OCCASIONAL COMMENTS ON PSCHO-ANALYTIC MATTERS + CONTIBUTIONS fromMICHAEL ROLOFF Member Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben]

Friday, May 15, 2015


By Michael Roloff

 An unfamiliar roar, like continuous thunder, is waking me and I rear up in bed as two lightning bolts flash and strike, near simultaneously, followed near instant by peals of thunder, window glass shatters – had I been clutching the Steif monkey that I then let go off? or toss. At any event, I leap out of bed and rush to the window that looks out on the woods, open its two panels, shards all around, and hear Mara, the German Shepherd yowling hysterically in her enclosure, a yowling that turns into a keening, more and more high pitched and then ceases, throttled: the roar of planes disappearing in a north-westerly direction – Ah that’s what that was. I had heard talk of bombers.
Der erste Luftangriff auf Bremen erfolgte in der Nacht vom 18. zum 19. Mai 1940.
     It took me a long time to fall back asleep, hugging my Steif Monkey that my parent had brought back from one of their travels, I recall hanging on to it until one of its pink ears became moth-eaten.
   When I awake earlier than usual the following morning, earlier than anyone else, I sneak down the staircase and walk out onto the veranda and notice that the glass of all the large windows has shattered, the shards of glass looking like tear drops in the flower heads in the sun.
Walking  down the few steps of the veranda and turning right, out to Mara’s Zwinger [enforcer] enclosure on a section of the lawn not visible from the veranda - a square 100 by 100 foot shady area adjacent to the woods which bore the name “croquet” playing ground - I am shocked:  Mara is hanging by her collar from the highest part of the fence;  she committed suicide is a remembered thought of that moment.
Klinner, our foreman, came by about the same time and told me that two bombs had fallen near the riding rink, about 150 yards off, leaving two craters in the ground, “like graves” he said, that large and deep, right next to each other. The story went, so Klinner said, that the British bombers were afraid to actually penetrate the air-space over Bremen which was defended by dirigibles with razor wire sharp enough to cut the bomber wings, which is why they dropped their bombs at the outskirts of town.”
     This event is the inception of what I call my “Expulsion from Paradise,” in Spring 1940. As compared to the first screen memory, in this instance, of the first bombs, I realize that memory has edited the events, compounded them and rearranged them. I was indeed wakened by two bombs that fell simultaneously 100 some yards off in the Fir Place woods, but lightning strikes and simultaneous thunder derive from other experience, were projections of that moment to make sense of it, and signify the shock of the totality of this experience – the shattered windows, the suicidal dog, the expulsion from Paradise which the bombs elicited - the next day I and my governess were sent packing to an allegedly safer venue.
    Moreover, the flash of two 500 pound bombs exploding on the ground, at least one hundred yards away, in the woods, is not visible through a thick fir forest; no doubt the sound of thunder elicited a hallucinated lightning flash in my mind ex post facto. Fantasy has added its components, the most serious being m five-year-Old's assumption that the German shepherd Mara had committed suicide – leaving Fir Place elicited suicidal impulses in me, I hated leaving. The next time I recall feeling suicidal was when my father spanked me for being disobedient and going with Klinner to pick up coal in the horse and wagon during impending air raids in July 1944. {The 19th of July Section]
    The terrified, hysterical shepherd dog indeed strangled herself with her collar at an upper part of the fence of her enclosure [The Zwinger] but “Enforcer” also refers to my governess whose orders whose numerous “nos” elicited my resistance and fury; say, the fury of a stubborn Billy-goat; the dog’s fury also signified my near suicidal fury at having to leave paradise in company of my enforcer, my governess. In other words, the details have been, in the long meanwhile, over-emphasized, compacted, over-determined, and that is why these details most likely have been remembered all these many years, whereas other less emotionally determined recollections are not, or do not seem as accessible.
     The drops of dew in the flowers, not just the shattered shards of glass, also signify my tears; however, since I can be said to have been crying inside since I was taken from my mother at age nine months, those tears too are over-determined. Loss loss loss. There was a time during the many years that I carried this book with me that I was going to call the memoir “Irretrievable Losses.” This commentary, in other words, appears to be necessary in telling this event which elicited hectic activity of the inhabitants of the villa with the result that within a day my father’s chauffeur Schmidt and Maybach automobile takes me and my governess to the St. Magnus suburban station, a five-year-old, sad-looking boy and a dowdy spinster - image for a film!
However, before departing from my paradise it appears that I took one more 4 & ½ years old’s amble through the forest. If the clearing that you could see from my bedroom window was the first section of Fir Place to become laden with dream imagery - for the Billy goat chasing me up to the clearing in my first nightmare - the croquet area where Mara strangled herself in her terror, then became the second area to acquire an extra charge.
Soon after, the enclosure was dismantled as were the last remnants of playing croquet – the mallet, the wire goals, the colored balls – a big chopping block was placed there, and as “chopping block area” it would serve for a second huge event in my life a few years hence: the spot whence I witnessed the arrival of the first wagon load of refugees in Spring 1945 – the inception of a few idyllic years that ended with the inception of the Cold War in 1947.
    Forgetting momentarily about the significance of the pond and the willow-lined path between the pond and marshy meadow to the left - the third areas to be specifically laden with memories and fears  - were the two bomb craters near the riding rink, well on the other side of the road that skirted the pond before the road leads back up the chestnut alley to the house. It appears I made an expedition to the bomb site and looked at the two grave-length bomb beds is what they looked like more than funnels or craters, as though the two-some had landed as a pair, sideways. When I made my first awkward colored pencil drawings – in another year or so - it was of the most awkward bombers tossing sausage-like bombs. By then I was secreted away in the far south-eastern part of the then still expanding Reich and must have got heard r or even seen in that Bavarian village what village boys did by throwing shit at each other which is what bombers appeared to do in my drawing, long sausages filled with brown! at the stage of sadist anality for sure, or is it monkeydom that village boys reside in at that stage of their life. So if bombers threw shit, the two bomb craters or graves were what??? I kept thinking of them, and that they were so near to the fox holes the side of the riding rink that had been cut out of the slope.

Bombs, bombers, sirens and bombing traumas of various kinds  - bomb and ack ack shrapnel - marked the remainder of WW II as well as man subsequent experiences.
        The “Otis Media” {Middle Ear Infection-Tonsillitis] section plays in May 1944 while I am having my tonsils removed in an above-ground bunker hospital in Bremen while the city is under attack and this beton bunker as well as everything inside is tremoring. During a visit to my parent’s Budapester Strasse apartment in 1943 I either fantasize or hear the animals in the near-by zoo screaming during a night time raid – I tend to think this is a hysteri- induced fantasy, but it pursued me for years and into a story I wrote in 1955. The final, the Alaska chapter of Screen Memories, features my first night forest fire-fighting near the Yukon with P-38s bombing fire retardant onto the line-fighters! Terror creates the most distinct memories it seems. I hear sirens from the greatest distances!



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MICHAEL ROLOFF http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name exMember Seattle Psychoanalytic Institute and Society this LYNX will LEAP you to all my HANDKE project sites and BLOGS: http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html "MAY THE FOGGY DEW BEDIAMONDIZE YOUR HOOSPRINGS!" {J. Joyce} "Sryde Lyde Myde Vorworde Vorhorde Vorborde" [von Alvensleben] contact via my website http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html