Bellerman Strasse 3: Aunt Cilli Mulled Around

The innkeeper was the owner of Charlottenburger Bier Halle in the corner Tegeler Weg 13 / Minden Road 16th.

I myself remember to have visited the restaurant of Erich Siegmund's with my father and Aunt Cilli several times in 1936. The most striking thing about him was his smooth coated black English Pointer. Strangely, he inspired me with confidence when he slowly made his way among the guests, almost without a fault, his head proudly presenting, hardly ever lowered, with tables so clean you could eat off of them directly.
Erich Siegmund gave up his business soon. He did not like the new clientele that had gradually replaced his regulars from working-class backgrounds. He didn't like the gentlemen coming from the district court.

I had very soon realized, that my present life of being in a small family brought forth some regularities akin to a small family, which were unfamiliar to me so far, regularities that are dear to me but also frightened me. Since the time of my moving in, did the apartment emanate an aura of homeliness, so long that the matter of electricity was handled with properly? Immediately behind the apartment entrance lay a 13-meter long corridor which later proved to be ideal for roller skating exercises, especially outside the dispensing operation among us. A total of four doors went down the hallway, three doors on the left, the Apartment's entrance door to the right.  But the wardrobe rack and the electric meter stretched across and broke off suddenly by the bare, long wall. The rear kitchen and the bathroom quickly came before the entrance to the small room, at the end of the hall, was my parents' bedroom.

My nightly domicile was located in a small room. The room with its dark green furnace was cheaper, and faster when it came to heating up. There stood the chaisselongue, leaning against the wall of the bathroom, of course with the head end to the window.  A dining table designed to avoid falling from the bed. Three dining-chairs, a Singer sewing machine and an olive heavy velvet armchair with tassels on the armrests which had been placed between the chaiselongue and windows, filling the space. In this square, I felt the most at home.
Just behind the inward opening door stood a cherry-coloured dresser against the corridor wall; above it were two adjacent drawers, beneath the were three drawers. The bottom drawer belonged to my Father. In it were art supplies and books, including the book “Struwwelpeter”

My parents' bedroom was sparsely furnished. In the nearly square room, left hand sat the double bed, both sides flanked by bedside tables. At a glance, one would catch the blanket covered green oven. Valuable light blue tiles that were to highly placed for my height, made the trim of the room. A three-part self-painted dark brown wardrobe filled up to the window from the wall. Otherwise, a round table, and two chairs which were olive. None of the pieces of furniture gave the impression of a new purchase, seeing how the colour was brought forth by my father's artistic ability. At that time he preferred, probably for reasons of cost, the winding technique for wall decoration. Only in the kitchen was there an ugly green, raised panel.

The different days dictated different regularities in life. That's how I learned on a Wednesday that the “Plumpe” was a Berlin synonym for GesundBrunnen.  Aunt Cilli and I initially knew this place as such, she then took me by the hand and we went to the market. Most of the time, we looked for the one in “Badstrasse.” Sometimes we crossed the square across the “Prinzenallee”, sometimes through the “Stettiner Strasse.” If we had to visit the cabbage merchant, we'd cross the Grüntaler Straße. With that my living environment gradually opened up with time, where Aunt Cilli answered all my curious questions in great detail, which is what I always liked about her. Weekly Standard purchase was the slender conical flask with the "Lusatian linseed oil". Almost every fortnight was "Green Herring" on the shopping list, always a little fruit and vegetables, leeks, then Brussels sprouts, turnips more rarely.

One of the most amazing discoveries were of cows in the midst of the sea of houses. Both in the “Stettiner Strasse” and the “Bellerman Strasse 83A” barns which emanated the peculiar smell of manure and cattle to the nose. If the owners were in a good mood, the owners would allow the children to watch the black and white spotted cattle behind the barn doors. At the time, these small “companies” provided a very important function to the social structure of the crowded tenements, the supply of fresh milk. How could I have imagined in 1935, the need 10 years later to accurately apply a very special relationship with black and white spotted cows, and their milk? Next Episode...

By Hans Horn
Translated by Florian Schmidt

This is the third of a six piece biography from Hans Horn, in which he recounts his distant childhood memories in Bellermanstrasse. I'm happy to translate his work and offer it to the public, due to the lovely story that it is. Hans Horn sadly, passed away in 2012 from skin cancer at the age of 83, and we are remembering him through this translated work. 

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