Fireworks, Thunderstorms and Sirens

I’ll never forget being in the car with my mom who was driving us home one afternoon when she heard the sirens of the fire trucks. “Oh my God, oh my God, I hope it’s not our house!” and she stepped on the gas and floored it. It was like she was in a panic and couldn’t get home fast enough. I told her I doubted it was our home, but I don’t think she even heard me – she just wanted to get home. It wasn’t our home, and when she pulled up and saw it wasn’t, she breathed a huge sigh of relief and gave a shaky smile. I was a teenager then and thought most of her behavior was suspect, but this incident stayed with me.

Eventually I pieced it together. Five years after my mom was born in Germany, Hitler came to power. She was 17 when the war ended. If you google top ten bombing raids of WWII, my mom’s hometown, Kassel, is ranked number nine with 80% of its population gone by the end of the war. She lived through many bombing raids,...

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