Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch5 Part 19

The promise of a New Hat

Biene wrote this post.

It was on such a day in January 1953 that our lives changed forever. It had been clear and cold. Our tobogganing hill was slick and fast. Many of our friends were out, and we raced down the steep street again and again. One of my friends wore a new fur-trimmed hat which I liked very much. It was so much prettier than my hand-knit wool tuque. She had just received it in a belated Christmas parcel from her aunt in the West. She also shared some chewing gum with us, which we never had before and enjoyed tremendously for the first time in our life. What a wonderful place the West must be, I thought when I looked at my friend with the pretty hat trying to blow bubbles with her bubble gum.

Biene’s Home Province Thuringia – Photo by her late twin brother Walter 1982

It started to snow softly when suddenly I saw my mom approaching us. She never called us home before supper. Puzzled, we ran to her. Taking hold of my brother with one hand and me with the other, she told us that we had to go quickly to town with her before an important office closed. Despite our protests demanding to stay with our friends, she pulled us hurriedly along. I started whining, insisting that she at least buy me a new hat as pretty as the one my friend had received from the West. My mother pulled us relentlessly along without responding to my increasingly vocal demands.

Eventually, we reached the office. My mother signed and received some papers. It was pitch dark when we headed home. I was exhausted and hungry by then and had given up whining.  Suddenly I heard my mom whisper that I would soon get a new hat in the West. I was too drowsy to understand what her words meant.