“So is that where you were first introduced to your husband at perhaps a popular party rally in Nuremberg?” the nurse had asked rather innocently.
“Oh no,” Karen laughed at this surprising suggestion that rather appealed to her than adding: “It was all rather strange I suppose looking back now about really what happened years ago. Because I was shopping one morning looking for a new hat of all things in Munich when suddenly a young thief darted by and snatched my handbag from my shoulder and ran off with it,” she paused recalling the event.
“It all happened so quickly and I was rather shaken up as well but luckily I wasn’t hurt. So naturally I reported the theft that morning to the police, never expecting, of course, to see my favourite handbag again or its contents. Then a few days later lo and behold I received an unexpected telephone call from the Munich police, informing me that my stolen handbag had been recovered and was still almost intact can you believe it? And it would be returned to me personally that same day or could be collected at my convenience. Then I was later informed that perhaps it could be hand delivered to my home if that was convenient for me. To be brought back by one of their young officers. WELL! Who do you think was knocking on my front door two just two hours later?” she asked with a slight twinkle in her eye.
“Was it perhaps your future husband?” suggested the nurse rather too quickly, knowing that the answer was certain to be in the affirmative.
“Yes,” Karen confirmed with a rather smug smile.” It was indeed and wasn’t that an incredible thing to happen?” replied Karen, still surprised after all these years of how events had unfolded so quickly to bring them together. And later resulting in her happy marriage to Walter.
Yes VERY! thought the nurse rather suspiciously. She did not really believe in coincidences. But she did wonder if indeed the whole charade with the handbag “snatch” had somehow been perhaps pre-arranged. But by whom and for what purpose she did not know but she was now very intrigued.
“Then later we became engaged and were later married in Munich” continued Karen certainly unaware of the sudden surprise etched on the nurse’s face as these events slowly unfolded.
Karen would always remember her first impression when she made the acquaintance that day of a young police detective named Walter Kyper.
He had then stood alone on the doorstep dressed in his heavy serge police uniform being very nervous. His official cap clutched in his left hand then both had been looking at each other she recalled rather awkwardly.
They had both carefully appraised each other. She then realised they both were exactly the same height.
His clean-shaven face with his trimmed, thick black hair was slicked back from his face, probably she thought with the aid of the ever-popular Pommade Divine, that somehow in her mind made him look rather attractive and distinguished as well, especially in profile.
His aquiline nose and high cheekbones were offset by his always alert brown eyes it seemed. He had shadows underneath the lower lids, perhaps due to many deprived sleepless nights. The penalty she heard later from him was because his occupation would never be just simply nine to five, he had often remarked ruefully when that topic arose. As well as the studying he had undertaken for his all-important promotional detective exams.
But it was his lips that had first attracted her about him and of course his small white even teeth. Interestingly he had informed her years later that he had never visited any dentist until he arrived in Munich in 1919 aged nineteen years old and then ‘as green as grass’ he would say with amusement and also in the ways of Munich and of course the world.
Then when he smiled at her with his initial introduction and showed her his official identity pass, small laugh lines appeared across his face like a finely woven undisturbed spider web.
He would later privately practise, during any official police interrogation, of never blinking and scowling with menace at any frightened suspect handcuffed and hauled before him in a charge room.
Later when middle age arrived for him and when he had long left the Munich police force he would be forced to rely on the use of prescribed prescription reading glasses. But was never to be seen wearing them in public. And with always very strict orders to his loyal hand-picked staff that no official photographs at all, without his permission were to be taken he had always insisted. Unless of course, they had met his approval which was infrequent.
But it was the distinctive unusual musical tone of his voice that had also seduced Karen. It was pitched according to the famous Russian musicologist Professor W. Rostow. Of the musical note being simply when heard a perfect pitch of Ab. As always clearly sounds being struck on any fined tuned piano. On one of his birthdays, Karen then had on an impulse, presented him with an expensive set of silver cufflinks with that musical note engraved upon the links.
They had also enjoyed her father’s welcomed and generous suggestion. A previous happy wedding anniversary gift to be spent and enjoyed in Liechtenstein of all places, where this little souvenir pot of the famed castle was purchased by her. It would be placed on her dressing table for many years and there to secure her many assorted collected fingerrings.
Then there was a sudden noisy commotion that assaulted the greenery much to Karen’s annoyance. Over a dozen inebriated young men arrived breathless and then barged into the garden. All were singing and shouting as they invaded and shattered the peaceful garden’s popular ambience. And all were it seemed sporting soccer and other distinctive outfits such as coloured scarves and caps and garish badges.
They were it was later surmised the popular local soccer team. Preparing now to do battle on the pitch and later fuelled with more bottles of alcohol against the opposition visiting team. And probably to take place that evening on the town’s streets after the match.
It was time for them both, suggested Karen to the nurse, to perhaps leave. But she suddenly said to Karen to “wait a minute” as they both stood up to leave collecting their packages. One of the young men paused and said several rude words to the surprised women.
Then without pausing or prompting the defiant nurse straightened up and sauntered over to the sneering young man perhaps to the group’s leader. She then pulled his jacket lapels towards her and said several sharp words into his ear. Then she pushed him away against an oak tree, kicked him in both shins and then turned and elbowed one of the surprised men into the pit of his stomach who was coming to his friend’s aid. Another advancing man received the benefit of the flat palms of her hands brought down sharply on his exposed ears. This sudden pain caused him to squeal like a pig and then collapse. Then she sauntered back to Karen. A look of satisfaction on her face. And then noticing as she looked back the deflated men were now quietly leaving the park as both women waved them a laughing goodbye.
Nurse Hofman had after all grown up in a notorious rough suburb of Bremen close to the busy docks. Then a few years later she had with thousands of others been standing in the Breman Western Stadium. Having heard Hitler speak she had been captured by what she had listened to him proclaim and promise from the lectern. Then later of course for her own protection on her frequent visits as a nurse, she had for years always carried a small antique dagger. This her late father had brought back supposedly from Toledo in Spain, sometime before the First World War.
She had never killed any man in anger in the past but perhaps only in self-defence. But she had certainly seriously marked many men in the past, both on the facial cheeks and the buttocks.
This faithful sharpened friend had for many years never deserted her side. And she knew for her own peace of mind she would feel rather naked without its protection wherever she went. Now always lying secure in her pocket in its worn leather sheath.
But on this occasion, she had fortunately not been expected to test its lethal skills. Instead, used some of the street skills she had learned and graduated from as a youth in the mean streets of Bremen.
Then with an innocent smile, the nurse suggested and slowly looked over her shoulder at the still deserted park saying politely to Karen: “Shall we perhaps leave now?” Talking as if nothing had really happened in the last few minutes, concerning that local popular boisterous football team that she had dealt with so easily and successfully. Karen was very impressed by what she had witnessed and how the nurse had dealt with the sudden problem and with such ease. And she would certainly inform Walter of these unusual skills the nurse possessed. They definitely might benefit the party in the coming years, in dealing with any annoying dissidents and with a deadly surprising accuracy as well. Certainly against all those fools who might try to impede the party and its coming ascent to power. They had all better watch their step Karen thought with conviction. This would be a future warning to any nation who stood in their way. Then soon our party and our glorious country would become a lasting legend to shine into the unknown.
To be continued……
© G. Patrick Battell
(All Rights Reserved)