We were all elated when our apartment building was finally completed and we could move in. It was located at the outskirts of Velbert en route towards the Baldeney Lake and the city of Essen, where my dad worked at the Krupp dental laboratory.
Our apartment building had three floors with two apartments on each except on the third floor where we lived. Our apartment was on one side and the big communal loft for drying laundry on the opposite side. Our apartment was an attic apartment with slightly slanted ceilings.
We had two small bedrooms, a large living room, a kitchen and a bathroom. In the basement were individual storage rooms for all the renters and there was also the big laundry room. At that time most women ( it was still the women’s job) still washed by hand. There were big tubs to boil bed and table linen in,
washboards to scrub grimy work clothes with, and other utensils to wring out the heavy items. Every month each family had scheduled wash days. My mother was always exhausted during those days and dinner was mostly a lentil soup which I hated. But the new bed sheets smelled so fresh.
Even though our apartment was by modern standards very small, we were thrilled to move out of that crammed emergency shelter at the Old House.
My mother was overjoyed to have a bright, clean kitchen with running water and a big electric stove. Through the large window over the sink she could see the comings and goings on the front yard and the road. She could wave us good-bye in the morning and see us come home.
My dad was thrilled by the location of our apartment which was close to a park like a forest leading to the city’s outdoor swimming pool under an old railroad bridge.
He also loved the view from all the windows. Endless fields and meadows leading to forested hills at the horizon. Great hiking territory.
In the living room, he finally had a huge wall unit where he could store his many mostly historical books and his beloved Brockhaus encyclopedia, Over the last few years my sister had sent these big tomes from the east one volume at a time. Now they had a home again.
My brother and I were happy that we would get our own room and didn’t have to sleep in bunk beds any more. I was so relieved that we finally could have a regular bath and shower and go to a flush toilet instead of a cold, smelly outhouse.
My mother had a great talent of finding and arranging practical and attractive looking furniture. To save space she bought wall beds. Since my parents slept in the living room that was a necessity. Wall beds were cleverly designed and very comfortable.
For me she bought a futon style bed which looked very beautiful and served as a couch over the day time. I also had a wall bed in my room for visitors since my room was bigger than my brother’s bedroom.
Although our apartment did not match up to the spacious and luxurious places my parents were used to rent in the past, they were happy. My mother was brimming over with ideas how to make our bright new home comfortable and beautiful.
Finally we could invite friends and neighbors without feeling ashamed by our primitive and crammed accommodation at the Old House.
Since my mother was a wonderful host and loved company, my friends were delighted to visit at our new place. From that time on my friends and I met mostly at our place.
There was also another incentive to visit our place because there was a chance to meet my brother and his friends. Since we went to segregated schools, meeting young people of the opposite sex was not easy.
I’ll talk about those meetings and interactions in another post. And it is about time that I tell you more about my twin brother.