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75 19 In school, Maria learns how to construct clear, short sentences. By using the past, present, and future tenses correctly, one sentence can be made into three different ones. But she does not learn the simple past tense:“He fetched the pot”; instead, she learns the perfect tense:“He has fetched the pot.”This is because“has fetched” is much easier to lipread than“fetched.” Nor does she learn“I travel tomorrow,”but instead,“I will travel tomorrow,” since that is also easier to lipread. Maria gets used to thinking in sentences. There are articles and their inflections, singular and plural affixes, ordinal numbers, infinitives and participles, and verbs, both passive and active, and—oh dear!—the four cases.The teacher has the almost superhuman task of helping the children understand the difference between them all and how to use them properly. A small glass inkwell is set into each desk. Maria dunks the sharp steel nib of her pen into it and begins to write letters neatly in her blue exercise book, the Aachen Notebook. She is learning to write Sütterlin, the German handwriting script, and Latin characters. The teacher is very pleased with her work, and she beams when he nods his head and says,“That is fine.” Then, he dictates to the children a short paragraph titled“YOU.” Your body is mortal, your soul immortal. Your heart and soul are one. God will one day separate your soul from your body, then your body will be buried. Where will your soul go? Your soul will go to God.Your body has eyes and ears. You can open and shut your eyes. You can see with your eyes. Can you also hear with your ears? You cannot hear with your ears. Maria has to think a lot about what the teachers says—that all deaf children will hear in Heaven after death. But then, she will not have any ears! And without ears, she will not be able to hear?! And why does God not Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 75 4/26/2017 12:17:37 PM 76 Maria Wallisfurth let her hear while she is still on earth? She has got healthy ears! Why and what is invisibly broken inside? After Easter vacation in 1911, Maria gets a new teacher, Master Wirtz, a short man with a white moustache and a little beard. In May, it rains buckets for days.Thunderstorms rage and hailstones fall, too, turning the earth white in no time. When the lightning flashes across the gloomy sky, the children are frightened.“Already, two people in Aachen have been struck by lightning,” Master Wirtz says, and he prays with the children for God to protect them. And, oh, how much Master Wirtz has to say about farming and cattle breeding, animals, and plants! Does Father know all these things? Maria wonders. One day, a classmate brings a little box to school, with two maybugs inside. What excitement! Master Wirtz tells them that the maybugs can fly, but they are not birds, they are insects.They eat the leaves off the trees. At the end of May, they will crawl into the earth and lay their eggs. Out of the eggs will come grubs, which will eat the roots of the plants.The plants will then die. Good thing, the birds like to eat maybugs! “It is all right to kill maybugs, but not to torment them,” Master Wirtz says. Maria learns that fish have scales and fins and that roses were brought to Europe from Asia.There are many varieties of roses in Aachen, in parks and in gardens. But in Freilingen, there are only wild dog-roses. Wednesday afternoons, in their needlework class, the deaf girls learn from Miss Jonas. Mama has presented Maria with a white cloth bag. Into it go a long, rectangular piece of nettle cloth, embroidery and sewing thread, scissors, a thimble, needles, a small wooden embroidery hoop, and a few pieces of cloth for practicing.The girls learn to do simple seams and hems, hemstitches, cross-stitches, backstitches, and herringbone stitches. When they have mastered a stitch, they are allowed to sew it neatly in a crosswise row into their long samplers. Maria sews small and large buttonholes into her sampler. Tight and firm, the individual stitches with their tiny heads sit around the edge of the buttonhole. Two patches are underneath—one laid on and one set in, and both so neatly done...


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MARC Record
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