Growing up German

Excerpt of a book draft I wrote…I’ve been editing it for 5 years. I may be the only one who ever reads it, but I hope not. My goal is to have it published.  


In about a half hour of looking at wallpaper books, I decidedly picked out the most awesome black and white, mind-bending print with huge lime green and orange flowers scattered on it. It was like a continuous stretching waffle cone of black and white with huge multi-colored flowers tossed on it, some wallpaper designer’s mental breakdown. At least from what I heard a mental breakdown is like from my friend Caroline. It was really cool. It was very bold and I loved it. ..partially due to the look of horror my mother did a poor job hiding. My mom must have asked about a half a dozen times,

“Are you sure, Maggy, it’s so colorful?”, “You may not like it after a while”, “How about these patterns?”, and she would show me a variety of paper samples with shades of beige and browns.

“Well, I couldn’t sleep with it in my room, but if you’re sure…why don’t we take a sample book home and think about it?”

After I nodded, my mom led me up to the saleslady at the main counter with the register. I glanced at my brother, who was still playing with wood blocks in the kiddy section. He seemed oblivious to our whereabouts. The saleslady was even stranger looking close up… actually a little scary. She was really skinny, pale and she had enormous red framed eye glasses and jet black short hair. When she spoke, she kind of spit her “f’s” so, I backed up a little to kept my distance beyond the spitting range.

“We just have to “f”ill out this “f”orm and there’s an “f”ive dollar deposit “f”or each book, you can keep the books “f”or two days”. The lady pulled a form from a mystery space under the counter and asked my mom for our address and “f”one number. I guess she spit “ph’s” too.The weird saleslady kept saying to my mother. Excuse me, could you repeat that or could you spell that?”.This was due to my mom’s accent, which made it difficult to hear the difference between “d’s” and “t’s”, like many of my German relatives.  I was used to people always asking, “where are your parents from?”  “Were you born in Germany?” “Can you speak German?” Honestly, I could barely hear my parent’s accents. They sounded normal to me.I stood there thinking how funny it was between the spitting “f’s” lady and my mom struggling to make her “d’s” and “t’s” over-pronounced. I abruptly laughed out loud and they both turned to look at me.

“Sorry”, I mumbled, embarrassed.

My mom turned to me and was about to make a last ditch effort to get me to take the beige sample book, “Why don’t we take this one too, in case…” when my brother ran up, almost on cue and started to wiggle around and pull at the crotch of his pants,

“Mama, I have to pee-pee.” My mom ran her fingers through her hair, as if trying to massage away the anxiety, “Okay Mitchell”, she turned back to the lady asking “where’s your restroom?” He was squirming and doing the pee-pee dance stepping on his little blue and white Keds, while the saleslady pulled out a little key attached to an enormous block of wood and motioned my mom towards the back of the store.

“Hurry, I have to go nowwww”. Mom grabbed his hand and followed the saleslady.

“Maggie stay here, we’ll be right back”. I leaned on the counter behind me and daydreamed about my new room. I had it mapped out in my head. It would be so awesome with new bedspread to match the wallpaper and one of those cool chairs that look like a big detached hand to sit in. Like the bright yellow one at Mitchell’s doctor’s office. Mitchell and I always fought over who could sit in it. Of course, mom usually let him have it, because he was usually the patient and he was only six years old.

“MAGGIE! stop dreaming, let’s go”. My mother and brother were back, both looking much more relaxed and we left the store. It was still raining out.


Andrea Leppert
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