Many of our temptations are food associated, and doctors may say we’re risking our lives, but Irene’s food temptation (Iron Curtain Memoirs) involved flying bullets. Same temptation taken to a whole other level.
The mission was to find her father, search for him across the border in West Germany. What makes her dare the border patrols again is food for her family, for Mama, brothers Ortwin and Hartmut, and baby Christine.
Near the village of Stockheim I saw a woman in front of a farmhouse washing milk cans. I approached her. After explaining my needs, she faced me, put her hands on her hips and looked me up and down for a full minute. Then she said, “Come in the house.
I followed her.
“I am a war widow. I have a sizable farm and my foreign help has gone home. I grow produce and it is hard to get help….No one will work for so little money.” She poured me a glass of fresh milk then sat down and watched me drink it.
She looked very serious and said, “How about you? Are you interested in work?”
“I’ll have to think about it….I need food more than money.”
“I would let you go home every second weekend or so.”
“But how can I go back and forth safely?”
“I know a forest master well, he may be able to help you.”
“I don’t see how it could work, I mean, to help you on a continuous basis.”
“I’ll give you as much food as you can carry.”
To get food to Mama was a real temptation. To risk my life crossing the border again was another matter.
I hesitated, then said, “I’ll help for a while. Let me think about coming back after I try crossing the border again. It is very dangerous on the other side.” She nodded, saying she knew the border well.
I hesitated again, then took the plunge. “I must tell you something you don’t know. I am a girl.”
Her eyes widened and she looked at me more closely.
[Returning home after 2 weeks work] ….Everybody cried with joy….
“I looked and looked for Papa and I couldn’t find him.” I was out of breath and very tired. “Mama, I’ll go back to the farm where I worked and bring lots of good food home.”
“It’s too dangerous, I’m afraid you’ll be killed!”
I knew we could use the food. Everyone look so thin and hungry. With great pleasure, I watched their faces when we opened the knapsack and then the suitcase. A large piece of ham, and so much bacon. They had not seen this much meat since before the war.
Late in April I convinced Mama that I should try once more to cross the border….She hugged me as I left, saying, “God be with you Irene. Be careful.” Tears streaked her thin worried face. [Excerpts from Survive Little Buddy: Iron Curtain Memoirs Books 1, 2, and 3 in one volume. Copyright Irene Kucholick 1996. All rights reserved.]
Temptation. More meat than they’d seen since years before, since World War 2 began. Part of me can dimly understand while another part cannot imagine the risks. For A to Z “X” you’ll see one of her border crossings.
Jump forward with me to Nurse Irene times…U is for Uranium Mine Punishment.
Kristin King is an author and the publisher of Irene Kucholick’s Iron Curtain Memoirs. Baked goods, savory and sweet, are Kristin’s biggest temptations…and maybe one more round of Cookie Jam (think Candy Crush with baked goods). Living in Holland, Kristin says the food temptations lean toward stroop waffle cookies, fries, and Dutch pancakes.