A Last Gift

Kenneth C. Hoffman

Visitors: 159

Having twice refused the Nazi Government to join the ‘Partei”, Anna’s father, Manfred, opened the Governmental notice ordering him to report for duty. His first assignment sent him to the Russian front as a ski patrol soldier, a place from which few soldiers returned, especially in the dead of winter.

Before Manfred was to board the troop train to Russia, he stopped at a toy store to buy a last gift for his beloved daughter, Anna. Remembering the paucity of gifts in the past few years of war, he wanted to buy her an especially nice toy to remember him by.

On an upper shelf he spied a complete set of doll furniture. Realistic in every way, these pieces were hand carved in walnut by an artist in Oberammergau, a town nearby. The drawers in the dining room sideboard worked just like the real thing. Four matching chairs and a dining room table shared the box with a miniature bed, wardrobe and side table.

When Anna received the miniature furniture, she was thrilled beyond her wildest dreams. For two years it had a home on the top shelf in her bedroom wardrobe, taking it out only on special occasions. She loved playing with them but their very existence reminded her that her wonderful father would never come home. His death notice came after only two months on the Russian front. The fact that thousands of German soldiers in Russia died in battle of cold and starvation did little to assuage her sadness.

One day, Anna discovered that there was an empty spot where her miniature furniture usually sat. Crying with upset at her loss, she ran to her mother to tell her what happened. Her mother blithely said, “Oh, I gave them to the little girl next door to play with outside. She deserves some toys as much as you do. ”

Anna was stunned by her loss and didn’t know what to say. The memory of her mother’s traitorous action stayed with her for the rest of her life, never being able to understand how her mother could deprive her of the last gift from her now dead father.

About the Author: A retired portrait and wedding photographer, I enjoy writing, how to articles, helpful articles on photography and many other subjects. My hobbies include quartet singing, shop, bicycling and photography. Please visit my web site at photoartbyken.com [Articles, Digital Art, Poetry, Original sheet music. ]

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