to tell it. But who else can tell it? The two people involved cannot tell it and the others old enough to know the story have died and the younger ones don’t really remember the way it was. The story is about my third sister, Ingrid, who was such an easy going baby and child of whom people said: “Yes, later children are much easier.” I was six years old when Ingrid was born and had decided right then and there that I would only have “later children”. Our mother always admonished the others of us: “Look at Ingrid! She is never ever sick! And you come up with something all the time.”

We were four girls, each one born with our father’s hope to have a boy. It wasn’t meant to be. After the war he stated “I am so glad for my girls. At least they won’t be cannon fodder in the next war.” I, the oldest and the third, Ingrid, had Mother’s hazel greenish eyes and the second, Christel, and the fourth, Edith, were born with our father’s deep blue eyes. There also was a deep connection within the two pairs. That’s why I know Ingrid’s story. We were very much alike in our looks, our likes, our thinking and our love of books.

It was at my nineteenth birthday party with twenty of my canoe club friends plus our family. We were having fun, cooking pancakes on my new camping stove, flipping them over in the air, and a lot of laughter caused by some homemade wine. Late in the evening I started to “read palms”, telling fortunes and Ingrid was the last one who asked: “Can you read mine too?” Naturally I took a look and without thinking told her “For a start, you won’t have a long life. Your lifeline is very short…” She was only thirteen at the time. I shut up, shocked by my insensitivity. I could not shake a weird sense of premonition.

“Will I still marry before I die?” I knew what I saw but told her little white lies. At least I saw it that way. After all, this was just fun, I really didn’t know much about the “science” of telling fortunes. It wasn’t much later when the party broke up.

Ingrid was fifteen when my parents told me that she was seeing Benno, a boy of whom they did not approve. Benno was a year or two older than Ingrid but he was into drinking and always into fist fights with other boys. His parents could not handle him but he loved his grandma who lived next door to us. He often came to stay with her. I asked Ingrid “Why Benno, there are so many more nice boys around?” but she said “He needs me. With me he is nice and he talks and he wouldn’t drink. Nobody else understands him. I see no reason why I should not see him. We are good friends.”

Ingrid the swimmer

Ingrid the swimmer

In the summer next year she was sent to a children’s camp as a “sport teacher’s assistant.” Ingrid was an athlete; her fortè was swimming and diving. After about a week she was sent home because of terrible pain in her right shoulder. She could not even lift her arm to comb her hair. She was told by the family doctor not to train, not to swim, rest the arm and in general not to overdue anything. The pain did not go away, it got worse and at the end of August Dad took her to a private doctor. After a thorough examination his diagnosis was a shock: youth sarcoma. He told my father to immediately take her to the Charitè in Berlin, a special famous hospital. Within three days her whole arm was amputated. More tests revealed that the cancer had already gone into the shoulder blade and collarbone. She refused to have those amputated as well. Her statement was “I am already crippled enough; no boy will ever love me and I know I have to die anyway.” Six weeks later she returned home. Aunt Irene, a former army nurse came daily to renew the bandages and make sure she had enough painkiller pills. Ingrid refused morphine. “I want to die with my mind intact. I don’t want to be a vegetable.”

Ingrid post-op with family

Ingrid without her right arm.

Benno had given up drinking and my parents allowed him to make regular visits. In early December Ingrid’s cancer had grown out of the shoulder cavity as if a new arm was growing up to the elbow. The pain grew worse and she had to go into the local hospital. When Christmas was just a week away my parents asked her if she had a special wish. By this time I already lived in the west of Germany and kept sending items they could not get in East Germany: Chocolate, oranges, lemons; my parents would send a telegram with what Ingrid would like to have. I cried a lot during those weeks and once almost caused an accident with a bus and a car because I biked right into them. I couldn’t see for tears… Ingrid had only one Christmas wish: To come home, lie in her own bed to die. The doctors warned my parents, advised against it because it would be the hardest thing they ever did in their lives, they might not be able to stand it. They were adamant and wanted to grant Ingrid’s wish. They did.

Benno gave her a beautifully wrapped present, a long fancy night gown. It made her happy and sad at the same time. He told her he would wait for her and marry her when she got well, it didn’t matter that she only had one arm, he still had two and they would manage. My parents were upset about the fancy night gown Benno had given her, thought it inappropriate but there was nothing they could do about it. Ingrid had several good days during which she read a book I had sent her. I don’t remember the title. I had read it as well; it was something about five lives we each have of which the last one was about the afterlife. I had been impressed by its sensual spirituality. Mother wrote “Ingrid told me it gave her hope and she is not afraid of dying anymore.”

During January her pain was so bad that Aunt Irene, when injecting her pain medication mixed in a little morphine without telling Ingrid. It helped to ease her plight a bit without clouding her mind; yet sadly, the cancer had taken over her whole body.

Ingrid's grave

Life – love – lost

On February 5th her fight with this horrible cancer, the same as one of the Kennedy boys had, was over. She died and was buried dressed in the night gown Benno had given her. He was totally devastated, started drinking heavily and three weeks after her funeral hanged himself.

August 4th is her birthday. She loved gladiolas. I always buy a bunch and think of her. There is no grave I can take them to – they are on my coffee table. She would be seventy-five this year but I cannot imagine her as an old woman. She is forever the young seventeen year old girl.