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Friday, May 15, 2015

SCREEN MEMORY # 2 – FIRST BOMBS

SCREEN MEMORY TWO – FIRST BOMBS
SCREEN MEMORY TWO – FIRST BOMBS
Awakened in the middle of the night, lightning flashes, thunder, two simultaneous claps, the roar of air planes, I rear up in bed. window glass shatters all around. I let go of the Steif Monkey, leap out of bed, rush to the window that looks out on the woods, open its two panels, broken shards lying all around, and hear the German Shepherd dog Mara yowling hysterically in her enclosure, a yowling that becomes more and more high pitched, a whimpering and then ceases, throttled. The roar of planes disappears in a north-westerly direction.
It takes me a long time to fall back asleep, hugging the stuffed monkey. I awake early, earlier than anyone else, I sneak down the staircase and walk out onto the veranda and notice that the glass of the large windows and the veranda door has shattered, too, and that the shattered glass, mingled with dewdrops, looks like tear drops in flower heads, and I wipe the sleep out of my eyes. Walking out to Mara’s Zwinger [enforcer] enclosure/ pound, on a section of the lawn invisible from the veranda - a square 100 by 100 foot firtree shaded area, which bears the name “croquet” playing ground - there is the frightful sight of Mara hanging slackly by her collar from the highest wire. Klinner, our foreman, another early bird, comes by about the same time and tells me that two bombs have fallen near the riding rink, leaving two craters, "like graves" he said, 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 a bomber wings, which is why they dropped their bombs at "the outskirts of town.” He proceeds to cut down Mara and deposits her in his wheelbarrow. Klinner most times is with his wheelbarrow, a rake and a spade. He is dressed neatly, as always, knickerbokker pants, metal clips to keep their catching in his bicycle chain, a visored cap.
The above account pretty much is my recollection – one of the very few from what I call my “Expulsion from Paradise” - in Spring 1941. As compared to the first screen memory - where I can’t tell whether it is also a perfect memory, re-arranged so as to create a “likely story,” a secondary revision in time - in this instance I realize that memory has edited the events, compounded them and rearranged them. The person I would like to call b a different angel's name but must call "I" - since I am indeed dissociated from him not only by time and space but by fallible memory - was indeed wakened by two bombs that fell near simultaneously about 100 yards off in the Fir Place woods, during what I thought was the first bombing attack on Bremen
which first attack actually occurred a few months earlier, on January 3. The British had dropped leaflets in September of 1939. Altogether, appr. 1,000,000 bombs were dropped, resulting in 75,000 wounded & 4000 death during the course of appr. 175 attacks! In other words, Bremen, like most German and many European cities, was a good place to get away from. The estate was not bombed again, however upon my return three years later bombing attacks became near daily events and a nearby – five miles off - much-sought-after target, were the above-ground bunkers in Blumenthal (Flowervalley) where submarines were constructed. The fir forest started to look like a Chistmas tree bedecked with tinsel that was meant to distract the radar, and aluminum beer kegs were put up at every street corner and emitted the kind of fog that in fact was typical of lowland weather. Thousands of squirrels were on the loose nipping of the the tips of fir branches? No, ack-ack splinters covered the fir forest and became collector's items; most intriguing were the aluminum shard from tracer shells from the night attacks.


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The flashes of two 500 pound bombs exploding on the ground one hundred yards away cannot be seen through 100 yards of thick fir forest – that was either a fantasy that occurred at the moment that I heard the bombs detonate; or a subsequent construction; perhaps the sound of thunder elicited a hallucinated lightning flash in my mind. By the time this then goodified little boy – either still clutching or not his toy monkey - reaches the shattered window of his second floor room and opens the window and looks out the dog's yowling may have ceased (although the sound of animals screaming becomes part of my interior sound landscape after I possibly merely hallucinate the sound of animals screaming during a visit to Berlin when the Berlin zoo is bombed). Something in me was I imagine appropriately hysterical as I listened to the sounds of bombers disappearing in a north-westerly direction. The idea that Mara had committed suicide must have been either an instant projection at the sight of the dead dog hanging slackly, by its collar, from the top of its fenced enclosure, or a backward projection of my self-direccted fury at being packed off, perhaps that very same day, on my three year travel with the hated Ms. No.
Thus fantasy has added its components.
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 referred 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 over-emphasized, compacted, over-determined and that is why they most likely have been remembered all these many years, whereas other less emotionally determined and charged recollections seem to be, are inaccessible.
The drops of dew in the flowers - not just the shattered shards of glass - also signified my tears (perhaps just shed internally: after all, as I have said, something started to cry inside me early on in life, and, on reflection, I think that is appropriate, and I hope I am not crying only for myself and early childhood misfortune but for all children who are subjected to bombing attacks; I can be said to have been crying ever since I was taken from my mother at age 9 months, those tears, too, are, became 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 it “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 or so my father’s chauffeur Schmidt (who had previously been in my grandfater's employ and whose son Pitt / Peter would become one of my earliest childhood friends, and the only one with whom I came back in touch during the writing of this book) and the Maybach automobile took 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! (That film has been made!) But before I left my paradise it appears that I made one more walk about the forest.
If the clearing 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 remembered nightmare, the croquet area, where Mara "committed suicide," then became the second, soon after the enclosure disappeared as did the last remnants of playing croquet – the mallet, the wire goals, the colored balls, the sound that croquet balls make when hit with malletts or knocking against each never fading uniquely recalled forever – a big chopping block was placed there, and as a chopping block area it would serve as location for yet a further screen memory a few years hence.
Forgetting momentarily about the significance of the pond and the willow lined path between the pond and the 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, craters well on the other of the road that skirted the pond before leading up the chestnut alley to the house. It appears I made an expedition to the 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 drawings, with colored pencils, it was of awkwardly drawn bombers tossing sausage-like bombs. By the time of the drawings, say a year after the first bombs fell, I lived secreted away in the far south-eastern part of the then still expanding Reich, in the village of Vornbach. I must have gotten wind of what village boys did by throwing shit at each other which is what bombers appeared to do, at the stage of anality 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 and badger holes the side of the riding rink that had been cut out of the slope, where I would construct a bunker of my own upon my return


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MICHAEL ROLOFF http://www.facebook.com/mike.roloff1?ref=name 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] contact via my website http://www.roloff.freehosting.net/index.html