Today my mom's cousin Steve and his son were in town, and we and they had lunch with Oma and ended up talking about the very different experiences Oma and her brother (Steve's father) had had during World War II.
Oma was about thirteen when Holland was invaded, and eighteen when it was liberated. I had heard only a few stories before, and heard them again today - about how Oma's sister was allotted extra food because she tested positive for tuberculosis and how a bird flew in through the window every day to eat from the extra butter. I had known that German soldiers - or maybe just one German soldier - had lived in Oma's family's house, forced quartering exactly as forbidden by the United States Constitution. Today I heard about that from Oma, in more detail - she was very emphatic about how the man had walked up her stairs and into her bedroom, how she had been moved into her parents' room, how everyone agreed that it was just not right, not decent.
Her brother, Steve's father, was five years older. When he was eighteen, the Germans took over Holland and sent him off to work in Germany, in a Volkswagen factory. He worked there for five years, the entire time of the occupation. The story Steve told, the one he had heard the most just as we had always heard the story of the bird and the butter and the tuberculosis, was about the egg his father got by post. The family back in Holland had gotten an egg - just one egg, and the two sisters did so want to eat it themselves - and shipped it, by post, to the son in Germany. But it was spoiled by the time it reached him, and he wrote a letter back home, saying 'Thank you very much for the egg, but it was spoiled.' The family wrote back, saying 'Spoiled or not, you should have eaten it anyway.'
Here Oma interrupted to say that her brother had always thought that eggs were spoiled, even at home, when they weren't.
Anyway, I found these stories fascinating.
And I was inspired to try to send an egg through the post. Not in a box or anything - the one in the story was in a box, though. So this evening I hard-boiled an egg, stuck two stamps on it, addressed it to my brother in Endor, and wrote him a longish note (seriously, who knew eggs had so much surface area?) on the other side.
Hi Mr Fusion!
This is a hard-boiled egg, and I'm sending it to you through the mail, just like a postcard! Isn't that cool? Since it's already been scientifically proven that the postal service will mail a coconut, I figured I'd test whether it will mail an egg. So, fingers crossed, hope you get this. I wonder whether anyone's ever done this before, yeah, someone probably has. But I've never heard of it! And now I have a few more lines' worth of egg surface area to fill and this sentence is filling it.... Yeah!
Now I sure hope he doesn't Google to find out whether anyone's ever done it before, and find this instead, 'cause I just Googled, and it looks like nobody's ever done this before....