Rising – Mar 1959

The smells of childhood – sense of wonder and delight, embracing the world as good and wonderful; something we later painfully try to recreate, sweating at meditation retreats, with aching limbs and screaming back pain – yet there it was!
I don’t remember very much about the woman who looked after me when I was 5. My mother still worked full-time.
I do remember Frau G. had a small farm at the edge of the village, keeping a few cows across the road from the house. the acid smell of the cow manure was overwhelming for me, and I hated the taste of their fresh milk: Foamy and buttery, still at the cow’s body temperature when it was offered to me, wholesome and “good for me”.
I remember the small toilet, in the house, but a pre-war and pre-water-closet model. I could look down into a dark hole where the waste disappeared – the most revolting smell rose up.
I remember Frau G. making Maultaschen, a local dish, like over-sized ravioli, larger than my 5-year-old hand with a filling of mince, spinach and spices. the process involved rolling out the dough thinly, with a big rolling pin, on the kitchen table. They smelled wonderful when cooked.
Above all, though, I remember the village oven, where we went maybe once a fortnight, meeting other people from the village. The dough had been prepared and loaves formed, smelling slightly sour, at home, and left to raise, then put on a board and covered with a dish cloth. The board was transported on a wheelie cart, pulled from a long wooden handle, connected to the cart with a metal joint which made it possible to manoeuvre the cart. Standing around the oven, awaiting their turn, the grown-ups chatted among themselves, allowing me to be fully absorbed in the smell of the fresh bread wafting from the oven. There is nothing quite like it – earthly and heavenly. A promise fulfilled, yet intangible, like the loaves when they come out.
Later that year, my mother stopped working and we moved away.

~ by Barbara S on April 26, 2014.

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