If her father had been alive this never would have happened

November 6, 2019
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If her father had been alive this never would have happened

If her father had been alive this never would have happened

“Margot was born in 1939 in Germany. Her memories are slipping away so I will help tell her stories. Her father was vice president of a steel company crucial to manufacturing for the Nazis during the war. They were the upper class and her mother was a beautiful woman into fashion. Then a blockbuster bomb hit that was not intended for that area. There were siren warnings for everyone to run to the cellars. A lady with a child asked Margot’s father to go back and get her child’s blanket. He ran into the building to get the blanket and help others out. The bomb killed 100 people, including her father. When the bombing stopped, they tried to locate people. All they found of her father was a hand with a ring on it.”

“Of course my father went back in that building to help people. I would have done the same thing.” (Margot)

“They call those bombs “hell from heaven” that set cities on fire. Everything was bombed out and burned out in cities and towns across Germany. Margot had an older brother who was 8, she was 4 and there was a new baby. When they came out of that cellar, everything was gone. Margot has no memories of that, but her brother suffered mightily from the loss of their father. Their mother had to raise their family by herself with nothing. They ended up in a little village of Strasbourg on the French border but all Germans were later pushed out. They moved in with family in East Germany. After the war, the Americans pulled out and the Russians came in.”

“The Russians were good to children. They taught us beautiful dances and they gave us little treats. We had to learn to speak Russian.” (Margot)

“I was plowing a field in Okaloosa about the time Margot went through this. I went to Germany 10 years later in the early 50s. I had just gotten out of Cornell’s language school and was an intercept operator for the Air Force. German was not my language, but it came easy after I met Margot and her mother. Margot was in the eastern zone and for my purposes, she was the enemy. Her family tried to escape East Germany several times but the border got tighter and tighter. Her uncle was one of the new rich in Hamburg. He recycled metals and was assigned to clean up the harbor and airport. He was a big help to Margot’s family. I arrived in 1955 and was sent to the Czech border.  Most of the eligible men were killed in the war. That is what attracted Margot to me. She had just turned 17 when I met her. If her father had been alive, this would never have happened.”

“I was in the cafe with a friend. He tapped me on the shoulder and said, ‘I could be your Romeo if you become my Juliet’.” (Margot)

“We were a little tipsy. The guys made a bet that if the girls would talk to me for five minutes, they would buy me a beer.  Margot was not exactly attracted to me and thought I was crazy. I was a G.I. far away from home and we didn’t always behave. Margot agreed to see me again. I went to see her at work at a shoe store. I bought a 1949 Chevrolet Stars and Stripes staff car. That was my first car. I drove her home, but she was smart and didn’t give me her correct home address. I circled around and saw she didn’t go in where I dropped her off. 

Her brother didn’t like me because he blamed Americans for his father’s death. But he liked American T-shirts and cigarettes and I won him over with those. I was so caught up with Margot but I worried this was not the right thing for her. I extended my enlistment for ten months to see if I could get over it. The company commander wanted me over it and talked about switching me to another unit.  I put in a letter requesting to marry her. They said I was marrying the enemy and wouldn’t be able to keep my job if I stayed with Margot. I had a highly classified job and reported to the NSA (National Security Agency). I chose Margot.”

“He took me home to Florida and there was a culture shock. I spoke German and Russian and no English. I walked in the door and they had a gopher turtle in the pot. I saw those feet sticking up and I didn’t try it.” (Margot)

I had just made staff sergeant and they took that from me. I was making half of my salary and about to get married. The crazy part was that if they hadn’t demoted me, the next flight I was supposed to fly on was shot down. The Soviets shoot first and ask questions later and 17 from that flight are buried there. Margot saved my life and never lets me forget it. We moved to Florida. I qualified for the GI bill and went back to school.  We lived in public housing that was $35 a month that included utilities. Margot did well adapting. Within a year, she learned English.” 

“I learned English watching I Love Lucy.” (Margot)

“We have been married 60 years and are still in love. Without Margot, I wouldn’t be talking to you today.”

1 comment on “If her father had been alive this never would have happened”

  1. Dawn Bratcher says:

    You saved each other! Congratulations on a life-long marriage filled with love!

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