Of August 20-21, 1968. Memories come

October 10, 2012

At the sea
Vacation at the sea
To the sea we go wrapped up with love and family and splashy, splashy fun.
Warm August happiness in the German sea.

Next morning…panic.
We children were protected.
Things are fine, they said.
A Czech convoy out of Germany under armed guard.
Panicked, sleepy drivers, up all night. Mom at the wheel overtook. Honked.
Detained by the guards. Warned to cooperate. Put at the front of the line.
Czech border at night. Russian soldiers. Machine guns. Soldiers standing in a row.
Green soldiers with guns. Machine guns pointing.


In the back seat babi put my head in her lap and covered me with her coat.
If they start shooting, will the coat protect me?
Warm hands. Wrinkles in the shape of stars.
Terror. Apprehension. Questions. Fears.


Huge hole in the wall of the Great Museum.
Tanks. Shouting. So much shouting.

So much silence.

Rosy cheeks turned ash. All the colour drained.

Written for Jane Ann’s memoir challenge

Horse Chestnuts and the magic of Autumn
Veronica and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

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  • Reply jlynn sheridan October 10, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Wow, this is some memory, putting it into this form popped all these images in my mind. Now, I want to know more. Well done.

    • Reply Veronica October 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Oh JLynn, writing this stuff is some of the hardest writing I’ve ever tried to do. It’s a mix of wanting to show the reverence for the people and circumstances of my childhood and not really wanting to write it at all…you know…keeping it bottled inside. In the end I think this is healthy but a lot of it has to be reduced to free verse because I just can’t find the words otherwise. Thank you for being a friend and reading it. 🙂

  • Reply Sabra Bowers October 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm

    This causes me to stay quiet and read it again and again. Nothing to say…just feeling…like not clapping after a play or concert because you are too moved to clap.

    • Reply Veronica October 10, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      Sabra, I’ve got tears in my eyes from rereading it. So much more to say but can’t. This was hard to write. Thank you for being such a good friend. 🙂

  • Reply Joy Weese Moll October 10, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    Very powerful. The contrast between the first image and the later ones is so profound. Such an effective piece.

    • Reply Veronica October 11, 2012 at 5:46 pm

      Thank you Joy. I alwasy worry about how people will percieve what I wrote. It’s a great comfort to read lovely comments like your’s. 🙂

  • Reply Jane Ann McLachlanJ October 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm

    Amazing, Veronica, and horrifying. How awful that must have been for you as a child. Love the contrast between a happy holiday in the sun and sudden danger and menace. Understated but tight with power.
    As for your comment on my post, hey, girl, there are no rules – just guidelines. Your participation in this challenge is wonderful. We’re all richer for it.
    Jane Ann

    • Reply Veronica October 11, 2012 at 5:44 pm

      So glad Jane Ann. Thank you. You’re such a sweet sweetie for saying that.

  • Reply Lara Britt October 10, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Tentative steps are the best for me. As I gingerly step forward toward a memory that is too emotional, its power seems to dissipate a bit. Then I can become its master and create art. And that to my mind, is exactly what you did here.
    No feeling in the world like automatic weapons pointed at you, is there? Ufda!

    • Reply Veronica October 11, 2012 at 5:43 pm

      Oh thank you Lori. It means so much to me to have your support. So very kind of you to understand. 🙂

  • Reply Sara v October 11, 2012 at 9:11 am

    That is an incredible story. So much in just a few stanzas. Very strong writing!

    • Reply Veronica October 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      Thank you Sara. That took some energy to be able to write this story. Thank you so much for reading my friend. 🙂

  • Reply eof737 October 13, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    I can imagine how hard this was to write… TY for your courage to share.

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