Grete's memories of her father


I remember when I was 7 years old, and Hans was 8, Vati built us a kite, and took us to the Lorberg to fly them. Guess who had the most fun getting the kites to fly. Vati also had a big garden at the Lorberg, where we peddled with our bikes. That was lots of work, all uphill.

On Christmas I remember him being Santa Claus. He wore a coffee warmer for a hat, inside out, it was very funny.

He built me the most wonderful, dollhouse. All the furniture in it was a replica of our parent's house. He made all of it. What a job that must have been.

He was so talented… Hans got a Farmhouse that year.

When I was about 9 years old, I wanted a bike, so he collected parts here and there and built me a bike.

My dad liked animals. One day he brought home a squirrel, built a cage for it and positioned it on the balcony. Well, that squirrel was not very happy, every time we went outside, Mr. Squirrel decided to spray us. Needless to say, he did not last long... Vati let him go.

We had company at that time from Oma and Opa Klöker. Shortly after that he was called into the Military Service to train new recruits. When he came home on furlough, he looked very handsome. I looked at him in awe. The only thing was, he knew it too, and when we went to visit friends of Mutti and Vati, he sent us kids one trolley ahead so he would not look so married. All that happened when we still lived at Egenolf Strasse.

I am jumping forward to Dinkelscherben.
After he came back from the war, I will never forget, when we all went to a dance at Maischberger. I think it was Fasching. I was dancing with a guy, and Vati did not like the way he was holding me, a bit too close... He came over where we where dancing and said to the him, "ein bisschen zuviel Tuchfühlung", and then he shook his finger and went back to his table. I was a very embarrassed.

Back to Frankfurt.
It did not take the Arbeitsamt long to find me a job, as a cashier at a movie theater in the evenings. I had to take the streetcar to go home. Once a man followed me and talked stupid, I was so scared, I came home in tears. The next day Vati came home with a long, mean-looking umbrella and told me to use it next time someone came near me.

Then I left for the States. Vati und Mutti came to visit and we had purchased tickets to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee. We had a small trailer at the time, so we hitched it up and went off to Nashville. Both Mutti and Vati loved it, and bought a record of the performance. Vati talked about it all the way back to Waupaca.

My kids loved to have him here. He often walked into town and bought candy, among other things. He always had some candy in his pocket, which he shared freely with my children.

One day he was helping Les to put up a fence, when our neighbor started shooting at chipmunks. Wow, did Vati get livid. I have never heard him talk like that. The sad part was, the neighbor could not understand a word he was saying. Vati was very upset about guns going off around children.

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