The Paper Clip War #2

Montessori believed in telling stories to spark interest in learning. One of the best ways to share your heritage with your child is tell true stories about your family. Here is the second part of a series of my mother’s story during WWII in Norway.

The Paper Clip War

The ship slowly chugged through the choppy sea. It was a very long journey, lasting many more hours than usual. The captain stopped at any possible landing area. People often times blindly disembarked without thinking. These people did not have friends or relatives who could help them hide in the country. Later, we found out that many of these people had walked into the middle of a battle between the Norwegians and Germans.

Our stop was the very last one. It was early morning before we arrived at our farm. We were so happy to be safely tucked in that cleft of land between the mountains and sea. Once again we could be children and spend our days in play and happiness.

During our stay at the farm Cousin Irene and I were excused from doing chores and housework so we could play. I think my Mom knew how rough life was going to be and wanted us to have a season of diversion and fun. We hiked in the high mountains and spent nights in the old sheepherder’s log cabin. The ancient cabin was over two hundred years old. It was primitive, but exciting to stay in. We fished trout in the streams, picked wild berries and played carefree games in the protective shadows of the mountains and our family. Here war did not exist yet.

Spring and summer melted into a season of continual happiness until one beautiful, quiet day the chopping sounds of motor cycles violated the innocent silence. They were heralding the way for a massive invasion of German soldiers carried in cattle trucks. The soldiers were on their way to a nearby village to take over an American factory. My aunt, pale and shaking, said this was the end of the world. It was the end of our world now that the Germans were in our farm community. The impending doom was too much to bear.

Later that summer we would hear bombs bursting and see lights flashing over the mountains. We had mixed feelings about these battles. We were thrilled that our people and the allies were fighting for our freedom, even though we were concerned about the safety of our loved ones. The bombing of our country by the allied bombers made us happy and hopeful that this tyranny would not last too much longer.

One autumn day Dad came to visit us at the farm. He told us about a fierce battle at Sola Airport. The airport had been severely damaged during the battle. Father said the allies had bombed only the airport and had been careful not to bomb our nearby city. He thought it was safe for us to live in the city and start school again. We could just take cover in the bomb shelters whenever bombings occurred. Quickly, we packed up our things and prepared to return to Stavanger.

So on the same steamboat that took us to the farm, we went back to the city. When the ship docked at the Stavanger port, we saw a new face on the city that we loved.
The city streets were now teaming with armed German soldiers. Instead of young mothers strolling with their babies in carriages, men rushing off to work and children playing, the streets now belonged to the invaders. It was so strange to see the changes taking over our lives and freedom.

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