When Gretel was a young teenager, she became aware that her mother was having an affair that lasted six years. While writing about this true story I had to create within my own mind, how Rosa and Franz would have had to face their problems.
(p.65) Rosa felt as if everyone was looking at her. I wish I could sink through the floor of this church. The idea that I have to walk out and congratulate Frieda and Franz when the whole town may know about our sins, is so demeaning.She tried to pull herself together for the gauntlet of friends and family that would be waiting outside on the marketplace.
“Well, you know that oiling can also mean chugging beer,” yelled Otto while holding his beer stein in the air and clinking it together with all the guys.
Otto gradually began to ask Gretel to go out for walks or to sit with him while he ate. Everyone watched with approval.
When nobody was looking, the new lovers held hands and exchanged kisses.
A few days later while Gretel was helping peel potatoes for the next batch of potato dumplings, she said casually, “Emma, what am I going to do about Otto? He’s so handsome and smart and I really like him.”
“Sounds like no problem to me,” Emma said.
“I know. Sure, I’m so excited about him, but I wanted to talk to you about a couple of things.” Privately, Gretel thought,We always stay in public and I’m not giving him the idea that we can have sex. How long can we go on like we are now?
When Gretel's youngest son Hubert was born in 1941, the Nazi regime in Stuttgart presented her with a "Mother's Cross" as an award for having had 4 or more children.
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Check out this great video that TV Touring in Schweinfurt, Germany made in Gretel's home village. The TV crew with Christian and Marco interviewed Meredith in German.