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165 40 Hasselholz is up on the edge of town, near the Aachen Woods. Hasselholz Weg, with its splendid houses with carved wooden gables and balcony balustrades, oriel windows, and well-tended front gardens branches off the main road that leads to Liège. Old trees spread above laburnums, lilacs, and roses. It is a quiet street, ending in a path into the woods. Professor Heumann lives in one of these stately houses. He teaches at the University of Technology in Aachen. In spite of complaints about his bad stomach, he is a friendly man. Maria rarely sees him. The professor’s wife dresses very simply. She combs her hair back smoothly and severely into a bun. She makes an effort to move her mouth slowly and distinctly when talking to Maria. Master Wirtz probably has explained to her why this is necessary . Mrs. Heumann and Maria can soon understand each other very well.­ Maria learns from her that she grew up on a large estate near Tilsit. She and her husband lived first in Berlin, then in Metz, and again in Berlin, before they came to Aachen.“Aachen is the most beautiful. We like it here best. Aachen is a very beautiful town!” Maria confirms that with shining eyes.“Yes, true.Aachen is very beautiful town!” The Heumanns have three sons: Hermann, Heiko, and Wolfram.They approve of Maria. She is always afraid of meeting new people. She worries whether they will understand her, whether she will understand them.Will they be disconcerted, repelled, contemptuous, or embarrassed by her voice? How will the new people she meets react when she starts to talk? The kitchen where Maria works is in the basement. When Maria goes down there for the first time she thinks, Pity! Kitchen in cellar. Is not nice. The kitchen has a big window, but it is very high up, and Maria has to press her nose against the windowsill when she wants to look out at the garden bordered all around by an old hedge. Enough light, though, falls Stories Main Pgs 1-258.indd 165 4/26/2017 12:17:40 PM 166 Maria Wallisfurth through the window on the stone floor, on the blue and white tiled walls, the kitchen equipment, and the bed in the alcove where Maria will sleep. At half past six in the morning, Mrs. Heumann wakes Maria. She cannot hear the alarm clock. Every morning Maria cooks porridge with water, salt, and rolled oats. That is breakfast for the whole family. She sends it up to the dining room by a dumbwaiter. Maria eats a slice of bread in the kitchen, as she does not like porridge for breakfast. In the mornings, she tidies up the house. In the living room, she dusts the piano, having no idea what it is used for. Sometimes Mrs. Heumann sits at it and runs her fingers quickly over the black and white keys. Maria cannot imagine why anyone would want to do that; nothing seems to happen. Afterwards nothing has been accomplished, except that the keys have moved. Maria makes the beds in the main bedroom and in the boys’rooms and wipes the three high desks where the boys do their homework in the afternoon. When Maria goes back down to the kitchen, Mrs. Heumann has returned from her daily shopping. They begin preparing the midday meal. Mrs. Heumann is a very thrifty and efficient housewife. In her household, everything is plain but good. She keeps chickens behind a fence in the garden, and there are fresh eggs every day. For the midday meal, even on Sundays, they always boil potatoes in their jackets. Maria has to get used to the bland, unsalted taste.At home they never eat jacketed potatoes, they are only for the pigs. Maria learns to be very economical. Mrs. Heumann shows her how to clean vegetables without the slightest waste. Even the leftovers are used, nothing must be wasted. At home on the farm that is no problem, all the leftovers go into the feed bucket for the animals. Every year, Mrs. Heumann receives a whole pig from her parents’ estate near Tilsit. It is packed in tins and made into sausages; even the bones are sent, and Mrs. Heumann pickles them in an earthenware pot. Vegetables, fruit, and berries are filled into jugs, stoneware pots, and jars. There is nothing that cannot be bottled, pickled, or dried. Everything goes into the store cellar. At mealtimes...


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MARC Record
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