Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch5 Part 22

Finally Reunited with the Parents

Biene wrote this post.

 I would tell my friend that the Golden West was not golden.   It was a figment of the mind like the story of Santa Claus or the Easter bunny.  As for the big allure of freedom, it was overrated.   Although  I could have chocolate and even bubble gum,  I felt more restricted here than home. My sister’s friends did not let their boys and us go anywhere without supervision except the nearby fenced-in playground.  They would drop us off and pick us up,

In Gotha, we were allowed to play for hours in our neighbourhood.  Once my brother and I decided to visit the castle Friedenstein on our own.  A  friendly castle guard noticing our curious glances at the open castle portal, invited us in and gave us a tour telling us some historical highlights. Thus, we learned that the great Emperor Napoleon had slept in the pompous, canopied bed that looked like a sailing ship.  Since our dad was a history buff,  he had told us about Napoleon, who fascinated him. Suddenly I longed for all the familiar things of home, which I seemed to be losing.  Every night I prayed that we would return to Gotha soon. But day after day, my brother and I were told that we had to wait a bit longer for our parents to get us.

One afternoon, my brother and our new friends were at the nearby playground with a group of other children.  I was gently swinging back and forth, dreaming of playing with Anneliese, when a boy I had never met started pushing me.  At first, I didn’t mind.  Then despite my protests, he pushed me higher and higher.  My screams to stop seemed to entice him to push even harder and higher. I was terrified of the dizzying height and the unrelenting forceful behaviour of the big boy who seemed to delight in my distress. Suddenly, I lost control and fell flat onto the ground face first.  The fall knocked the wind out of me, and I struggled for a long time to gasp for air. Suddenly it was very quiet on the playground.  All the kids had run away except my brother and our friends.  They stood around me, looking worried. Luckily, I was not seriously hurt.  However, my faith in the kindness of people in the Golden West was shaken.  I had never met such a mean bully at home.

Panknin Family Reunited in West Germany

Miraculously, the following day our hosts told us that our parents were on their way to get us.