Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch6 Part 8

Mama Panknin in Agony

Biene wrote this Post

At the end of it, there was a door leading to a small room with a large recessed window in the bare rock wall.  It looked like a prison cell, except there were no bars on the window.  There were two sets of bunk beds, a table with four chairs, a small table with a two-burner hotplate and a small dresser.  “This is your temporary place until your apartment is completed,” the manager told us.  And in response to my parent’s questioning glance, he added, “This may take up to two years.  We just don’t know where to house all you people,” he grumbled, leaving us to attend to the other families.

We all stood dumbfounded until my mother’s loud sobs broke the silence for a moment.  She collapsed on one of the beds and cried and cried.  I had never seen my mother cry like that before, which shocked me deeply.  My father looked helpless.  Eventually, he started stroking my mother’s back.  My brother and I climbed onto our top beds, completely bewildered.

Mama Panknin Making Tea on the Hot Plate

Eventually, my mother’s crying stopped.  She rallied and took us to the outhouse.  She found a clean wash basin to scrub the grime off our face and hands’ long dusty truck ride.   She magically produced some bread, butter, cheese and jam. She also made some weak tea on the hot plate.   We were so starved; it tasted heavenly. Then she hugged us warmly and said,  “With God’s help, we’ll make it through.”