December, 1994 Archive

My Story by Louise Marx

Thursday, December 15th, 1994

My earliest recollection seems to be when I was three years old sitting on my potty on the floor and the earth shook. It was a Sunday morning and there were several members of our family in our apartment in Stuttgart, Seestrasse 65.  It increased my vocabulary by the word, “Erdbeben,” earthquake.  That late in life, at age 80, I would live in earthquake country, California, nobody could foresee.

My next memory is of when my father returned from the office with a bulletin distributed on the streets.  It was August 2, 1914, the beginning of World War I.  There existed no other news media, except for the newspapers delivered a few hours later, going into detail of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria in Sarajevo.  Many of my friends’ fathers were conscripted for military service at the front.  My father was in uniform but not recruited to serve in the trenches, as his health was not good enough.  He suffered from asthma and bronchial conditions. He was employed by a large company which manufactured “Schiesbaumwolle,” used in shooting the cannons on the front.

As the war continued, we had to prepare for aircraft attacks every night by putting warm clothing on a chair next to our beds and toys to take down to the cellar where we spent many evenings.  Anti-aircraft was close to our section in Stuttgart.  As soon as one heard the siren one was supposed to enter the nearest house for shelter.  At home we went to the cellar.  Father had a wine cabinet down there and took the key along to open a bottle for the grownups.  Children got apples which were also stored downstairs.  For us kids it was lots of fun.

Adolf went toboganning with me, we took long walks, and sang together.  The Stuttgart zoo was not far from where we lived.  On one of our visits, I came close to the monkey cage.  I had two pigtails with rust-colored satin bows, and before I knew it, a monkey had grabbed a bow and disappeared with it.  Another day my father asked me what I would prefer, either ride a donkey in the zoo or attend a concert in town.  My answer was, “on the donkey to the concert.”

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