Chapter Two Thousand Three Hundred Sixty-Two
21st March 1975
After the toasts and Manfred von Richthofen’s bombastic speech where he basically declared himself the König of Silesia to much applause, everyone had settled in for a meal, followed by cake and light entertainment in the form of dancing as well as a few other amusements.
It was delightful watching Manfred and Suse Rosa dancing before they were joined by Christian and Katherine, Ina to those close to her. Marcella Böhler-Strobel had seen a lot of weddings during her life, but this one was that of her grandnephew and grandniece. She had to wonder what her husband Klaus would have had to say if he had lived to see this.
Of course, Klaus had always been close to Hans, so today would have been extra special for that reason. He would have adored Suse Rosa just had he had Kattie, he would have pointed out that Suse was Kattie’s goddaughter, so she was a good one even if he didn’t understand Suse’s mother Gerta most of the time. He would have called Christian a solid man with excellent prospects and that Ina could have done worse. In many ways, Ina was the best parts of Hans and Helene
She smiled at the memory of the lens through which her late husband had viewed the world through. Then he would have wanted to have talked about fishing or Football. As the other couples took to the dance floor, Marcella saw Nikolaus and Gretchen taking part as planned, but there was still a frostiness between them. Over the course of this wedding, both of them had revealed that they had a long way to go when came to growing up much to the exasperation of the other. Marcella knew that Gretchen had quietly had a crush on Niko for years and that Niko regrettably saw her as like a little sister. When he had shown interest in another young woman and was apparently too thick to see what was going on, she had let him have it. There was some question as to what might happen now that everything was out in the open. There was also Sebastian and Anna, Gretchen’s older brother and sister. They had been paired with another Junior Attendant of the wedding, but there was no personal history or chemistry. Once the celebration began in earnest, it was clear that they were going to swiftly part ways. The second dance included a chance for the respective parents of the brides and grooms to have a moment in the spotlight. It was bewildering for Marcella. Seeing that Generaloberst Kurt Markgraf von Knispel, introduced as the Marshal of Bohemia and the large number of medals that he wore and then when Hans was introduced, he more than matched the Bohemian General.
Another amusing thing to watch was Josefine and how she had men falling all over themselves to have her as a dance partner. She had been introduced as Suse Rosa’s dear friend and confidant, which was true. Few people seemed to believe that she was a School Teacher who taught University Courses and Continuing Adult Education on the Military Base in Wunsdorf. She also was dismayed by Suse Rosa moving out because they had shared a house in Wunsdorf-Zosen since they had returned from Argentina. It was strange to hear, but Jo had apparently never lived alone and was sort of frightened by the prospect…
“Tolle Tante?” Marcella heard a child’s voice ask, distracting her from her observations. Looking down, she saw Nina staring up at her. It was no surprise that Kiki had encouraged her to use a term like that in addressing Marcella.
“What are you doing away from your mother and father?” Marcella asked.
Nina just shrugged. “They don’t know I’m gone” She replied.
Looking across the hall, Marcella saw that Kiki and Benjamin were having to take part in the social aspect of the reception. She knew that by her nature Kiki was not normally inclined to interact with people like this, she was already looking exhausted and that would get worse as the evening wore on. It was the perfect setup for Nina to sneak off and Kiki really did need to acknowledge her present condition, she should have been taking things easy. Instead, this was what she was doing.
“It was rude of you to sneak off like that” Marcella said, “Your parents will be worried…” When they finally notice you’re gone, Marcella didn’t say that aloud for obvious reasons.
“They are always on about Louis Bernhard” Nina said, with a tone suggesting deep annoyance.
“Can you tell me who that is?” Marcella asked as she led Nina to the portion of one of the tables where the meal and desert had just concluded. There were a few people still seated there enjoying drinks.
“Well, Louis is Louis” Nina replied as she climbed onto the chair next to Marcella as if that explained anything. The wait staff was quick to give her a fresh glass of Champagne for Marcella and a glass of sparkling apple juice for Nina. Gerta and Hans were really getting their money’s worth in this event, as over the top and unbelievable as it was.
“I gathered that much” Marcella said. She remembered the conversations like this with Kattie long ago. Kattie had also made the same assumptions about things she deemed self-explanatory. “Where is this Louis?”
“Inside Momma” Nina replied, “What he’s doing in there? I don’t know.”
“So, they have picked a name and Louis Bernhard is going to be your little brother” Marcella said with a smile. That really was a wonderful name, both of the boy’s grandfathers.
Nina made a face though. “I’d rather have a bicycle” She said.
It was hardly a surprise that Nina was unaware of how her relationship with her little brother would be one of the most important in her life. If Marcella told her that, Nina would probably think that she was pulling her leg.
“Is that a fact?” Marcella asked and Nina nodded.
“I see Zoey riding all the time and that looks fun” Nina said, “She goes real fast.”