Friday, September 22, 2006



When I got back from Plas it was my birthday – twenty and still unmarried – unlike Mum and Maddie.  I still went out with boys but imagined I would have platonic relationships for the rest of my life.  I wasn’t going to mope – just be realistic.

Maddie told me that Liam- Jamie’s elder brother had met a girl at Yale and they were to be married.  She and her family had escaped from Austria before the war.  So much for his father’s dream of his sons marrying nice Scottish girls.  Maddie dropped the bombshell that Paul had got a job in Africa and the three of them were going out there to live.  We were all going to miss them – especially Mum and Dad and the Aunts.

Evan had got a serious girl friend and Gran was in the States again so Mum and Dad were having the time of their lives with just themselves to think about.  I knew I would never live at home again but felt a bit rudderless.  Still I had another year before I had to decide what to do next.  I saw much less of Ginny as she was fully occupied with her fiancée.  Kate and I were very thankful when August came along and we set off for Plas once more.

Plas was very different in the summer – beautiful gardens, crystal clear views and a great buzz of excitement as people settled in and started getting to know one another. There was a lovely feeling of fellowship and we were excited to hear there was a German Party.  I spotted them in the garden bunched together and looking a bit glowery.  I cursed the fact that I didn’t know any German except ‘Ich liebe dich’ – the song ‘I love you.’  I went up to a young man with a thunder cloud on his brow and said ‘Ich’ pointing at myself, ‘Pat.’  Then I pointed at him questioningly and said ‘Dich?’- meaning I’m Pat who are you.  He beamed from ear to ear and told me, in excellent English that he was Gerhard and – still with a happy smile introduced me to the rest of the party.  I’m not sure what he said to them but from then on there was no stand - offishnesss and Germans and British alike spent the next week walking, eating, laughing and praying together.  They had all been children during the war – like us, and we were able to rid ourselves of the belief that all Germans were wicked.
We giggled when the boys stood outside serenading us and sang ‘Merrily we Yoll along.’ Instead of’ Roll along.’  There was a lot of joshing and teasing.

One of the Brits was Johnnie – a wag – and the last night he sang a song about all the characters which ended up with a chorus of ‘Pat and Gerhard’ to every body’s amusement and Gerhard demanded a copy.  It was the sort of holiday where one felt one loved everybody but it was all light- hearted- nothing serious.

Back in hospital the rest of my set were madly swotting for the Finals in October and I was thankful that I had another six months breathing space.  October marked the three years I had been in training and was also the month I was going to meet the whirlwind that was William.


apprentice said...

Worried about being on the shelf at 20, doesn't that sound amazing now?

Are those shorts in one of the pix missus? They'd be hot fashion right now.

Sim said...

Hmmm....Gerhard looks quite dashing. Have you stayed in touch?

And William the Whirlwind - can't wait for the next update :)

R. Sherman said...

Funny how those Germans can get under your skin, isn't it?


PI said...

apprentice: 'fraid they are shorts. It was OK to show legs and it was OK to show a bit of cleavage bur never the two together. That's what stopped us from being brazen husssies!

Sim: he was sweet and we kept in touch by post until I married. Speaking of which. Laters!

Randall: 'aint that the truth!

Guyana-Gyal said...

Unmarried at ae 20! Wow. What a thing to worry about :-)

But it was the same here too, in my mum's young days.

Was it kindness that made you approach Gerhard or was it because he was good looking?

PI said...

GG: it was mainly excitement at speaking to a real live German - it was soon after the war, and also he was the best looker!

granny p said...

So you did get home Pat..I don't think I quite felt on the shelf at 20 too. A little though. Girl friends were not enough. As for mum's best friend was a German woman who wrote to her after the war saying she expected my mum wouldn't want to know her any more. (This was someone who'd been openly anti-Nazi in her youth.) We went to visit her next year. The whole family.

PI said...

Granny P: that was a very brave thing to do. What an experience!

Dr Maroon said...

Sam's got it right. You are always poised in your pictures.
It was very brave of them to come over so soon after the war, and brave of you to break the ice. It makes one wonder doesn't it?
Great pictures. They capture the place as much as the people.

That bit you said earlier about fog and coming down the wrong side of the mountain - murder. And the walk back round is always more tiring than the actual climb isn't it?

I wonder the fate that awaits poor William the whirlwind. can he take it, will he endure or succumb?


Fell off my shelf at 16.

The Germans in the old East Germany are particularly good people. They also refuse to allow me more than 2 minutes without a beer in my hand which is a plus of course...

PI said...

Doc: the worst part of coming down on the wrong side is the possibility that you may miss dinner. As for William I'm not sure whether you would call it enduring or succumbing. Only one way to find out:)

4d: you are such a tease. What shelf? The East Germans sound to have the right idea. Germans have never been stingy with beer. Look at the size of the glasses.

banana said...

I just want to remind you that Jesus loves you...

PI said...

banana: thanks honey - that's made my day, and it is the Sabbath!