by Miep Franzen
Back to now, the fantasy of childhood and my imagination take over in an attempt to think about the terrors of war in the streets and the whole damn thing turns into another even larger jumble again.
In my over-active imagination, the fogginess of the dream cleared revealing a sky full of tin foil confetti drifting slowly down but giving no premonition of the terrors to come. The searchlights were searching, sweeping, creating thousands of twinkling stars. The pounding and thumping of random bursts of anti-aircraft batteries added to the carnival of my excitement. No place to run, no place to hide and no desire to do either. I was transfixed in the best seat in the big top tent, waiting for the entrance of the circus band, the elephants, the tigers and the clowns. One magical moment transformed the next five years of what began as a lifetime of happiness into poverty, starvation, fear and the isolation of war, propaganda and chaos.
We were standing in a street. I was excited by what I saw and wanted to play with the stuff like snow. Mom and the neighbors stopped my play. They explained that the stuff falling was being dropped by the Germans in an attempt to foil the British radar. My Mom had told me, “Be careful when you go out to the street because the Germans are at the border of our country”. Since I was too young to understand the seriousness of what she meant, I was just simply enjoying the spectacle and continued to play with the foil.
“Hurry, Miepie! Let it go.” My mother shouted. I held the string fast. The beautiful red balloon on the other end of the string bobbed in the breeze. Such a prized possession had never been mine. The very thought of losing it was beyond my imagination. Seeing all the other balloons floating and drifting up and away was exciting to watch, but I didn’t want my balloon to be a part of it. I remember thinking, how dumb the other kids were to let theirs fly away. Holding tight and yelling, “No,” I refused to be a part of the competition and woke up.