Tag Archive | summer project

Day Four of the “Taj Garage” Saga

It occurred to me this morning that I should have been taking pictures of our garage construction, but I’m about four days too late. Kevin told Ken that I would be able to park in the garage tonight after they finished their work day. I’ll have to see it to believe it.

After all we’ve gone through to get this structure built, it almost seems like a dream that we’ve come this far in four days. But there it is standing proudly on it’s cement slab with four walls and a roof. Hippee!

The only hiccup we’ve experienced happened yesterday. I looked out the window to see the progress and witnessed a man digging a trench along the edge of the patio so the electrical service could run from the house to the garage. Ouch. (Look deep into the hole to see the wire.)

Wire in trench

Wire in trench

I just planted three bunches of perennials in the same place. I searched the yard to find out what happened to my newest babies and saw them dumped in a heap next to a bed of weeds. taj garage 006

I thought, “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” took a deep breath, and closed the blind. Even though I was horrified the guy digging the trench obviously didn’t revere my flowers as much as I did, I calmed myself knowing if the poor phlox and daisies died, the garden center still had some left.

When I went out to take these pictures this morning, I noticed my new bench cushions are now covered in saw dust.

taj garage 004

So before we invite hordes of people to help us celebrate our new building, I have a couple of chores to attend to. But I certainly think such an accomplishment deserves a party. I haven’t had a good excuse to have a party all summer.



Chapter 10

 Lviv, Ukraine – April—Russian occupiers in Lviv dictated the Jews needed to swear allegiance to the U. S. S. R. or otherwise, they would be sent to Siberia. Train cars full of Jews started to leave the city everyday, and Heidi’s intuition told her she should get ready to leave too. She returned from her afternoon dance lesson with the children and witnessed Fritz throwing his meager belongings into a flour sack.

“Fritz, where are you going?”

“To Siberia. The Russians are deporting me.”

“No!” Heidi gasped. “You cannot go. You must run!”

“Run where, frauline? I cannot go back to Poland. I do not possess the money to get to Switzerland or Israel. Where should I go?”

“I will help you, Fritz.”

“You are not Jewish, Heidi. You are German so take advantage of it. You must leave with the children.”

“Where? Where would we go, Fritz? I can’t possibly go on the road alone with them.”

“You must go to Hungary. My friends in Budapest will help. I will write you a note of introduction.”

He searched for a scrap of paper and wrote a few words in Hungarian.

Heidi pleaded with him. “Please come with me, Fritz. Together we can succeed in such a journey.”

“No. I would only be trouble for you sweet Heidi. The Russians will hunt me down. and I would put you in jeopardy. I cannot take responsibility for you ending up in a gulag, and what would become of the children? The Russians might even hand us over to the Nazis for deportation to the concentration camps.”

“I cannot travel alone with three children under the age of six, Fritz.”

“You can and you will. You are strong, Heidi. Stronger than you realize.” He handed her an envelope with a Hungarian address. “Take this. These people will help you.”

She bit her lip to hold tears back. “Please reconsider Fritz. You are my friend. I cannot lose another friend.”

Fritz touched the side of her face and studied her blue eyes. “I am a true friend, my sweet Heidi. I am letting you go for your own good.” Fritz kissed her forehead. “Be careful. Leave as soon as possible.” He grabbed his bag and left her standing in the hallway sobbing.


Since the burial of their mother, David and Ruthie remained sad and quiet. Heidi tried to soften their loss, with stories about a girl and three children who went off on a long journey to a new magical land. People believed the new land was beautiful, and best of all a wonderful wizard lived there, and he would protect them from the terrible wolves in the forest. With the wizard’s help, the children would be safe and happy.

David asked a lot of questions about the three young heroes, and when Heidi told him he could be just like them, David perked up. “I am ready to go and find the good wizard. Let’s leave, Heidi!”

“Soon, David, very soon.


Heidi planned the next two weeks carefully. She decided to turn David and Ruthie into German Catholics. First she dyed the children’s hair blonde. Then she bought newer clothes and shoes and discarded all of their Jewish books and clothing so no signs of Jewry existed.

Denying the children of their heritage made Heidi sad, but to protect them, she needed to disavow their parents and their religion. Heidi found a children’s catechism book in some books at the church and began drilling them on Catholic beliefs. David and Ruthie learned new prayers by rote. Heidi taught them the sign of the cross and how to use a rosary saying the prayers they learned–The Hail Mary, Our Father, and Glory Be. When Heidi sensed they absorbed enough, she took them to Mass each Sunday and introduced them around town as her children.

She also taught David and Ruthie simple German words and phrases which might come in handy if they met any Nazis on the road. By the time they would leave Lviv, Heidi would transform these children to look and talk like German gentiles.

Heidi drilled David everyday. “Remember, David, you must never tell anyone that you lived in Warsaw. You must never say we lived in Lviv. You must not speak of your parents. We are from Berlin. We are going to visit relatives in the next town. Do you understand?”

David shook his head to the affirmative. “Yes, Miss Heidi.”

Heidi said, “One more thing. I realize this is hard, David, but you must call me Mutter.”

David screwed up his face. “Why?”

“Because your mother would want you to. That’s why.” Heidi hated herself for being cross with David.

She turned to Ruthie and spoke softly. “You must remember the same, my sweet girl.”

Ruthie smiled. “Ja, Mutter.” She said with a perfect Berliner accent.

Heidi smiled and then turned stern in an instant. “Most importantly, you must never tell anyone you are Jewish. Do you understand?”

The two small children looked at Heidi with wide eyes. They didn’t understand why Heidi demanded such silly things, but they loved her and understood their mother would want them to obey her.

Heidi hugged them. “Oh my sweet children. This is so hard; I understand. You must not be afraid. As long as I am with you, I promise to keep you safe. We are going on a great adventure, and someday, you both can tell Jacob about our travels.” She forced a lilt in her voice.

David hugged Heidi around her legs. “I love you, Heidi. I will like you to be my mutter.”

Heidi smiled and kissed him on the cheek. “Bedtime, my dear children. Let us say our prayers.”

The children knelt on the bare wooden floor, bowed their heads, and folded their hands. “Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. . . .