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71 18 After Christmas, in the middle of the school year, the little Italian girl­ departs with her parents for a faraway country. A new foster sister comes, a small, quiet child. She is called Gertrud.After Easter the jolly Adelheid is no longer with the Bundens either, because she has graduated from school. Maria is sad. To whom is she going to pass the fried sausage she doesn’t like, under the table? Who will make her laugh now, until tears run down her cheeks? There was one place the girls were particularly fond of—a landing with a window on the stairs leading up to the attic. From here, they could look down on many roofs and courtyards. Here, they could play undisturbed all the fun games Adelheid invented. Here, it was cozy. Maria will never forget how she played Mass with Adelheid. Adelheid would drag up a little bench, cover it with a white cloth from their dolls’ things, and place the figure of a saint on it.They would smooth silver paper with their thumbnails and make a chalice from it. From white paper they would cut out wafers, and for a missal, they would place a thick prayer book on the “altar.” Adelheid played the priest and Maria was the altar boy. Then they acted out everything their eyes had observed in St. Jakob’s church. Adelheid would even give a sermon. She’d stand at the banister as if it were a pulpit. Maria would make wide sleeves for her out of cloths, lace mats, and safety pins, just like the lace sleeves on the priest’s surplice.Then, Adelheid would give a soundless sermon. She’d roll her eyes, brandish her arms in the air, and move her mouth exaggeratedly as if she were speaking loudly into the high church. She’d wipe the wide sleeves across the banister pulpit and stretch her arm and forefinger toward the heavens, letting her sleeve fall back. She would then bring her arm back down, as if the wrath of God were descending upon the listening congregation, her sleeves falling nicely back into place. Adelheid rocking back and forth on her feet, bent over the pulpit, almost falling over it, spread her arms wide, as if to Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 71 4/26/2017 12:17:37 PM 72 Maria Wallisfurth embrace heaven itself. She’d pretend to wipe the sweat off her forehead, hit her palm against her chest, and shake her fists toward Heaven. At the end, she would make the sign of a huge cross over an invisible congregation and, deeply moved by her own sermon, step down. Maria would be doubled up with laughter on the stairs. But now,Adelheid has gone. Now that is all over.The new girl, Gertrud, is not interested in such things, and Maria just doesn’t have the knack for making other people laugh. Mama Bunden takes in two more deaf girls: Eva and Therese. Now there are four of them sleeping in the little room upstairs. Mama had to put in another bed, and Maria now has to climb across three beds to reach her own. Mama is quite taken with dainty little Eva and dresses her up in bows and ribbons and starched frilly pinafores, like a little doll. Maria, too, likes Eva and does not mind when Mama buys the little one an extra piece of cake in the middle of the week. Therese, though, feels offended and is cross with Mama. Maria cannot understand why. Therese loves Maria. She brings whatever Maria needs, presents her with toys or special morsels , even shines shoes for her and is always trying to please her. Maria is wondering a lot about it. Never before has she known anyone who wanted to serve her. On Sundays when the weather is bad and raindrops are running down the windowpanes, the four children play dominos or with building blocks. Mama has bought these new toys for the girls, and even Papa joins in. On Sunday afternoons when the weather is good, all six of them go out for a walk. Papa walks on ahead. Now and then, his hand slips into his trouser pocket and then a wrapped piece of candy appears on the ground behind him. The children pounce on it noisily. In the wide grassy valleys outside of Aachen, the roads are bordered by hedgerows. With some of these, the banks on both...


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Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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