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85 21 Winter comes late to Aachen. Not until February does it bring snow and frost. March 17, 1912, the day when Maria will take her first Holy Communion , is coming closer. She is now fourteen years old.With the preparations for Holy Communion, which are additional to schoolwork, the weeks fly by. She takes pains to make herself worthy. The teacher and the chaplain help her to understand the miracle. Two days before the celebration, she writes in her composition book,“We were a bit anxious,” and she puts a stress mark over every syllable that should be emphasized. Eight deaf children are to receive their First Communion. Maria is looking forward to it. But, to be quite honest, she is looking forward to the visitors from Freilingen most of all. The day before the event, the children make their confessions in St. ­ Jakob’s church. Maria has written down on a slip of paper all the sins she can think of having committed, and has added that she repents them and has resolved to amend her ways. She sticks the note through the lattice of the confessional, and the priest writes her prayers of penance on it and hands it back to her.With the sign of the cross, he absolves her of her sins. As she leaves the church, there is no holding her back. Like one truly redeemed and knowing only happiness, she exults with joy inside and rushes off, her prayer book in her hand. She races and jumps until she has to slow down because she gets stitches in her side and is out of breath. She does not run down to Stromgasse, but instead hurries along the ruins of the town wall to the main station. This afternoon, her guests will arrive! At Marschiertor, she can already see Father and her beloved Grandmother . Maria runs toward Grandmother and throws her arms around her neck. Grandmother is wearing her best black dress and her beautiful scarf. She has brought a basket full of good things to eat and Father has his Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 85 4/26/2017 12:17:37 PM 86 Maria Wallisfurth heavy backpack on his shoulder. Maria is overjoyed and says, “I am so glad Grandmother has come! For the first time, you in Aachen! I hoped perhaps Grandmother also will come with Father. I am so glad!” Grandmother laughs as Maria takes the basket from her, and Father gives her a friendly nod. Maria has something else she wants to say right away. She has something on her mind, something that she wants to get out before they arrive at her foster mother’s house.“Father, Grandmother, I do not want to stay with the Bundens anymore.” Grandmother asks in surprise,“Does Mrs. Bunden not treat you right anymore?” “Oh, yes, Mama is very good to me. But, I have already been there for seven years, I’m getting bored. Other children are always getting new foster homes. They always have something new to tell. Please, Father or Grandmother, you can talk with the headmaster, please? I wish to have a new foster mother. Mama Bunden is too old for me. Twice already, I have found hairs in the soup. Please, I do not want to stay with the Bundens during my last year of school.” Early next morning, at six o’clock, Mama wakes Maria. The new dress Maria puts on is made of heavy black woolen cloth. The skirt is stiff and reaches all the way down to her ankles. Grandmother had the dress made in Lommersdorf and brought it with her. At home, in the Eifel region, anything that wears well and lasts a lifetime is a good value. Maria looks down at herself and thinks, oh, I look like a farm girl. Other girls wear fine town dresses. They are much prettier. But, she does not let her feelings show. Mama places a green wreath on Maria’s head and is excited and deeply moved; her “oldest” is having her celebration today! Her younger foster sisters sit around Maria in their nightgowns and watch her being adorned. Papa Bunden, in his best clothes, goes on ahead with Grandmother to the church. Maria carries her prayer book in a little white lace cloth, and Father goes with her to An der Schanz where all the communicants from the Institute for the Deaf meet. Four boys and four girls, all dressed in black, are...


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Related ISBN
MARC Record
Launched on MUSE
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