A Love for the Ages (comments welcome)

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A Love for the Ages (comments welcome)

Postby TxCat » August 30th, 2011, 8:08:56 pm

Special thanks to Dee Marouche, my beloved, for the recovery of the electronic documents I deleted and for his systematic archiving of the paper journals I burned.

I appreciate feedback, especially if there are errors or plot holes I have missed. Please feel free to either comment here or drop a PM. I don't bite.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

A Word about This Story

This is, I suppose, what you might consider a fictionalized autobiography. Certain elements have been altered owing to lapses in memory and because, frankly, straight recollections are boring. Other elements have been obscured because it was the only way I could tell the story and make it public. The man in this story, my first true love who eventually becomes my beloved, works for a US government agency. The telling is, of course, through the reminiscing eye of an adult but even if that were not the case, I'm afraid the narrative would still be somewhat stilted. At age ten, I had an IQ of 160 and had been reading, writing, and comprehending on an adult level since age three. Of necessity, the narrative reflects that as well; I am not going to manufacture a childhood which was, quite simply, not really there in the first place.

Finally: these events begin in the late 1970s and span through the present decade. The year we were deployed to West Germany (and that is also correct for the time) was 1979 to be exact. If you find the details cumbersome, that is also necessary. It was, I suspect, a very different time and world from the one in which you live.

With respect to that, I have restored the story and shall continue.
Last edited by TxCat on September 2nd, 2011, 8:10:20 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: A Love for the Ages

Postby TxCat » August 31st, 2011, 5:07:28 am

Chapter 1

In the army, family quarters are painted one of two colors: Colgate white or Crest green. Time to move on to the next posting and all the holes had to be filled (they give demerits for marred walls and deduct the price of fixing them from the active duty personnel's pay). We'd tried various putties in the past, but nothing seemed to work as well as those two substances. The inspection officer didn't seem to care about the place reeking of mint as long as he didn't see any holes in the cinder block.

We'd been stationed at Fort Dix for five years, the longest period of time we'd ever lived in one place. When my Ma began fanatically cleaning our house, throwing away things which were worn out and donating things which she could easily replace, I knew we'd be given a new assignment soon. The trip to the commissary for more tubes of toothpaste than even an orthodontist's family could possibly use up in a year confirmed it.

“Where are we going next?” I dared to ask at supper time. My Pa, his amber eyes shining, looked over at my Ma as though to confirm something. She nodded once, sharply, which told me they weren't quite in agreement about whatever the destination was, but Pa pulled a sheaf of papers from his fatigue pocket along with some travel brochures.

“They accidentally passed me over for assignment last period,” he explained, more for Ma's benefit than for mine because he knew that in spite of being only ten years old I had an adult's comprehension of most things. You grow up fast and hard if you're an army brat and one of the things which goes quickly by the wayside is innocence. At that age I'd seen more of the world and the awful things that human beings can do to one another than most people experience in a lifetime. I'd no way of knowing that by the time our tour of duty had been cut short, I'd see much more and my childhood would be completely destroyed.

Passing my Pa over for promotion and reassignment had likely not been an accident. He had a mouth on him with a streak of honesty and loyalty which wouldn't let him take an order he perceived as bad for the men under his command. Unfortunately, he'd never learned the tact to go with it. However, as none of his infractions were ever serious enough to warrant dishonorable discharge or time served or even serious disciplinary action, I didn't think the base commander and his company commander could really justify keeping him in one place so long. Besides, he did another job for his country. At the time, I'd little idea of what 'special intelligence' actually meant but it was dangerous and that meant sometimes Pa would, as he termed it, be tossed a bone for his service and a job well done. This assignment seemed to be one of them.

“I get my choice of assignment this time,” he continued, his eyes still on my Ma.

“I want off the east coast,” she said, her mouth puckered into that thin line which usually meant that someone was about to get whacked a good one. “I don't care what the next posting is as long as it's off the eastern seaboard.”

“Would West Germany be far enough away for you?” Pa asked, and then he smiled one of his rare lopsided smiles in which the right corner of his mouth curved just a bit higher than the left and showed an even row of white front teeth including the gap.

“What's the catch?” she countered but the thin line began to soften. I knew she'd hoped we would be reassigned out west, perhaps to California or Texas and certainly closer to her family in Colorado, but I also knew she liked traveling to foreign countries.

“Well,” Pa admitted, “it is a hot zone. The installation isn't far off the Yugoslavian border and I might not be home a lot. We'd be required to make some contacts with the amateur radio community, do some visiting, find out where their loyalties lie.”

“Hmm,” Ma replied noncommittally, “well, it's better than Alaska!” That had been their first choice, until Pa found out the vehicle would need a modified exhaust system just to be driven on the few highways they had up there and that we'd likely be trapped wherever we were assigned by heavy snows for eight months out of the year. Ma hadn't wanted to be that isolated and Pa hadn't wanted to alter the factory perfect Dodge he'd ordered direct from the factory when we'd returned from Panama and driven off the line in Charlotteville.

Ma yanked me out of school the next day so that I could watch my baby sister and help with the packing. It didn't matter much as school would be over in about a month anyhow and we weren't learning anything I didn't already know, for all that it was supposed to be both middle school and a gifted and talented placement. Amy, at age 6, still wasn't old enough to attend first grade. They calculated such things in the Department of Defense schools weirdly and the deadline for registration was a birth date on or before September 1st.

Amy had been born October 9th and was what most teachers would have considered a slow child. She learned, but not in the same manner other children her age did and certainly not as quickly or as easily. When she'd been born, the army doctors had examined her for mongloidism but she didn't have enough of the diagnostic signs to meet the criteria. Instead, they'd labeled her an FLK (funny looking kid) and had suggested my parents institutionalize her.

That didn't sit well with my Pa; he refused to do so and let her stay with us to learn at her own pace. She could color in the lines and she knew her colors and shapes but she didn't talk much. When she did talk, however, it was always in a clear voice and in full sentences. My Pa tried to cover his impatience with her --- he hated to deal with people who couldn't comprehend things as quickly as he could --- but he could never quite do so. That was up to me, which was why I ended up entertaining her while we packed.

In the army, packing for a move means a completely different set of chores than it would for a civilian family. Army families are allotted a weight limit --- calculated according to a complex formula involving rank, merit, number of family members, and destination --- for household goods and a separate weight allowance for personal items. Long before airlines got snippy about the size of carry-on luggage and the number of suitcases which could be checked in to the cargo hold, we dealt with these restrictions. Before, because the assignments to a post had never been more than three years, we'd restricted ourselves to that weight limit in addition to whatever could be crammed into the family station wagon. This time, because we would be traveling overseas, we couldn't pack anything in the station wagon (in fact, late one night I heard my Pa and Ma arguing because the big brass didn't want to ship our relatively new vehicle; he'd finally been granted an exception because, with a lowly sergeant's salary, we couldn't afford to buy a new one overseas).

The majority of our days, until a few days before scheduled deployment, were therefore spent sorting through belongings to determine what would go and what could be left behind to be replaced at a later date...or, in the case of my stuffed animals, what Ma thought was no longer needed.

“You're a bit big to be playing with those now,” she told me. “Go through them again. I'll let you keep about a dozen of them,” she said, seeing my disappointment, and plucked three --- a faded elephant marked like the American flag, a bright yellow elephant my Pa had bought me, and a dirty faded beanbag with no face which I'd had since I was a baby --- from the pile. “These don't count.”

Among the things which did count which I was no longer to play with were my Playschool people, my Weebles, all of their play sets, all but one Barbie in her case with a small wardrobe...and all of the My Little Pony figures. I did get to keep the old cloth Raggedy Ann doll which had belonged to my Ma and a few others which were collector's pieces and not toys but I cried for a long time, after everyone else had gone to bed, over those My Little Pony dolls. I vowed that, no matter how old I was, I would find them again and get them back.

Perhaps because both parents loved books as much as I did and because they had encouraged the amassing of the collection, which spanned just about every topic you could imagine holding a ten year old's interest and some which went beyond even that age group, I was not asked to part with any of those; either that, or they knew I would not do so no matter how much they threatened. Books were my window to a better world, a wider world beyond the strict military lifestyle we led. Sergeant David Alan Wolfe might not have enjoyed the fact that his first issue had been female (strike one!), bookish (not necessarily a strike but certainly not an advantage to a man wishing for an active lad to follow in his footsteps), and pudgy (this was probably the most grievous offense because, no matter how much I exercised and no matter how far they restricted my caloric intake I remained rotund) but he respected my quick wit and intellect and did what he could to nurture them if he could not understand them.

The books, it turned out, constituted most of my share of the household allowance and a goodly portion of my personal allowance. My Ma mentally calculated their number against the huge pile of dresses, most of them in icky pastels and festooned with itchy lace, which I had discarded in their favor. My small suitcase contained a week's worth of underthings (but no bras yet; I could not convince either of them that some of the 'fat rolls' were, in fact, boobs), three pairs of polyester slacks, two pairs of well worn jeans, a corduroy jumper, about ten tee shirts, extra socks, and one nice blouse to go with the jumper.

“Never mind, Jude,” my Pa told her when Ma complained. “She'll not need much in the way of casual clothing when we get there, just enough for the summer. School will take care of the rest.”

That sounded ominous; I crept closer, concealing myself in the alcove formed by an juncture of the living room wall with the hallway leading to the bedrooms. Fat as I was, I could still fit in this space and had discovered long ago that it was an ideal place for finding out things the adults would rather I not.

“Dave, are you sure ---”

“Someone's got to get her fit. God knows we've tried. Her eating habits ---”

“She says she doesn't cheat....”

At that point, I almost lost all discretion and ran in to shout at both of them. I didn't cheat; I ate exactly what I was given at the table and no more. It wasn't my fault that my body seemed determined to turn whatever I was given into even more fat.

A small whistling sound momentarily distracted me and I lost the next few seconds of conversation. For someone labeled retarded, Amy sure seemed to have a good sense of people. Just now, she had put one finger to her lips and made a small negative gesture with the other. Her brown, doe-like eyes begged me to stay where I was; we both knew my Pa would take off his utility belt and --- rightly so --- whip me until I couldn't sit down if I was caught listening to the adults' conversations without permission. I also knew they almost never gave permission, a situation which frustrated me. I might only be ten years old, but I'd demonstrated time and again an adult's understanding of most things. I expected to be treated as an adult, not as an embarrassing pest.

It struck me then, as my Pa went on speaking, that he was ashamed of me. “....can't have her continue like that. She'll be useless to society, someone to be mocked and dismissed. One of my girls needs to have a future.”

I hoped, looking down at Amy who stood loyally beside me with a thumb in her mouth and the other grubby hand tucked into mine, that she didn't understand what Pa had said. About me, I didn't care but my little sister didn't need to know Pa thought her stupid, incapable of learning, and undeserving of a future. I could tell, however, by the way her face scrunched up and how she looked at me, eyes --- she spoke so eloquently with those big brown eyes! --- begging me to deny the import of those callously spoken words.

“They're going to send you away.”

“Sounds like it, Aim, but I don't think there's much can be done about it.”

“I'm sorry,” she lisped. “I don't want to be stupid, but I can't help it!”

“It's not for you or because of you,” I consoled her, hugging her tightly. “Whatever happens, I should at least be able to right. Or come home on holidays. Or something!”

That night, I dug into the packing crate of books and retrieved Madeleine L'Engle's And Both Were Young and read to her until she fell asleep. It took me longer to drift off but by then I'd half convinced myself that if they did send me to a boarding school, it wouldn't be too bad. In fact, it might be an adventure.

I couldn't have been more wrong.
Last edited by TxCat on September 2nd, 2011, 7:58:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant. Harlan Ellison

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Re: A Love for the Ages

Postby Windkeeper » September 1st, 2011, 8:50:00 am

Most people who read are typically too lazy/shy to post.Just because you haven't received any comments doesn't mean no one read, hun. :t-swoon:
I saw this thread and was gonna save it for this morning to read as I didn't have time yesterday, but I'm disappointed to see it taken down. I really enjoy your comments in the hall of speakers and would of loved to see some of your creative writing.):


Dragon art auctionhere!(:

On a mini-Hiatus due to work and other life stuffs. If you ordered art from me, I will still be able to work on it! Just not as quickly as normal.
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Re: A Love for the Ages

Postby FyFy » September 1st, 2011, 1:35:37 pm

Windkeeper wrote:Most people who read are typically too lazy/shy to post.Just because you haven't received any comments doesn't mean no one read, hun. :t-swoon:
I saw this thread and was gonna save it for this morning to read as I didn't have time yesterday, but I'm disappointed to see it taken down. I really enjoy your comments in the hall of speakers and would of loved to see some of your creative writing.):

^ this, i didn't know if i was allowed to post on here since it was your story. but it was a very wonderful read. i looked forward to seeing the 3rd part up. i was actually going to PM you about it tonight (i didn't have time yesterday and i've been busy all morning today. i just snagged a few minutes on here before i have to hop off again XD ) i love how you type its very elegant and i enjoy reading every word <3
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Re: A Love for the Ages

Postby Mathcat » September 1st, 2011, 9:16:35 pm

I'll add my name to the list of people who'd been lurking around and enjoying the story. I'd been planning on leaving a review this weekend, once I had the time/energy/motivation to write more than "I enjoyed this, and am looking forward to seeing more." I usually do prefer fantasy and science fiction, but decided to read this because it had your name on it, and so I knew it was going to be good.

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Re: A Love for the Ages

Postby TxCat » September 2nd, 2011, 8:07:22 am

Chapter 2

The entire endeavor seemed to have a pall of failure over it from the start.

When a new posting is made, the active duty member leaves several weeks to a month before his family is expected in order to report for duty, get quarters assignments, and arrange for delivery of household goods. The household goods, if the family goes to an overseas post, usually gets transported via ship because it's less expensive. We would generally spend about a week in the base guest accommodations before getting the necessary passports and other paperwork which would allow for departure.

One day before we were to make the tedious drive to New York City and then board our plane out of La Guardia, my Pa called to report that the household goods had arrived, but the crane off loading them had snapped a cable. The dock workers had been able to salvage the big ugly plaid couch my Ma had bough last year, one of the end tables, and the matching laps. Our bedding, clothing, and most of our personal belongings (except, ironically, the books) had been destroyed beyond salvage by their dunking in sea water. The station wagon, at least, had been offloaded safely and he would still pick us up at the Frankfurt airport.

“Don't worry about it,” Pa said to Ma over a static laden satellite connection, “the army will give me a replacement allowance once a monetary value has been assessed to the losses.”

“All right, Dave,” she said, putting a good face on the situation so she wouldn't alarm either myself or my little sister. “We'll see you in a day or so.”

Ma sighed deeply, however, when she gave the phone back to the attendant. I understood, even at that age, that it could well be months --- if ever --- before the army did in fact replace what we'd lost. I didn't mind too much as long as the books were safe, for I loved the glass lamps with their large tear shaped amber glass bottoms, but I couldn't help wishing that the nasty old couch had drowned as well. I guess Ma felt she needed sturdy furniture with two active children and a poodle in the household, but really....it need not have been a disgusting shade of beige and green plaid! That wasn't its only aesthetic offense, either; the cushions were lumpy and uncomfortable, either too soft to sit upright on and read or too hard to stretch out for a proper nap, and I didn't think that a dunk in the Atlantic would have improved those features either.

Amy had been a small baby when we returned from Panama and hadn't needed her own seating; at six years old, the airline insisted she would be too big to sit on Ma's lap. We discovered the hard way she was also a lousy flyer. After the stewardess had specifically been told my baby sister suffered severe motion sickness and wasn't to be given anything to eat or drink, she naturally decided she knew better. My kid sister absolutely adored Hi-C orange drink and peanuts. Ma had no idea how many of the little juice boxes and foil packets of the stuff the stewardess had let her have but the moment the plane hit turbulence, it was all over us, the luggage rack, the floor, the upholstery in front of us, and three or four passengers in the surrounding seats.

Amy wailed, Ma burst into tears, and I suppressed a mad urge to start giggling. I knew if I did, I'd never stop and then my Ma would surely slap me somewhere into the next week. Everyone cleaned up as best they could, another stewardess took Amy and amused her for the rest of the trip to keep her quiet, and the grey haired lady across the aisle who looked as though she were someone's grandmother quietly slipped my mother a splash of something out of a flask she had apparently kept in her purse.

I looked out the window, watching the clouds sail by under the plane's wings, and wished Amy hadn't somehow managed to barf on my book. Another passenger fished around in his briefcase and eventually produced some sort of children's mystery novel which I read out of sheer boredom but I would much have preferred the brand new Ann McCaffrey novel my Pa had bought me before he left, special for this trip. I hadn't even gotten properly into the plot yet!

My Pa didn't help matters any. He took one look at our bedraggled state as my Ma tottered off the plane and just about busted a gut laughing. Ma kept stomping her feet and saying, “It's not funny, David!” but every time she did so it caused a fresh outbreak of laughter.

“Here, sit down for a few minutes.” He guided my Ma to a small restaurant on the concourse and, in fluent German, ordered a glass of wine and a plate of what looked like bread slices, cheeses, and lunch meats. Somewhat dazed and still protesting weakly, she settled herself into the wrought iron chair and began sampling the food which the waiter had brought. “Stay here, kiddo,” Pa said, thrusting me into the chair across from Ma. Digging around in his fatigue pockets, he finally located a book. “That ought to keep you busy.” I studied the cover, which was blue and had a picture of one of the classic Roman marble statues on it. The title seemed promising: The Republic by Plato.

I never did see where he took my little sister; how he managed to clean her up --- she'd have needed a real bath, not the vague scrubbing use of the public restrooms would have provided --- and find fresh clothing remained a minor mystery. The Republic turned out to be a philosophical history about the formation of a functional government with emphasis on the concepts of justice and order. It kept me occupied through the two hour drive from Frankfurt to our new posting just outside of Erlangen.

The post, I found, had no real name or if it did that wasn't something people mentioned. The dependents were actually quartered off the base, in blocks of apartments joined by three stairwells to a building. Each stairwell had a single door, locked at all times and for which only the residents of that specific section of the building had a key, and a glass front. I wondered at this apparent conflict of security measures until my Pa explained to me that it allowed them to see exactly who was coming and going at all times.

The apartment sections were linked by a basement storage section, one unit for each apartment and one utility area for each stairwell, linked by a utilitarian tunnel-like hallway painted a depressing shade of gunmetal gray. Later, I would learn that the first of each of the units, of which ours was one, held a concealed trapdoor leading to a sub basement which could serve as a bomb shelter. These, in turn, were linked to the outside city's sewer system and would provide a means of escape for dependents should a terrorist attack occur.

Our apartment was on the third floor, the apartment on the right in C stairwell. It didn't look anything like the other quarters we'd had. The floors, for one thing, were of burnished red-gold hardwood. A huge bank of windows which could be cranked outward to admit the breezes lined the living room. The kitchen, by comparison, seemed rather small but contained everything needed: sink (with a window above it, which pleased me since I was often stuck with this chore as punishment for ill thought out words spoken aloud at the wrong time or in the wrong place), gas stove, and a large refrigerator with completely separate compartments for bread, meats, and vegetables.

A buffet separated the kitchen from the dining area, which had a second bank of those amazing windows looking out into a grassy area between this apartment complex and the next which had been planted with some fast growing shade trees. The far end had space for a kiddie playground. The best feature of this room, in my opinion, was the window seat. Just now, it wasn't much more than a bare wooden box in which extra linens and dishes could be stored but in my mind I had already covered it in plush pillows and made it my private reading spot.

For the first time ever, I had my own bedroom. My baby sister had a small room, just larger than a closet, just off the hallway. Mine was at the end of the hallway opposite my parents'. Each room had the same large bank of windows, all of which could be cranked open and plenty of wall space for books. If I chose my clothes carefully and kept it simple, I could even put some shelves in the walk-in closet, I thought. It seemed a perfect place to hide a few things Ma might take a notion I was too big or too old for which I wanted to keep.

We didn't sleep there the first night, though....couldn't, with most of the furniture ruined and the rest on its way from the depot. Instead, my Pa requested and received rooms at the guest house on base. Afterward, he took us to a small, dark place 'on the economy' which looked like a bar but wasn't, exactly, because they served food and allowed children (I later found out this wasn't unusual; most Europeans considered their water undrinkable and children were allowed wine or beer from an early age, apparently without ill effect.) We strolled along Hartmanstrasse, the main street running in front of the installation, and my Pa pointed out the rathaus, similar in concept to our city hall, and several pieces of bauhaus architecture. The restaurant to which he took us said 'wirsthaus', which turned out to mean they specialized in sausage dishes, but this particular place also served pizza and rotisserie chicken. I stared in fascination at the bizarre sight of the spitted chickens rotating in the front window and looking like a bizarre headless chorus line, until my Pa put a hand on my shoulder and guided me inside.

I thought, after looking around the darkened interior, that the place might once upon a time have been a tavern or an inn. The plaster ceiling was held up by thick, square hardwood beams covered with what seemed like generations of hearth smoke. The main hearth, nearly as wide as a grown man was tall and about as high, had either been converted for spit roasting or had always had that function. The carcass rotating slowly on that spit must have been mutton because it seemed rather small to be beef. Long wooden trestle tables lined the sides of the place; each one had a large candle in thick colored glass burning at its center while overhead lanterns with swirly amber glass shades added their fitful light. The customer base seemed about equally composed of soldiers still in uniform, just off their shift, German civilians, and a handful of families either from the base or from the surrounding community. Snips of conversations in various languages floated on the air: French, German, Italian, American English and occasionally another language which my Pa informed me was Polish.

To my utter surprise, no one sat alone. People, whether they knew one another or not, seemed to share tables...and food...and drinks. I found this a bit disconcerting as I'm rather picky about other people handling my food and drinking out of my cups. Since I was, to put it politely, chubby I also didn't like eating with people I didn't know. No matter how neatly and daintily I attempted to eat, they always seemed to stare. The more they stared, the higher the chance that I would spill something or forget to wipe my mouth or drop something off fork or spoon down my front. I looked down and realized I'd probably sealed my fate for the evening; the blouse which I'd changed into was indeed a light color, the kind which would stain permanently if you so much as looked at it with thoughts of food on your mind.

Our table held three single soldiers from my Pa's unit and two older German couples. Pa greeted them and then began conversing in somewhat stilted German with one of the couples. A large communal plate of what looked like French fries was placed in the center of the table with individual plates and...a bottle of vinegar?

That was my first introduction to a regional favorite called pomm frieten. The potatoes in question were cut into slices a little more thick than standard French fries, browned in pork drippings, and seasoned with salt and pepper after being drained and put on a plate. A type of white cheese local to the region --- I never did find out its name --- was then shredded over them and a light sprinkling of vinegar added. Additional vinegar, salt, and pepper could be added at the table but ketchup was usually not available; this particular establishment kept some on hand for the benefit of the American families who frequented it.

I discovered that not only did the vinegar and spices have less calories, therefore allowing me to eat more of the appetizer, but I preferred them to ketchup or the other condiments. The cheese had a delightful tang to it and a sort of funk I normally associated with very good bleu cheeses. “What kind is it, Pa?” I asked.

“Well, I don't know, kiddo,” he replied and picked up the menu. Frowning, he scanned each of the food descriptions. It took him a while to do so; my Pa, who had tested as having a genius IQ when in grade school, had dropped out of school after he'd been skipped a grade. Consequentially, while he could read and enjoyed doing so --- a value which he had instilled in me as well --- he did so slowly. Ma said he suffered from something called dyslexia, meaning the words didn't say what they ought when he looked at them, and that it was something which often happened to brilliant people.

Either way, it meant waiting patiently until he'd finished. I imagined that having the letters on a page do dances and change their meanings would be distracting enough without adding a different language to the difficulty. “It doesn't say,” he admitted reluctantly, setting the menu back down on the table. He hated not being able to answer my questions. “I can ask, see if one of our dinner companions knows.” He turned to the grey haired local on his right and, in slow accented, German asked about the cheese. The man smiled, nodded, and rattled off an explanation. “It's a type of goat cheese,” my Pa told me, “very popular throughout the Alps and a Bavarian specialty. He wants to know if you like it.”

I smiled back; the older man's smile was contagious and I got the distinct impression that, for some reason, he was interested in me as a person, not as someone's child. I'd read something a while ago about Europeans considering their children to be mature at an earlier age than most places back in the United States and it seemed to be true. “It's good,” I said in English, not having learned German yet and relying on my Pa to translate for me. “Cheeses are some of my favorite foods.”
You are not entitled to your opinion. You are entitled to your informed opinion. No one is entitled to be ignorant. Harlan Ellison

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Re: A Love for the Ages (comments welcome)

Postby Blackwidow » September 2nd, 2011, 9:23:31 am

I think it's amazing! I love the way it's narrated, and the way you write is very intriguing, meaning I want to read more and more. I love it, can't wait to read the 3rd chapter. <3
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Re: A Love for the Ages (comments welcome)

Postby Raneth » September 2nd, 2011, 9:54:43 am

I like this. It's not my usual preferred genre, but it's good. This version seems to have less of the "telling" problem than the first one did, making it flow much more easily-did you change it or am I completely nuts?

It's fun, because I've read memoirs before and yours (like any well written memoir) works because it's relatable. I never went overseas or anything like that, but the desire to be recognized as an adult by your parents is a good example- it makes me remember similar feelings when I was a kid (only I was more aggressive about it, demanding the respect I thought I deserved). And the comments about "FLK" are both sad and amusing-kids are still classified as such today. We're working on it though.

A bit of the description near the end came off a trifle flat to me, perhaps because it was nearly all visual. Did the new living quarters have a fresh clean scent, or an old, moldy one? Were there clinking glasses or scents wafting through the air that could help set the scene during the dinner? Did the meat roasting on the spit crackle, spitting grease, or it was it charred? Maybe adding in more sensory details could help a bit.

A tiny thing that arrested me was that the narrator's father speaks fluent German on the plane, but when in Germany he speaks in "slow, accented German."

Overall, I like this. I may poke my head in here from time to time.
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Re: A Love for the Ages (comments welcome)

Postby TxCat » September 2nd, 2011, 7:03:33 pm

Raneth wrote:I like this. It's not my usual preferred genre, but it's good. This version seems to have less of the "telling" problem than the first one did, making it flow much more easily-did you change it or am I completely nuts?


Since Dee had to recover the document from the hard drive (I don't pretend to understand how this works but apparently it does) after it was deleted, I got it back in an odd format...and immediately noticed several places where there ought to be paragraph breaks. One or two words omitted or substituted for others which were more appropriate.

And the comments about "FLK" are both sad and amusing-kids are still classified as such today. We're working on it though.


That's disappointing; back then, it was an official diagnosis. Autism had not yet been discovered, most of the other forms of mental retardation were either more obvious or lethal, and they just didn't know what to do with her. She resides with my mother now, a somewhat functional adult, but it's a controlled situation in a routine environment. I doubt, alone, she would have been able to make it.

A bit of the description near the end came off a trifle flat to me, perhaps because it was nearly all visual.


Best I could describe it. Military apartments and flats are sterile like that --- no 'new' or 'clean' scent, no smell of being worked over, nothing. It's the weirdest thing I've ever come across before or since because even apartments being shown still have a scent of some sort. They didn't even smell of antiseptic!

A tiny thing that arrested me was that the narrator's father speaks fluent German on the plane, but when in Germany he speaks in "slow, accented German."


Two things I need to know: where it looks like he was on the plane (because he wasn't and I need to fix that impression) and where I said that. I ought to have put some explanation in and will do so. I don't know how it is now (I should ask Morgaln about that) but when we were stationed there, the dialects were regional. The "official" German taught to diplomats and soldiers and the like, which is what he learned, had one accent. Being in Bavaria had its own regional accent and within the various locations of Bavaria --- say from Munich to where they are near Nuremburg --- it might vary still more. Not so much words as pronunciations and speed of delivery. I seem to recall that Frankfort is in a different region than Bavaria and that since that and Bonn where were the main bases were he would have had his full German language course there...which would then have been, if not useless, than not as effective in Bavaria.
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Re: A Love for the Ages (comments welcome)

Postby Raneth » September 2nd, 2011, 7:25:34 pm

I was mistaken, it was in the concourse, not on the plane, and they gelled because airports and planes are sticky concepts in my head. But it was here:

“Here, sit down for a few minutes.” He guided my Ma to a small restaurant on the concourse and, in fluent German, ordered a glass of wine and a plate of what looked like bread slices, cheeses, and lunch meats.
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