and birds were flying in and out of the “Koelner Dohm,” as the enormously
tall church in Cologne is called. Droozy, Fanny and Benjy were watching with
fascination as birds of all sizes nested in the many cavities of the cathedral.
People would go in and out of the church, paying no attention to the beauty of
nature that surrounded them. Some folks walked with hurried steps, some walked
slowly, still others walked at a normal pace.
hour a bell would toll, its loud clang sending shivers through the children’s
spines. Benjy began to cry and hide in Droozy’s skirt whenever he heard the
gong of those bells. He was only two years old then and didn’t know what this
was all about. He only knew that his beloved Mama wasn’t around and that he
better find protection from all that horrible noise that seemed to be following
him. Every so often Droozy would pick up her brother and hold him close, because
she too was scared. Fanny would scream at them both, telling them to be still
and to stop being such brats. Fanny always seemed angry, no matter what the
at that church seemed endless. Why didn’t their mother come?
What was happening? She had
left the three children there on the steps of the Cathedral and had told them to
stay together and to watch their two suitcases. Every so often the two girls
would pick up the heavy trunks that were bulging and overstuffed.
what seemed like hours, their mother appeared with hurried steps, took her
children by the hand, left the suitcases behind and ran with them to the train
station. All were out of breath when they ascended the steps of the waiting
train. It was only a few seconds after they got on that they heard the hoot of
the train whistle and the train pulled away. The only possession that Mama had
with her was a medium sized worn black purse that hung from her arm.
Looking out the train window, the Cologne Cathedral could be seen from the distance. As the train pulled farther and farther away the Cathedral seemed to become smaller and smaller until only the peak of the building peered out in the fog. It was the last time that the family Abner would see the “Koelner Dohm.”