D is for Dreams #AtoZChallenge Historical Treasure @AprilA2Z

05 Apr
Thanks to "5 Strangest Photos of World War 2" for this train image.

Thanks to “5 Strangest Photos of World War 2” for this train image.

Not the ones behind closed lids, but those of what we will do and who we will be when we grow up. One of my sons maintained his conviction that he would be a vagabond someday, collecting coins from fountains and eating condiments from fast restaurants. Thank God that passed.

Irene writes in her memoirs of a decidedly World War 2 childhood experience that was the seed which gave blossom to her nursing career. The Forbidden Train Episode, I call it, though it could be another C is for Crazy Kids item.

My friend Brigitte and I occasionally went to the railroad station where much activity took place. Its two restaurants, numerous shops, and large waiting rooms were always full of people involved in the war. The Military Police often made raids in all those places and we could see people scrambling and running, trying to get out even through window. It was great luck that we were still children as adults had a very difficult life then.

One evening a Red Cross train pulled into the station. They usually came later in the night. All the shades were drawn and no one was allowed to open the doors to the train. Curious to see what was on the train, we told a lie.

“Our mothers work for the Red Cross. We’re supposed to meet them here.”

This statement got us on the train. We gasped when we saw the wounded men. Bloody bandages were everywhere. we saw men with no legs, others with one or both arms missing. One man with no legs was crying, his face reflected unbearable pain.

Brigitte and I left the train after seeing the men in one car. That was too much for us. We stood looking at each other and cried as we clutched our sweaters tight around our bodies. Speechless from the shock of seeing this extreme suffering of so many young men, we walked home in silence. From that day the idea slowly developed that I might someday be a nurse and help the suffering.

2nd Edition mockup cover of My World War 2 Childhood

2nd Edition mockup cover of My World War 2 Childhood featuring Irene at age 6

I can’t imagine seeing that as a child. Irene explained to me later that these trains came back from the eastern front of the war regularly through her hometown of Chemnitz, Germany. Knowing what happened to her father later in the war, I’ve often wondered if he might have been on such a train at one time.

Coming next, we move from Book 1 of Irene’s series (My World War 2 Childhood) into the era behind the Iron Curtain in Book 2 (My Years Hidden As a Boy).

Your next A to Z Blog Challenge post  is…E is for Eating Cold War Style Behind the Iron Curtain.


Kristin King is an author, publisher, NGO co-founder with a heart for Africa, and a big fan of train travel.




Posted by on April 5, 2016 in Memoirs & History


Tags: , , , ,

3 responses to “D is for Dreams #AtoZChallenge Historical Treasure @AprilA2Z

  1. kristinkingauthor

    April 5, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    Isn’t it? Every time I thought the memoir was beginning to drag a bit and event would leave me speechless. Thanks DaleCooper 57 for joining the journey.

    And JazzFeathers, I have to tell you that Irene actually met Louis Armstrong. I’ve got a video of her talking about how it was that I’ll post at a later date. Nice young picture of him you have on your blog today.

    Shout outs to you all tomorrow!

  2. dalecooper57

    April 5, 2016 at 7:48 pm

    Wow, amazing post, I shall be following this story.

  3. jazzfeathers

    April 5, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    That would be a shocking experience for anyone. I can’t imagine for a child.

    The Old Shelter – Jazz Age Jazz


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: