Day Five–a Window!


In darkness I am sitting at the window
my rifle on my lap in readiness.
Friend Karl is sleeping on the bed
he was on guard the first half of the night.
We are in a tiny room of an auto camp
our Model “T” sheltered by the shed roof
sleep and a bath overcame fear after a long day’s drive.

Auch!  Why did I leave Helmstede
for generations the home of my family?
Summer,  I would be stacking hay on tripods
harnessing horses to the wagon to spread Mist in the fields.
The future bleak in my home country
but here am I at the window
tonight I may lose my life!

Seasick for days while crossing the Atlantic
the “Olympic” carried men and women like me in second class.
Greeted by the Statue of Liberty
I disembarked on the island of Manhattan.
Henry Ford was paying his workers $5 a day
“window to the future”, I had a dream
“go to America, young man!”

I washed dishes during the day
studied English at night.
My Hochschule English did not include words
like knife, fork, spoon.
Dollars in my pocket, I headed to the “window of the west”
to Illinois and a distant relative’s farm
so big and modern, with tractors to do the work.

Bored with farming and the quiet of a small town
Karl and I pooled our money for adventure.
We headed west to California
the land of milk and honey, sun and sea.
It is nearly dawn, Karl stirs, I stare out the window
I want to get going
leave this desert country.

We were warned that there are Wild Indians in the West!

Based upon my father’s memoirs, I have written what he may have been thinking during one long night.

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