German Ghost Story

Dortmund - Borsigplatz

 I told you I was getting organized with a come back, and here it is. This is a story I am currently working on, not finished yet, but close. I was lucky enough to find a photograph of Borsigplatz (don’t you just love google) so hopefully this will give some perspective to my story.  This round-a-bout was just about three blocks from where we lived, it’s where the supermarket and restaurants were. I may go back and visit one day.

 I think I am going to call this story ‘A walk in the Park’, but that could change. I was not going to post this story on my blog, but it actually helps me with my first edit if I do.  This story brings back a lot of memories and reminds me of how exciting life was back then. Enjoy!

CHAPTER ONE

It was July 4th 1982 and the weather in Dortmund was so hot it was almost unbearable.  There was no air conditioning and we lived in the Penthouse (so to speak), well at least it was the very top floor of an old building that had been turned into apartments. Heat rises of course, so it felt hotter than hell.  There was no balcony, the window in the living room was actually in the sloping roof, and opened up to the sky.  This window was wide open, but only let in hot air and little particles of silver that shimmered in the sun and although very pretty, I can’t be sure if it was good for the lungs. The shimmering silver shower was courtesy of the huge chemical plant that was less than a mile away.  I probably shouldn’t mention the name of the plant in this litigious society, but it was one of the largest suppliers of pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial chemicals in Europe, the US and Asia. I have to say, I have suffered no health issues from my proximity to the chemical plant, nor has anyone else to my knowledge, but the shower was certainly a spectacle. On that particular day I sat in that rooftop window and with my legs dangling over the ledge and watched the street below. It was a Sunday afternoon and there weren’t many passers-by. I am guessing that people were staying in their homes and away from the heat of the day.  Those people who did pass by were both amused horrified at my position, half in and half out of the window on the third floor of the building.  Those people who looked up either laughed at me and waved as they passed by, or yelled up at me with alarmed voices.  I had no idea what they were shouting about of course, I had only been in the country for a few months and not quite mastered the language yet. Maybe they thought I was about to jump.  My meager knowledge of the German language could get me by in bars (beer and wine was easy to order), or shopping and I could even get around on the local trams, but someone shouting up at me in German?  I just waved down at them and smiled causing most to continue walking shaking their heads as they did so. 

            Let me tell you a little bit about where I lived. The street was called Robert Strasse, and the area was Borsigplatz.  I am sure that spelling is wrong as it’s been a while since I had to write or talk in German.  I loved living there though.  Borsigplatz was an Italian area on the outskirts of Dortmund. Les was in the British army, and due to the lack army housing at the time, we were given what was called ‘overseas rent allowance’ to pay for an apartment.  Luckily Borsigplatz was only a short drive, or tram ride to the both the military base where Les was stationed and the military base on which I worked. We were very happy to find this place, which had been recently renovated.  With the help of a German-speaking friend we negotiated a good price and moved in with our scant furniture.  It really was my dream apartment and much nicer than the army accommodation!  It was on the top floor of a three-story L shaped building and ours was the only door on the top floor so we had some privacy. The living area was beautiful, up in the attic with a sloping ceiling. Stained beams divided the living area and eating area. There were two small bedrooms, a very small kitchen and a small modern bathroom. The living room itself was snug and was just big enough for our typically English overstuffed three-piece suite, a coffee table and our TV. Of course back in the eighties we also had two video recorders, a VHS and a Betamax.  Does anyone still know what a Betamax is??? I swear those machines were way better than the VHS recorders, but VHS were the ones that survived.  Now they are a relic of the past as we use DVD’s and Blu Ray.  How quickly times change. 

 

 

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