After the Train by Gloria Whelan

By Gloria Whelan

Peter Liebig cannot stay up for summer season. he is uninterested in school rooms, lecturers, and the unending lectures concerning the terrible Nazis. The struggle has been over for ten years, and along with, his city of Rolfen, West Germany, has moved on well. regardless of its bombed-out church, it appears simply as calm and lovely as ever. there's cash to be made on the seashore, and there are complete days to spend with Father at his task. And, after all, there is football. lots for a thirteen-year-old boy to appear ahead to. but if Peter stumbles throughout a letter he used to be by no means intended to work out, he unravels a troubling mystery. quickly he questions everything—the town's peaceable nature, his mom and dad' tales in regards to the conflict, and his personal experience of belonging.

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Sample text

Now I untie the ribbon that holds the letters together and begin to read. 39 In the early years of the war there are long sticky paragraphs about how they miss each other. Father is stationed in Berlin, and Mother worries about bombs falling on his office. She says the small garden she planted is producing vegetables and that there is little bombing in the part of Swabia where she is living. Soon she is writing about her work with the German Red Cross, helping soldiers. The letters are carefully written and give little information about what she sees.

Why has there been no mention of me in the letters until the last one? Why have we moved so far away from our home in Swabia? Why were Mother and Father so upset 42 over my nightmares? What does Father mean by his talk of the one thing he is proud of? Little by little, like the colored bits of a kaleidoscope, all the questions form themselves into a pattern. Mother and Father are not my parents. Whoever my parents were, for some reason their identity is being kept from me. The world shifts. I am no longer sure who I am.

And what is her “deepest longing”? Eagerly I open Father’s reply. Dearest Emma, It is terrible that this war keeps us apart. I know your good sense and I cannot think you would do anything foolish. He goes on to describe the weather and his life in Berlin and says he has a surprise for Mother. He has been given a few days’ leave and will soon see her. Quickly I turn to the next letter written after Father’s leave. Mother speaks of how happy she was to see Father and how relieved she was that he had shared “the greatest joy and the greatest terror” she has ever known.

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