Thursday, 18 February 2010

Eva's Tale

Eva Goes On Holiday  # 5

The story so far: Eva is little girl living in post-war Germany. Because she might be in danger of contracting TBC she is sent to a children's home, which is also used as a sanatorium, on the island of Norderney in the North Sea.  She is away from home, on her own,  for the first time in her life. 

the sand dunes on Norderney

We went to the beach today because it’s warm enough now and we are all much better, Miss Manfred says. Nobody had to stay behind, which was really nice. 

I knew it must be the sea because the other children had told me what it looked like when they came back from the beach. The beach was really just sand, with sandhills and grass behind, which Miss Manfred said were dunes, but the sea was huge, lots and lots of water, as far as you could see, which was a sort of greeny-blue colour and sparkly and the water kept coming on to the beach, and you had to run backwards quickly if you didn’t want to get your skirt wet. Once I nearly fell over. Miss Manfred would have been really cross with me.

First the waves came rolling up and they had white foam on the top, like egg-snow, and then they tipped over and when they reached the beach they were like little foamy ripples, just like when Mum chucks a bucket of soap water over the stones in the backyard.  And when I stood on the wet sand, it sort of shrank away from under my feet and made a hole and my feet got sucked into it.

It was brilliant.

I have never been to the sea before and I just stared and stared at it. Where the sun and the sea meet, far, far away, a kind of path appears, like a ribbon,  golden and shimmering, and it came all the way up to me, as if it was meant just for me, and I really wanted to run into the sea and walk on the path, into the sun. But I knew I couldn’t, because it was really just water and I would have sunk and maybe drowned.

When I am grown-up and when I can go where I want, I will come back to the sea and I will try to walk on the path and if I can’t walk, then I will learn to swim in the golden path.

I saw other people in the water and they were splashing and waving their arms about and throwing a big ball with lots of colours on it.   Lots of people were playing on the beach, in the sand, children and grown-ups too. Some people had spades and they were digging holes and making big heaps of sand. I didn’t know what they were doing with the sand but Miss Manfred said they were building sandcastles and would we like to build one too. She had spades and a ball for us in a big sack, so we could choose what we wanted to do, if we promised to stay away from the water and didn’t get lost or run too far.

Birgie and Marianne wanted to play with the ball and Susie and Gisela and I asked for a spade. But it was silly to dig a hole and end up with a pile of sand. We were supposed to pour water over it and sort of make it into a wall. Miss Manfred gave us a bucket and we poured the water over the sand but it kept cracking and collapsed all the time.

I watched the other people who were building sandcastles, they were much better at it, because they had big boys and grown-ups to help.

I didn’t want to play; I wanted to sit in the sand and let the sun shine on me and watch the golden path.

the North Sea at Sunset


  1. Liebe Ursula,

    magnetisch angezogen von dem wunderbaren Meerbild habe ich Deine reizende Geschichte gelesen. Das ist ja toll, Du warst auf Norderney. Wir sind absolute Juist-Fans und das ist ja die Nachbarinsel, man kann ja fast rüberspucken. Unsere friesischen Inseln gehören mit ihren weiten, weißen Stränden und der wunderbaren Natur mit zu den schönsten Plätzen, die ich in meinem Leben gesehen habe. Danke für die NachmittagsüberraschunG1

    Ganz liebe Grüße an Dich (ich muss noch ein wenig arbeiten, deshalb auch so kurz ..)


  2. That golden path has always mesmerized me too Friko - even as a child. Perhaps we were twins separated at birth...?? :)

  3. What a beautiful sunset picture with the lines of the waves and the golden path slicing across them!

  4. That golden path, so enticing to young Eva has drawn me in so many times. Amazing that it is the same in the North Sea as it is in the Pacific or Sea of Japan - the most beautiful ribbon.

  5. Eva's description of the waves rolling in was just beautiful. It's hard to realize that a child wrote this lovely description of her day. I wonder if she became a writer when she grew up.

    I agree with others that the photo of the golden path at sunset is mesmerizing.

  6. Wow..terrific piece of a lovely story- so well suited to these incredible photos!

  7. As usual, a wonderful read. I really look forward to these posts.

  8. Nice piece; especially the end!

    Aloha, Friko friend!

    Comfort Spiral

  9. Beautiful description of seeing the sea and the beach for the first time! My favorite part is how Eva has assimiliated with other children but also is totally herself. Love, me xx

  10. Reading little Eva’s tale of seeing the sea reminded me of our end of year trip to the sea in primary school. If we were in the top 10 or 15 of the class we went on the train to Normandy for the day. The train would come at the station (steam train) and we would pile up in there and sing and play word games until we reached Dieppe or another town in Normandy. Then we would go to the beach with our teachers. For many of the children this was the first time they saw the sea. It was called "Un Jour a la Mer" (a day at sea) It was great fun.

  11. The prose is exactly right for purpose. Excellent. I enjoyed reading it. The visuals accompany it beautifully.

  12. Oh damn it! Friko...I have started and restarted this comment about 6 times now, trying to be reasonably articulate and it's just not working. What I'm trying to say is that I love your way with words and like some other writers for whom English is not their native language, you have a whole different, fresh perspective that isn't bogged down in ordinary, boring clichés. Egg-snow, for instance!
    As usual, you have put us right inside the sensibility of a little girl; we are Eva, thanks to you. Beautifully done.

  13. Friko this is such a lovely blog - I love your 'Eva' tales I can virtually re-live them along with you and also your expression of the golden path across the sea out to the horizon. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  14. veredit - Danke fuer deine netten Worte - ich wuenschte, ich waere naeher dran, ich wuerde bestimmt unsere Inseln auch heute noch oft besuchen.

    Bonnie - I have been thinking along similar lines for some time now . .

    Vicki Lane - thank you

    Pondside - we have all seen the ribbon and been drawn to it, whether the path was laid by the sun or the moon. There is just something so magical about it.

    her at home - thank you

    Darlene - the child had grown up before she wrote it, Darlene.

    Kilauea Poetry - thank you

    Martin H - I'm glad you like little Eva's tales.

    Cloudia - you would know about the ocean. Aloha

    Margaret Pangert - Eva remained true to herself, part of any group only peripherally.

    Vagabonde - a day at the seaside - a rare treat for any child.

    Dave King - thank you, Dave,

    Deborah - you are too modest, Deb, you managed to praise me and my story beautifully and I just hope you meant it.

    mollygolver - I said it before, this feeling does seem to be universal. A sensitive soul cannot fail but be moved by the picture of the 'golden path'.

  15. I can relate. The golden path would have been much more interesting than building a crumbling sandcastle. I guess some people are just dreamers.

  16. Fran Hill - thank you Fran, you too.

    Nancy - particularly little girls who have had their first taste of the wonders of the world.

  17. I am really enjoying each installment of Eva's story. Well done!

  18. Shattered - How nice of you to say so, thank you.

  19. You are a wonderful writer to make us feel that it is a little girl writing this piece. If I would try to write as the little girl I was I would become too depressed because I never liked her and the only way I can overcome the self-hatred is to forget her. And try to forgive her.

  20. Another great episode! Everyone's already said all the clever/witty/insightful things before me, so I'll just say I loved it! The picture of the sea was a magical touch too!

  21. karin-wiseoldwoman - no wise old women is going to hate the child she was. To be wise is to understand and so forgive; I am sure you have long learned to see whoever you were in a kinder light.

    Argent - thank you Argent. I am happy to hear you say so.

  22. The beach is brilliant indeed. I love watching children at the beach.

  23. Ach könnte ich doch die Koffer packen. Bin ein Nordsee-Fan und brauche sie von Zeit zu Zeit um meine Energie wieder zu bekommen. Die Ostsee ist zwar nett, aber die Nordsee... ist halt die Nordsee.


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