K is for Kindnesses #AtoZChallenge Historical Treasure @AprilA2Z

14 Apr

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Kindness can be radical.

Kindness can be powerful.

Kindnesses can change the world.

There was a movement several years ago called Random Acts of Kindness (RAK). People were talking about how to take action, how to go through the day looking to seize moments to be kind. Perhaps it was the movie/book Pay It Forward that kicked things off. I really don’t know.

One easy kindness many tried was to pay for the next person in line. On the morning commute when there was a toll booth, they paid for themselves and the car behind them. At a drive-through window, some Kindness perpetrators paid for the meal for the vehicle behind them.

The Christian radio station I listened to in Maryland encouraged listeners to engage the world this way and tell what happened. They also asked if someone benefited from an RAK to call in to testify about how that kindness effected them.There was the single mom barely scraping by who cried uncontrollably because the car in front of hers paid for her family’s meal.

There was a teenage girl dressed as a boy behind the iron curtain, a girl riding the rails in East Germany looking for her father, a girl with a friend bartering for food on the black-markets and earning pennies for a song or two at the station. Her name was Irene, and her memoirs are my A to Z Challenge Historical Treasure.

We learned that Russia was demanding restitution from Germany. The one who loses a war always must pay to the winners. However, Russia wanted more than what Germany had ever been worth.  We saw railroad tracks removed by German POW’s to be shipped to Russia, along with just about everything else of value. From a clothing factory, every single sewing machine was sent to Russia. By losing so much railroad track, we now had such a crippled train system that it was no wonder people were so excited about the arrival of two trains at once.

Visit War History Online for this and other images.

Visit War History Online for this and other images.

….Even as we watched, we knew we would not be able to get on this train with our bags of food. It was just too crowded. We plunked down to rest and waited in front of two low basement windows.

“Look Krista, we can see down into the kitchen of the restaurant. I wonder for whom they are cooking?” Hungrily we sniffed the kitchen smells. The cook saw us and smiled. We waved back then and turned to watch for the next train.

A tap on the window caused us to turn back around and see the cook gesturing for us to come in. “You kids our there. Come into the kitchen and I’ll give you a bowl of soup.”

He didn’t have to repeat this offer. We quickly gathered up our bags and found the stairway down to the kitchen.

The aroma of food brought tears to my eyes. I’ll never forget how good that warm soup felt in my stomach.

“You kids look kind of undernourished. Here, have a piece of bread.”

Grateful for his kindness, we devoured the soup and bread. That meal was one of the best I had ever eaten. The cooks asked us where we came from and told me to take my hat off. when I didn’t, he took it off for me. His eyes opened wide.

“What kind of a boy are you?” For an instant he was not sure if I was a boy or a girl.

Slapping me on the back he said, “Break your neck and a leg,” which is an old German saying for wishing someone luck….A sudden commotion outside caught our attention.

….To our surprise we saw two nuns in the their black robes screaming

Irene's World War 2 Childhood, (teen)Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape to Freedom (East to West Berlin)

Irene’s World War 2 Childhood, (teen)Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape to Freedom (East to West Berlin)

and running away from the train….Russian soldiers were in full pursuit and…intoxicated….People were forced to watch as they knocked the nuns to the ground…

….We finished our meal and thanked the cook. “You kids be careful getting that food home to your folks,” he warned.

Touching my shoulder, the cook whispered, “Survive little buddy. It’s better for now to be a boy.” [Excerpted from Book 2, My Years Hidden As a Boy, of the Iron Curtain Memoirs Series by Irene Kucholick]

When it came time to give her manuscript a name, Irene called it “Survive Little Buddy.” I changed it in the first edition because we put the memoir out in thirds. Before the Iron Curtain: My Wold War 2 Childhood, Behind the Iron Curtain: My Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape the Iron Curtain: My Journey to Freedom. In the second edition, though, we are taking the book back to her original title.

Inspired by an act of kindness.

Kindnesses can save lives.


Kristin King is an author, publisher who aspires to more random acts of kindness.



Posted by on April 14, 2016 in Memoirs & History


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8 responses to “K is for Kindnesses #AtoZChallenge Historical Treasure @AprilA2Z

  1. Linda Ann Nickerson

    April 18, 2016 at 4:34 pm

    I remember the movie. Nice to learn about your book!
    Happy A-Z. I’m doing the challenge with SEVEN of my blogs.

    Here are a few of them:
    Heart of a Ready Writer
    Kicking MS to the Curb
    Nickers and Ink Poetry and Humor

    Best wishes —

  2. kristinkingauthor

    April 18, 2016 at 1:01 pm


  3. Subhash Chatterji

    April 15, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    In this fast paced life people seem to forget the basics and I am sure everyone is filled with RAK just it needs to be re-ignited.

  4. Subhash Chatterji

    April 15, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Reblogged this on Wisdom|Sharing|Learning and commented:
    So impressed with the concept of sharing and spreading kindness, need of the hour. Random Acts of Kindness. Thanks for writing this wonderful article Kristin

  5. dalecooper57

    April 15, 2016 at 8:31 am

    It speaks to the human condition that these small acts of kindness stay in the memory. I’d be willing to bet that the cook had done the same thing many times before and since; sometimes the darkest times are the ones that bring out the best in people.

    I’d forgotten about Pay It Forward, but I seem to recall that it had Jon Bon Jovi in it. Not a great film.

  6. kristinkingauthor

    April 14, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    Yes, it’s so easy to rush through the day and not really see people or share the good in us with each other. Today is the hour. Now is the time. Thanks for you encouragement.

  7. Subhash Chatterji

    April 14, 2016 at 6:45 am

    Very well written article, I believe this is the need of the hour for the world, to spread kindness, thanks for sharing such wonderful thoughts.


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