This Book is Dedicated to:
The Lost, the Orphaned, the Abandoned, & the Adopted…
The Kinderheim was an asylum so to speak. Nestled very neatly in the wrappings of Germany’s famous Black Forrest (Schwartzwald) in the southern corner so close yet so far from France and Switzerland.
When I think of sterile I think white. I reflect on floors immaculately clean and shining not only with brightness but sheer vastness and emptiness. A huge expanse of clean and empty, a little bit like being on a chess board as big as a soccer field except for the fact that just this once I have become very small but the board stays the same.
The reason that this comes to mind is because as a little boy, that was pretty much how I viewed the Kinderheim. Large and long, very crisp, shiny floors, kids lined up in the barracks rack to rack, absolute pristine cleanliness and so much space. So very much space. This of course is after being lined up like little chickens in an incubator smeared in oil, under biliruben lights. that seemed to last for quite a while Germans don’t take much to chance they like to be prepared. Hence Beer and War seem to be the solution(s) to the equation. Both have similar outcomes, and clearly a need for more Germans, of which I was one
Of course there were always the sisters. A very solid bunch of if-not-religious- definitely German bred and disciplined women that took their profession very seriously. Marching was not a mystery for them, in a sense it was their calling. And we marched. Through fields, apple orchards, vineyards, hills and castles, and deep woods that make any child’s imagination stir away for a moment here and there.
We kept marching. The whole lot of us. A little German army in the making. None of us knew this of course, but we were all encouraged to climb to the top viewing tower of some castle somewhere in the depths of Bavaria. To the top it was. A tiny metal platform that overlooked all the countryside and Christ for that matter, the entire world for a 4 year old!
That was my first challenge. To climb a small metal spiral step way. To reach the highest pinnacle of why-ever-we-were-there, and I suppose to prove our courage. I assume it had to be that, because why else would an assembly of sheep be led to the edge of the cliff and see if they were unnerved by the potential consequence?
Well I climbed up and looked. There I was, all by myself , looking. I have no clue what I was supposed to see. But I was very aware of where the next step was for me to head back down. So yeah I did it.
It didn’t feel like it was an act of passage or courage. It just felt like it was more of an exercise to weed out the more fearful or less intrepid of the bunch of us. So I passed that test in my mind- although no one said a thing about it one way or the other.
It was seriously scary that little platform, and the flimsy steps upward to heaven. But I did it! And because I did it, the kingdom was mine just for a second. That being said, I was once again just another member of the herd, although I always felt I was special.