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162 39 At the end of January 1923, Grandmother dies. With her go love and warmth; a person who was good to Maria, who talked to her. Gone forever. Maria is very sad and quiet. Why do people die? Where do they go? A few days later, Maria helps a cousin sew a dress.When she gets home in the evening, Father says: “You have got a letter!” Maria tries to grasp what he has said. She repeats Father’s words: You have got a letter.—“Letter? For me? I don’t believe!” she exclaims. Father points to the window bench.The letter is lying there.Who would write to her? She has never received a letter! And yet, there on the envelope is written“Miss Maria Giefer, Freilingen, Eifel, Post Office Blankenheim Land.” Maria turns the envelope to read who it is from: Professor Heumann,Aachen, Hasselholz 16. She has no idea who that is. Bewildered, she opens the envelope and reads the letter. She hands it to Father. Has she understood the letter properly? And what will Father say to it? She sees from Father’s lips that he is reading the letter aloud. Dear Miss Giefer, I have been given your address by Master Wirtz, your former teacher at the Deaf and Dumb School. I am looking for a household help. Master Wirtz has recommended you. Can you start on February 15th? I would be grateful for a prompt reply. Yours Sincerely, Mrs. Heumann Father turns to Maria and says,“You write immediately. Yes! You can go on February 14th.” Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 162 4/26/2017 12:17:40 PM The Stories They Told Me 163 Maria shouts for joy.“Thank you! I love to go to Aachen, very much!” She is beside herself with delight. To see Aachen again! After ten years! She gets paper and ink and writes a reply. She writes it three times before she is satisfied. Father says the letter is good, and he gives her some money for the stamp. She takes the letter to Aunt Barbara at the post office. Maria has written Dear Mrs. Heumann, I will leave here on February 14th. I am glad to get the post in your household. Yours Sincerely, Maria Giefer She writes a second letter to the Rögert ladies, asking to be met at the train. From Aunt Barbara, Maria learns that Father had written a letter to her former teacher Master Wirtz first, asking him if he could find work for his daughter in Aachen. Maria is very surprised and grateful that Father does so much for her. She starts with her preparations straightaway. She alters Grandmother’s clothes to fit herself, and it occurs to her that she has had only one new dress since she left school ten years ago. During the first few days of February, Father tells her that she may not be able to go after all.“Why not?” Maria asks in dismay. “Train not running; resistance!” is his reply. She asks Aunt Barbara what that means. “The men from the railway are not working, as a protest against French troops marching into the Ruhr area.” Maria cannot make much out of this information. Every day now, she goes to her aunt to inquire nervously if the train is running again, and she is consoled when the answer is finally yes. She breathes a sigh of relief. Now she can go after all! A man from the village has to travel to Cologne on February 14th.­ Father has asked him to accompany Maria as far as Euskirchen. She ­carries her things tied up in a cardboard box. She also has the same basket that her mother took along when they first went to Aachen together—in 1905, eighteen years ago. She brings slices of bread, two hardboiled eggs, two pounds of butter, and a dozen fresh eggs. Father wanted her to take the things for the Rögert ladies. Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 163 4/26/2017 12:17:40 PM 164 Maria Wallisfurth Her traveling companion does not speak a word on the journey to­ Euskirchen. From there she continues on alone. She pays attention to the names of the railway stations and is glad to recognize the countryside again. Elated, she sees the town, spread out below Lousberg. Woods, churches and steeples, hills and streets—she recognizes them all. The train crosses the high viaduct and enters the...


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Subject Headings

  • Prisoners of war -- United States.
  • Guantánamo Bay Detention Camp.
  • Prisoners of war -- Cuba -- Guantánamo Bay Naval Base.
  • Afghan War, 2001- -- Prisoners and prisons, American.
  • War on Terrorism, 2001-2009.
  • Khan, Mahvish Rukhsana -- Diaries.
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