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Z is for Zee End #AtoZchat

For a limited time - only 99 cents! Irene's World War 2 Childhood, (teen)Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape to Freedom (East to West Berlin) Books 1, 2, and 3 in one volume.

For a limited time – only 99 cents!
Irene’s World War 2 Childhood, (teen)Years Hidden As a Boy, and Escape to Freedom (East to West Berlin) Books 1, 2, and 3 in one volume.

Zee end only of the A to Z Challenge for this year. The Historical Treasure of Irene’s memoirs will continue. Audio versions will be released. New covers will be completed. We’ll eventually make it onto promotion lists with wider readership.

Irene herself will continue to swim at the gym, make music with her choir and struggle to hold on to this life and live it to the fullest. Today that means she’s probably throwing the ball for her lab, Rusty, and visiting with friends at church. Tomorrow she might be on a seniors tour bus to a new destination, or sharing with folks at the German-American Club.

As I look over all the work to write 26 blogs in one month, I can’t help checking the results. 200 new followers, 60 comments, 3 times the number of average views, 8 books sold. Gains big and small.

What’s more important in this A to Z Challenge though is the message. The encouragement of one soul. The inspiration of a small kindness. The resolve to one act of bravery.

Irene’s memoirs continue to receive mostly 5 star reviews which is blessing and a problem, since we’ve been told books with almost all 5 stars are “suspicious” to buyers. A new review during the A to Z Challenge says:

Something new April 16, 2016
With all of the books (both fiction and nonfiction) about World War II, I thought that this memoir might say what already has been said. I was completely wrong — it is a new and fresh account of life in eastern Germany, during the war and after, that comes alive and moves at a fast pace. Irene describes her life in a matter of fact way — the reader takes in all of the facts and stories and comes away with new knowledge and new understanding, and the feeling of meeting face to face with a living heroine. To rise to your very best self in the midst of the worst of humanity is a story worth reading. I would recommend this book to both adults and teenagers.

Thanks to each one of you for reading, for liking, for sharing, for each review. Please continue to help us share by joining Irene’s Survive Little Buddy News list. Meanwhile, we pray all of you who joined her journey here or elsewhere find a nugget to hold to in rough days.

A to Z Historical Treasure – Nuggets

A is for Anne (Frank) and Irene in World War 2 http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Xb
B is for Bolsheviks http://wp.me/p8Fvh-X0
C is for Crazy Kids in World War 2 http://wp.me/p8Fvh-YF
D is for Dreams – What inspired ur career? http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Yz
E is for Eating, Cold War Style http://wp.me/p8Fvh-YS
F is for Fear of Rape, Post War Years http://wp.me/p8Fvh-YN
G is for Gestapo http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Z1
H is for Hidden As a Boy http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Z5
I is for Interview Videos – Morgue Normal, Nurse and War Bride – Beyond the Book http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Zd
J is for Jews in Hiding http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Zi
K is for Kindnesses http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Zs
L is for Louis Armstrong http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Zn
M is for Music to Survive http://wp.me/p8Fvh-Zx

N is for Nursing with Comrades http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZG
O is for ON Vacation Soviet Style http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZD
P is for Publishing Unexpectedly http://wp.me/p8Fvh-YU
Q is for Questions from Readers http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZK
R is for Russian Accordion http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZQ
S is for Spy http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZT
T is for Temptation http://wp.me/p8Fvh-ZY
U is for Uranium Mine Punishment http://wp.me/p8Fvh-104
V is for Video “I was a spy?” http://wp.me/p8Fvh-10d
W is for West Berlin Refugee Camp http://wp.me/p8Fvh-10a
X is for Border Crossing http://wp.me/p8Fvh-10g
Y is for YELL ABOUT IT http://wp.me/p8Fvh-10q
Z is for Zee End

What’s next? Back to Living in Holland with a special event we attended last week…The King’s Ball.

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Kristin King is Irene Kucholick’s publisher and friend. She hopes you find the strength to, as the reviewer said, “rise to your very best self.”

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2016 in Memoirs & History

 

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M is for Music to Survive #AtoZChallenge Historical Treasure @AprilA2Z

Same brand Irene now owns, Hohner accordion from the Latin Collection

Same brand Irene now owns, Hohner accordion from the Latin Collection

(April is A to Z Historical Treasure featuring posts related to the memoir “Survive Little Buddy: Iron Curtain Memoirs” by Irene Kucholick.)

Do you remember your first instrument? My lil’ guys were so excited recently because they and all their classmates got recorders to learn to play. My nine-year old even tries to practice instead of doing other homework, so he’s on a time limit till that’s done.

Irene’s instrument was the accordion, and her lessons didn’t stop because she lost interest but rather because the music teacher’s space was bombed. She certainly had a World War 2 Childhood. She continued to practice and play not knowing that  music would help her survive the post-war Iron Curtain when she spent three years hidden as a boy.

One cold winter morning Krista and I walked into Chemnitz. I carried my accordion but my fingers were too cold to play. Most of the activity was, as usual, at the railroad station, so we went there to see what was happening. People were sitting on bundles of luggage waiting for trains….A few soldiers were playing cards. The only sound seemed to be the shuffle and snap of cards as they played….A melancholy mood was everywhere.

“Let’s sing and I’ll play, Krista.”

We started. heads turned and people smiled. This was the encouragement we needed. We sand some of the old German folk songs: “A Penny and a Dollar,” and “When All Fountains Are Running” and others.

Coins were tossed toward us….a young man picked up the coins and put them in his hat, gathering more as they were tossed….

“Krista, we could us this money to ride the trains out to places where food is more plentiful.”

Working on 2nd edition cover of My Years Hidden As a Boy

Working on 2nd edition cover of My Years Hidden As a Boy

An idea was born and we decided to try it…with permission from our mothers who gave it only reluctantly….When night came we slept in waiting rooms of railroad stations, hunched against the wall, or on a bench if one was empty.

….Police occasionally disturbed us when they came to check our IDs and tickets. Some German police overlooked our playing and singing, since it was clearly evident people seemed happier when they heard us. More often though, they forbade us to play in no uncertain terms, whether we had a ticket to travel or not. Anyone without a ticket had to leave the station and might even be arrested.

We were told, “You better watch out for the Russian patrol. They won’t allow any singing and playing in railroad stations,” and they warned us that we could get arrested for that.

Some young kids around the stations kept watch for us.[Excerpt from My Years Hidden As a Boy, Book 2 of Survive Little Buddy. All rights reserved.]

The accordion has always fascinated me. I love to watch how the player makes it breathe and sing its husky chords. Irene still plays, though I’ve only cajoled her into it a couple times, once using my children and their lack of ever having seen one played as the impetus. Unfortunately I don’t have video of her playing. We set her accordion next to her on the couch in some of her videos, though, so you can see what her current instrument, a Hohner accordion, looks like.

I want to say a quick “Thank You!” to everyone who has stopped by, left a comment, and watched our videos.

Next we’re jumping ahead into Book 3 of Irene’s memoirs where she is a young adult working behind the Iron Curtain. “N is for Nurse Comrades” in communist East Germany.

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Kristin King is an author and publisher who inquired about taking accordion lessons in middle school from the church organist. Lessons never panned out, yet Kristin still appreciates listening to players and is more likely to stop for a street performer with said instrument. She is now wondering if Irene knows whatever happened to singing friend Krista.

 

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2016 in Memoirs & History

 

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