Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch6 Part 19

Mutti Panknin Fighting for her Husband’s Pension

Biene wrote this post.

The first year of high school was a big adjustment for us. We had to get used to a variety of teachers and teaching styles. Learning a new language was fun but also very difficult. We had to memorize many English words, their difficult pronunciations and their idiosyncratic spellings. To this day, the infamous “th” is still a challenge for me sometimes. Spelling rules are relatively consistent in German, but exceptions to the rule are common in English. Memorization of words and phrases seemed to be the best solution.

In this humorous video, a German coast guard employee is having serious trouble with the ‘th’.

Although school ended at 1:15 p.m., we had little free time because of heavy homework for each subject. In the afternoon, my brother and I would sit at our only table in the small room of the “House of Rocky Docky” and study. His homework was utterly different from mine. We hardly talked to each other, immersed in a different world. My father worked in the Krupp dental laboratory and would not return until supper. My mother had her battles to fight. She was constantly on the go trying to fight for my father’s right to receive a government pension from the police force he had worked for until Germany was divided.

Most people in Germany did not have phone service when I grew up. It was difficult for my mother to talk to government officials and other essential contact persons involved in her struggle to get justice for my father. It was a difficult and stressful undertaking for my mother and very exhausting. She had to travel by bus or train to government offices in other cities to get an appointment. She had to write letters and fill out lengthy forms, which often landed in the wrong departments or were filed away unread. There was an overload of administrative work for the government officials to accommodate all the refugee claims from the east.

10 thoughts on “Walter Panknin (1898 – 1977) and His Family Ch6 Part 19

  1. Jemand will einen Flug über den Grand canyon buchen. Er möchte aber wissen, wie lange der dauert: “45 minutes” sagt der Betreiber.
    Kaum sitzt der Urlauber im flugzeug, geht es auch schon wieder runter.
    Er beschwert sich: “Heh: Sie sagten 45 minutes!”
    “No, I said: 4 to 5 minutes!!”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember that time, many new subjects, really a lot of homework. Retrospectively I think that it was bad timing to have the largest number of subjects during the high time of puberty. But, we got through it, did we not? 😉
    Your mother must have been a real fighter (just like your father). I hope she succeeded!

    English spelling is hell, even English people don’t seem to master it. Most sounds have 2 or more ways to be written. Example: Meet, but meat (but then: sweat!), and belief (and weird). And daughter, but ought to, though and flow etc. etc. etc. 😉 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • In Las Vegas I once said to a barkeeper, whe she returned from the loo: “Back again”.
      She didn’t understand. I repeated it. The same result. Then an Englishman helped me and pronounced “again” a bit different.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It is amazing the challenges of life that each one of you in the Panknin family faced. The homework sounds very brutal but it probably helped you when you moved to Canada. The English language does have many challenges to speaking and reading it. The video really makes the difference clear.


  4. I hope your mother manage to claim his rights. The English can have the same pronunciation problems within themselves, and with American speakers. I was once asked what I wanted to drink in the south of America and said ‘water’ but nobody could understand me because I pronounced the ‘t’ (they say ‘wah-der’). In the midlands of England, I once asked for a Coke and the bar person looked puzzled and finally gave me a cork, because of my northern accent.


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