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Memories

There are small tables and chairs, parasols.
But I have chosen for the bench the people of the club have made.
In the sun. Raw. Sturdy. Unprotected.
Close to the fence.

I can feel the wind, smell the freshly mown grass, watch the birds who are at home here.
A soft humming noise is approaching.
In the old days, there was a rule: you may play on the grass, but you must not be on the tarmac.
It seems to be the other way round here. But there are no kids either, today.

In the old days things were different.
“You come with me?”
Pa doesn't need to say more. He knows the answer already.
I have already put on my shoes.
There is no place in the whole world where I rather want to be.
Not in our newly built family home, not in my own little princess room with the lots of books, not in the playing room, not in the big garden with the big swing.

My dearest place is this very strip of grass where I may play.
Where all the big people go, who are a bit different.
Some of them are even quite crazy.
Where I got a new name of my own, everybody here knows me by that name, and everybody calls me by that name.
Only there is the place where that name is valid,
where a smell of oil and gasoline hangs in the air, and again and again the sound of a starting or landing little airplane.

Pa also has got an airplane. Together with his friends, E.-A. the advocate, and Paule, the dentist. E.-A. usually flies gliders, but he joined for fun and friendship (and the love of flying, I suppose)
As I haven't got real uncles I may call him “uncle”.
He is a nice person, and always in for a joke.
I can't wait until Pa gets the plane out of the hangar. Just as Nico, our “flying dog”.

One day I may join uncle E.-A.
The glider is small, light, vulnerable. How would it be to fly in it?
A “real” airplane gives us a lift.
“Are you afraid? “ No way!
There is a brief chat in the radio, a soft klick of metal, and the plane in front of us is gone.
The world is silent.
There is only one one sound left.
Very softly, almost caressing, you can hear the updrafts around you.
It is an unknown silence that I hear. And I become silent, and full of happiness as well.


“Liebe Oma, lieber Opa”
Such begins the short the message my father wrote on may 2, 1968, on a postcard of an aeroplane to my grandparents.
“This plane I flew today”
We had just landed.

Pa had given the wallet with the logbook and the map to me. As we flew alone, I could sit on the passenger's chair next to him.
The world beneath us was so tiny. Houses as lego blocks. Roads with tiny cars, rivers, lakes. The many colors of fileds and meadows.
“Dad, look, that is this village benath of us! And that is this river! Now we are here!”
I was five years old, but obviously I could not only read, but I could also read a map.

“Put the wallet down. And then you grab the control stick and feel what it does.”
Was it really that easy?
The plane does exactly what dad does!
Left, right, up, down....
“Now it's your turn!”
Dad lets go the control, hands up in the air.!
Hold it! And carefully to the left.... see how it goes? And straight forward again. Go up a bit.... towards you!
Well done!”

I CAN FLY!

Of course, that is strictly forbidden. But that moment may have lasted forever.
When we came back to the airfield I was allowed to report us back.
“Delta-Echo …... asks permission to land!”
I have never lost the twinkling of the stars in my eyes!


Next to me a plane gets ready to start.
The propeller blows up the freshly cut grass and the dust.


“You come with me?” 


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