You, dear Knut, are dedicated to these childhood memories on March 24, 1926 by your grandmother
Marie Knudsen geb. Rode
Freiberg/Sachsen approx. 1860 – 1870
The old house at Obermarkt No. 5 in the good old mountain town of Freiberg was grandmother’s birthplace and a real lovely home for the parents and us seven siblings, of whom I was the nest-häkkchen, i.e. the youngest. It had two floors apart from the first one where the Contors were located, and five high attics on top of each other.
On the lower ones we children sometimes got into each other, because the girls had their little stalk, but without the oven it was bitterly cold in the winter, so they took a heat stone to bed. The stairs up was dark, and a step has a hole, If we were happy over there and say the daylight again, we rejoiced at the peril swelled danger. In one corner stood a large box of envelopes, from which we collected the stamps.
The upper floors were only climbed at fire alarm, so that one could observe the fire, because from the windows one could look far out into the flat land.
It was empty in the wide rooms, the rubble like .B. a pyramid of tapering boards, at the corners with light holders, which had previously been plastered instead of a Christmas tree, and which we were threatened to bring down Christmas again, the like all things were put together in a chamber. If one heard a rustling so it was said that a marten probably drives its essence. The size of a fox I imagined such an animal and that was a bit of a grunt.
My comrade was my dear sister Martha, often called Myrthe, born 4.4.1855. My birthday was on 22.12.1856.
On the second floor there was a large light room, whose three windows went to the market square, where the Christmas party was paidoff1. Next to it was the long single-street boys’ room with a large Alcoven,with the three beds of the brothers standing. An Alcoven is a parlour without windows, which receives the light only through a wide double glass door. There were two guest rooms out of the courtyard. The forecourt was big like a dance hall. From this went a long walk to the Backyard. About this and the below, over the stairs of the front and the backyard, we held to table when it had to be quiet in the room, a chase, so called because one of us was hiding, while the other was supposed to sneak up and catch the former, sneaking and running, not being absolutely quiet.
On the first floor were forward 3 rooms, the right and left long and narrow with a window, the salon in the middle slightly shorter and two-faced. Here, on Sunday afternoons, the inviting coffee table was covered and all three rooms were lively when the brothers, and later brother-in-law, were at home. On the left was the living and dining room with the cherry tree furniture, the secretair and the large armchair in the corner and the kick at the window on which Mother’s large sewing table with chair stood, and was behind the white curtains in the window niche formed by the thick walls. Thus, the kick still formed a low bench at the angle behind the secretary. This was my favourite seat if I wanted to escape the gaze of humanity, because secretly I put my thumb in my mouth, domes were called this pleasing occupation. I found it delicious (perhaps Knut agrees) to dream in my corner in front of me. Of course I was still quite small and stupid. So it was also quite pleasant to fall asleep with your finger in the evening, without teasing and admonisiting the great. Once a long young man broke out behind the stove, but then only showed his dear laughing face, brother Albert.
The room on the left always belonged to the eldest daughter in the house. Here she had her sewing table, a sewing machine rarely seen at the time, and a panel-shaped piano, which was later replaced by a grand piano. An alcove with glass doors connected the living room with the infinitely long bedroom, whose window went to the courtyard. Behind yellow, black doted train curtains there was a nice play corner. On a wide window sill we spread out our paper doll families (Kaiser Wilhelm I with sons and daughters) while we watched what was going on in the courtyard, e.B. the two old washwomen, the little fat „Weiganten“ and the long dry „Kunzen“. Who is still struggling today like these faithful ones. They dragged the wet laundry in the carrying basket on their backs out to the city to the swimming pond, where they swam it, then bleached it on the meadow. At night, laundry was guarded and carried home the next day, white as alabaster.
In addition to the parents, Marthas and my bed, and the things that still belong to a bedroom, there was also the large doll’s house, which finally burned in Sulitjelma 40 years later. (description of the doll’s house)
Let’s leave these Liliputans so we find two blond-curled flowering children in the big doll’s cart. In commemorating them, I feel the smell of wax they carried. Kjersti in particular will feel that these, like the two large dolls with their bodies covered in fine white leather and the probably cold but so dear porcelain heads, were loved by us. I hope that my porcelain dolls with their wardrobe, made 60 years ago by my dear sister Helene, still enjoy their existence today at their third mother Dagny Dyck in Magdeburg.
In the house, of course, there was also a small but fine and clean kitchen, whose glass door had a sliding window, like the baker’s shop at that time (the rolls were administered through the window). We also played “Sell” evening when the auditorium was brightly lit by the large gas flame; also one of us stood on the wall, was a witch and had to catch the other as we passed by.
On the outer forecourt stood for days our good Mila armed with the iron, ensuring that we never lacked fresh summer dresses.
Mila came into the house as my nanny and gradually became indispensable to us. She was lustful and loving to us children, her protection (I fear even if we were wrong), we were safe, humble and diligent, she knew with all things. I proved my love for her as a young child by putting meat bites out of my mouth and into hers. Even more than I could well, she loved us, devoted herself faithfully to the whole family, rejoiced with her, and wept when suffering hit her. She temporarily served at Schloss Freudenberg with the administrator there. We were allowed to visit her. We entered the great bridge that led to the gate and looked down into the moat, which had previously been filled with water and had now been beautifully plastered out as a garden. In the kitchen Mila had in a pot of cotton wool small, just hatched from the egg, they were simply sweet. As a young woman, Mila and her husband moved to the backyard, where she got two rooms and a kitchen. Her husband, the miner Müller, soon died of blood poisoning. Mila stayed and was in the front house to help. They buk potato wedges(“Käulchen”) for us. In the evening we sometimes sat with her little ???.
We would never tire of admiring the contents of their glass cabinet. There were 6-8 pairs of cups with golden inscriptions, the main attraction but two nodding dolls with curling wigs, which we always puffed up anew when they left with the nod.
From the window one could look down into a pretty garden, which belonged to the neighboring house, where an old man with his half of his marriage sometimes went. When we were growing up, Mila picked us up from balls or societies, and we sometimes angered her, because she had put it in her head, that we should also tie a cloth around her forehead, because we were heated. Often no stumbling helped and we had to walk through the forecourt, disfigured by the headband, where the gentlemen wished us good night.
From my dear father, Konrad Heinrich Christian Rode born February 4, 1812 to Barmstedt in Holstein, only a few moves remain in my memory. In the morning while dressing up, he probably sang a pious song in front of him, “Who only lets the dear God reign” or others. During the day he was downstairs in the shop, before the dinner he went in winter an hour to the “deer”, where the first citizens of the city met. Your great-grandfather was popular and appreciated by all and enjoyed a high reputation, which at his early death, he was 54 years old, quite rightly appeared. In the summer, however, he came in the late afternoon as soon as possible to his dear garden, whose plant he managed himself and probably planted many trees by himself.
The garden was located in front of the city on the children’s meadow, which has now been converted into Albert Park. At that time she was besieged by mothers with children, who spread out in groups across the large meadow and certainly enjoyed the beautiful time outdoors quite well. But they had to disappear from the park. When we went into the garden we first crossed the Obermarkt and sighed over its cumin pavement, went down the orphanage street, there was a corner house where a stone monkey was attached, after the promenade and came to the Laubach, over which a small bridge led to the garden door, which we opened with a large key.
When I returned to Freiberg in 1916, the creek had disappeared and with it the bridge, the garden had overgrown and shrunk. The creek formed a small swirl at the bridge, which we liked to watch. The water conditions were therefore more modest than in the ???. In the garden we had a pump, which gave plenty of water and whose swing we gladly set in motion. From early 7 a.m. until bedtime, in rain and sunshine, the garden was our stay. A spacious garden house was there. The salon was entered via a veranda, behind which was a room where mother is said to have slept a summer with a child and servant, and a tiny kitchen where eggs and tea were prepared and even had a small cellar room. I often thought about it or dreamed about what I had to do when robbers tried to break in. There was no danger, but twice at lunchtime the door to the salon was broken and knives, forks, napkins and the like were stolen. Lunch was taken in the city, but the afternoon coffee was taken outside again, and in the evening you could gather at the large round table. Often thunderstorms moved over us, as the rain bounced onto the roof, the air cooled down and smelled so delicious afterwards. Later, the Klemm, the servant of the house, came out of the city with raincoats and an arm full of umbrellas. So we children led a carefree existence in this little paradise. Around the large grass yam, which was occupied on the edge with flower beds, individual cider shrubs, hanging and trunk roses, the path stretched around, on one side in an arbor of the mourning ash, ending out. The cottage was located at the top of the middle, to the right of it the mountain. Over its wall we saw over meadows and fields to the “Schirmer Wald”.
In a coffee garden far outside, we once saw rope dancers dancing on the ropes. Directly under the wall went a roper, turning his rope. On the right we looked into the large neighbouring garden, which is now built up. There were benches on the mountain. How high do you think it was? He will probably have had his 3-4 m. His parapet was planted with maple trees and epheu. Below was the gym with stretcher and bar, a swing called a seesaw for two people, as it were, a horizontal ladder, on the two ends of which a child sat, dropped with his feet and then speeded up while the other drove down. Later a bowling game was added, the ball hung on a long chain and had to be thrown in a big bow, on its way back into the cones. The big ones often played along for hours, and a plaque was written down on what one party won, the other lost.
With the dolls we set up wonderfully comfortably on the wall, the neighboring garden limited, flowering shrubs jasmine, lilac and snowball hid us from both sides from the eyes and poured out sweet scent.
We celebrated the first festival every year in the garden on May 4th, our Myrthe birthday. Children’s society, lots of cakes, lots of happy games. My quiet, peaceful sister was popular with everyone and she loved and mothered me. On Father’s birthday, we offered our congratulations in verses neatly written on a large, flower-decorated letterhead. Once I infuriated Dad and got my punches. Martha and I walked in the grounds at the Swedish monument, had new wool dresses on and I got stuck on a railing and broke the dress; Although I changed the dress, it soon came to light and had such a bad aftermath for me.
Behind the monument was the Schneckenberg, which gave up our toboggan run. The fact that it was not too high and threatening already gives its name. We skateoned on the cross ponds, in later years sometimes with the most wonderful military music. The winters were severe, a lot of snow and heavy frost, because Freiberg lies on a 400 meter high plateau.
Father had an honorary position as a mine manager. Under the city there were tunnels and shafts from which for centuries rich silver treasures were unearthed by a few thousand miners. The silver ores were melted on the world-famous Muldner huts, which also have the highest food in the world. In the summer we went to the pits with our parents once every year. Down we didn’t climb, there was a so-called hat house, there we got under big trees our vesper bread, milk, thick slices of black bread and cheese, which tasted magnificent. Also, walks were made to the Schirmerwald, always close to the Customs House, which was reversed.
With a large yellow stagecoach I drove alone to Chemnitz, where Sister Helene lived since her marriage to brother-in-law Richard Dietrich. The postillon, a high cylinder hat on his head, in a yellow skirt, on which the trumpet hung on a string, blew a funny piece on the descent. The conductor was given cigars to protect me; the journey lasted probably 7 hours and tired me at the end, because the car was closed and moved only slowly. On a stopover, in Oederan, you could get off and go to the restaurant, which seemed just as boring to me, because I didn’t have a beer thirst. Dietrichs lived in a large house of the factory owner Pornitz. Then we made the acquaintance of the sons Horst and Ullrich, who entertained us with the fact that you led us around on a donkey cart in the yard until we had enough.
Twice I was allowed to go with Mum to Meinholds after the beautiful main and residence city dresden. Mama’s youngest sister Hermine was married to publisher Theodor Meinhold. Their large townhouse was located in Moritzstraße, the summer villa on the Elbe in Blumenstraße, close to the Vogelwiese, where the folk festivals were held. Here it was wonderful, in the garden were foliage on which the delicious grapes hung. The older cousins Jenny and Käthe warped me and drove all sorts of Allotria with me. So they once moistened my hair with sugar water and braided 24 braids on it, with the result that I could not go on the street for several days, because the hairs were like a giant mane from my head.
The most memorable event was my first visit to the Hoftheater, where a fairy tale with dances and living pictures was performed, which truly moved me into the fairy kingdom of fairies and elves. I was enchanted. The city with its magnificent buildings also made an overwhelming impression on me, so that my father town seemed old-fashioned on my return.
The townhouse was lived on the first floor of Uncle Theodore, in the second and third one of his brothers, in the fourth by his sisters, and we called them the “one two three and four-step”. The latter had a vineyard near Dresden and there I lived with Käthe the harvest, the picking and pressing of the grapes. The winegrowers cut off the grapes and filled them into tall wooden carrying baskets. Then you could hear their call: “Bütte voll” and on it the basket was carried down the stone steps to the press. The must could be tasted immediately. Berries were as much as you could.
On the Elbe with the wheel edging ships we went to Loschwitz and Wachwitz, where we visited Mama’s older sisters Mehners and Brückners. We saw the mountains of Saxon Switzerland, which Ten years later I was allowed to travel with my groom, your grandfather in the company of Aunt Meinhold and cousin Marie Rode’s from Hamburg. I was also shown my mother’s father’s house, which my grandfather Liersch had heard, a corner house on the Postplatz later Restoration Waldschlösschen.
In 1866, the 100th anniversary of the Bergakademie was celebrated. (After 50 years, I was able to relive and celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Academy with my grandfather)
King John consecrated the feast. Dressed in green silk sashes in the national colours, we children on both sides populated the steps of the town hall, on which the king walked up. From the windows of the town hall, the king took a look at the great parade of miners. Then the thousands of mountain and hut workers marched with their superiors in their picturesque festive costumes. Hauer and miners, melters and helpers. Strikes were not known at the time, it was a good patriarchal relationship between superior and worker. The former had quite old-fashioned titles, for example “Obereinfahrer” (later Oberbergrat) “Hüttenreuter” and the like.
In the evening there were torchlight processions of the students, illumination of the windows and houses and so on.
The town hall was on the right opposite our house with its tower and the large clock, which we keep in mind when we set our time. There was also the main guard, separated by iron chains, on which I would have liked to rock, as other children probably dared.
Before this lay the stone of Kunz von Kauffinger, on which the knight Kunz von Kauffingen was beheaded 500 years ago, because he had robbed the two sons of the Elector and their comrade. You could snatch the boys from him and capture him. As soon as we got foreign guests, we immediately showed you the stone and did not let them portray the history of Princes Ernst and Albert and the evil knight quite horribly. Then we went with our guests to the cathedral, whose golden gate was much admired, as well as the so-called Devil’s pulpit, which is magnificently carved out in stone with roughs and arabesques. Then one went in the magnificent promenades and avenues that stretch around the city, partly on the old ramparts. The deep trenches, outside the fortress walls, because Freiberg was a strong fortress that was besieged by the Swedes for a whole year in the Thirty Years’ War, the trenches had been partially filled and planted. Also to the east there were still fortress walls with strong towers. Where towers and walls had disappeared, one still had the use to say “I go before the Erbische Gate, in front of the St. Peter’s or Castle Gate and so on. During the siege by the Swedes, they last discovered a semicircular opening in the wall through which water flowed into the ditch. The Swedish soldiers are said to have crawled through this hole and entered the city.
It was also said that a miner had kept watch inside the wall, the Swedes, who could only crawl through one by one, cut off their heads and pulled the body away until the Swedes realized that the invaders were doing badly.
Our sights were not yet exhausted, since there was the Swedish monument in front of the PetersTor, a little further the big lime tree behind which the Swedish general Thorstenson had found cover before the bullets from the fortress. Then from more peaceful times came the Werner monument and Herder’s tomb, the latter outside the city on a hill.
The courageous and inquisitive did not leave the underground realm, the mines, to sail. They then had to put on miner’s dress; the pit lamp attached to the belt, you climbed the ladders down into the dark depth under the guidance of a climber. The Muldner huts were also visited.
The school youth took walks with their teachers to Fernesiechen, the oil mill, the colliery pond etc.; later than the railway was built after “Real Krone”, Tharandt and s.w.
At Easter 1862 I came to the school, whose lowest class was led by an old teacher, Mr. Nuster. We were all looking forward to the first day of school, and the joy was especially due to the sugar bag, which Mr. Nuster solemnly presented to each child, but which had been handed over to him by his mothers. Some of the little girls couldnot pronounce the “ch”; I remember that Mr. N. put his handle on the little awkward tongue and I was glad that I did not need this help. At times, Diaconus pond graves came to attend the lessons. He was probably his two meters long, dry and lean. He had a habit of rocking in his chair, which is said to have brought him down. On Mr. Nuster’s birthday, all the schoolchildren were invited to his house, plentiful with coffee and cake, and then play happily around the house and garden. A gift had been collected beforehand and Ms. Nuster had been asked what the Lord’s teacher might be pleased with. Soon he got a skirt, a recumint or something like that.
Science also had peace in the higher classes, since the other more important teacher, Dr. theol. Barth missed school a lot. Thus our mind became untroubled, but gradually a thirst for knowledge matured, which only found its full satisfaction in the Institute in Dresden in 1870 and 1871 with excellent teaching. The Institut Leonardi was located at Christian Straße No. 27.
We were around 20 ??? and a few hundred attended the lessons given by the first forces, and completely captivated me. I acquired dear loyal friends, whom I was also allowed to visit after the pension time, especially Ella Law, who later supported my children with advice and deeds under the name Aunt Ella.
In the villa in Wachwitz, from whose garden a small vineyard rose, we spent happy days bathing in the Elbe, playing criquet etc. It was no less comfortable in the winter apartment in the city, where I was allowed to visit Ella every year for her birthday on 30.11. and stayed eight days with her and her highly revered mother.
Before I conclude these memories, I remember in the love and gratitude of my mother Ottilie Rohde née Liersch, born 25 July 1821, died April 7, 1888 from a terrible illness, which she endured for twelve years in the greatest patience.
The grandfather Liersch is said to have been a very strict gentleman, the young girls did not come to the street in the house without accompaniment, and the walks in which they were returned in the countryside, grandfather made after completely lonely and remote places. It was quite pleasant for Ottilie to visit a married sister in Freiberg. With her and her husband “Pässler” she met her future husband, whom she was then allowed to marry in 1839, even after her father had carefully examined all conditions.
Father had a great kinship in Hamburg and Holstein, with which we have always remained very intimately connected. In 1864, uncles and aunts came from Hamburg to celebrate their parents’ silver wedding. I especially loved Dad’s sister Aunt Luise Lemmerich and his youngest brother Fritz, who was so similar to my dad that I couldn’t see him without emotion after Dad’s death. My dear mother devoted herself entirely to her home, her Henry and her children. Their sense of order and good taste probably meant that we children, as one would say, had a good nursery, as was customary in our circles. My three brothers spent their school days at pension Krause in Dresden and were only at home during the holidays. Theo then studied at the mountain academy and lived at home. I joined in intimately and was delighted when he played puff (on the ladies’ board) with me that evening. I was his tupp and he was my putt. Albert came to Rittergut near Freiberg as a Scholar. Although he devoted himself to agriculture, he remained the impeccable fine man, even in his appearance. In Freiberg he served his volunteer year and became a lieutenant, fought against the French in 1870-71 and returned unscathed as captain.
Both brothers had a dear friend, Horst von Hagen, who was also with us a lot in the family, sadly died early. Our myrtle came home from school one day, opened the living room door, saw Hagen and threw the door back into the castle with a “God nee Hagen”. Since then she has had to hear the “God nee Hagen” again and again.
In 1866 we had Prussian soldiers and officers in the house as a quarter. I liked to go to the handsome people and adored a big blonde to say goodbye to Bechstein’s fairy tale; while Myrthe wept hot tears around the centurion (he was called von Stülpnagel).
Once we had a visit from a Russian, a distant Aunt Mielck from Petersburg. She always wanted to drive, even the shortest routes, which was not custom in Freiberg. Her son studied in Leipzig and spent Christmas with us, I only remember him from the fir tree to eat the big sreof of sugar all by himself, which I found very indecisive. Young Americans who had letters of recommendation to Dad with them also went to our house.
One summer month, when mother and sister Doris went on a bathing trip, and Myrthe was probably in Chemnitz near Lene, Mother gave me to my cousin Lieschen Tittel, where I had it well. In the same house lived my dear friend and cousin Gretchen Heim, with you I met in the garden. My childhood memories come to an end here, but I would like to mention the joyful event that first stamped me as an aunt, when on August 19, 1870, Sister Helene got her first child, the sweet Lenchen. But we were overjoyed only as a mother with the children to visit us for Christmas.
I call the offspring a „Glück auf!“ the salutation of the Freiberger miners.