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92 23 Mama Bunden is crying. Maria stands there feeling ashamed of herself because she feels no sorrow for Mama’s tears. Mama keeps wiping her eyes. The silent, speechless work of packing up is like a reproach. The clothing , underwear, and toys of the child Mama has cared for like her own for seven years are being packed into a cardboard box. Maria is glad that the headmaster has arranged a new foster home for her and that she will get to know something new. She is tired of always having to go to the same room, always having to look at and do the same things. Other children have much to tell and get to know different things because they change their foster parents so often. Admittedly, there are very few children who are being treated as well as Maria is by the ­ Bundens. Some are starved or beaten, but do not dare tell their parents or their teachers. Maria picks up her cardboard box and says goodbye with hugs and thank-yous. Mama bears it in silent grief.With Papa Bunden, Maria leaves the home where she has been so well looked after for so long. They go across to Hubertusstrasse. It is not far.At house number 11, they climb up one floor and Papa pulls the doorbell. The woman who opens is still very young, and pretty and friendly, as well. When Maria sees her, the last trace of remorse and bad conscience about Mama Bunden disappears. Mrs. Salzburg, her new foster mother, has everything clean and cozy in her three-room flat. She shows Maria where she and another deaf girl named Hedwig will sleep. A fat dog comes crawling out from his box under the coal stove. Mrs. Salzburg tells Maria his name, Ali. He sniffs at the newcomer inquisitively. Above the kitchen sink hangs a birdcage with a canary. Old photographs decorate the walls.The water tap is right in the kitchen, not in the hallway like at Mama’s. Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 92 4/26/2017 12:17:37 PM The Stories They Told Me 93 Later, that evening, Maria meets Mr. Salzburg. All day long, he works in a large needle factory. Mrs. Salzburg treats Maria with such kindness that, after a few days, she barely spares a thought of Mama Bunden anymore. Mrs. Salzburg enjoys talking to Maria and helps with her homework.After lunch, Mrs. Salzburg lies down on the sofa. Maria sits at the kitchen table with Hedwig. The sun is shining, and Maria writes about the newspaper: My foster parents, the Salzburgs, subscribe to a newspaper. It is called the Volksfreund. This newspaper comes out in Aachen. It is also printed in Aachen. Master Wirtz also shows us another newspaper, called Westf älisches Volksblatt. In the newspaper, there are news and advertisements. The newspaper has reports from Germany, from Russia, from all states and countries. It also has reports on aviation. I do not like to read the newspaper, as I do not understand it. In the newspaper, there are also death notices, sales advertisements and housing advertisements. Many people like to read the newspaper. The Volksfreund costs ¾ of a Mark, every three months. Father meets Maria’s new foster parents for the first time when he comes to take Maria home for her last summer vacation. Mother Helene has kept Maria in constant suspense over the last few years. Each time Maria has come home she has watched Mother carefully. Was she working more slowly? Was she bending with difficulty? Was she getting rounder? Upon arriving in Freilingen, if it appeared that the nimble and tiny woman had changed at all, the first thing Maria did was to look into the cradle. Sisters Lena and Anna have both been born while Maria was at school, and now, this time, a little brother, Mathias, lies inside. The ninth Giefer child! It rains for weeks on end, from the beginning of August until deep into September 1912, throughout the entire summer vacation. In the fields, the oats have already been ruined. They never had a chance to ripen and are now lying waterlogged on the ground.The potatoes, too, are rotting in the soaked earth. Maria says to Grandmother,“When potatoes are scarce, Mrs. Salzburg in Aachen will have to pay more for them.” There is plenty of fruit, though. Tiny, shriveled pears and apples grow in the orchard behind the house. On cool...


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MARC Record
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