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School and play were life's content. The first a little less, the latter a little more. We played Völkerball and Jägerballdodgeball and a similar ball game "op Zackeräes"a certain location in Linden-Linden, "strööften"to roam sometimes through Grotenrath's nursery and at Schwartz house looked for pieces of lead at the shooting range of the "Old Comrades" of the Kriegerverein, which could be melt in.

In Broich we roamed the gravel pits of Wahl, Körfer, Kellenter and Schunck. At the entrance to "Körfers Kisskull", somewhat back from Broicher Straße, there were still some cellar foundations, probably from the years 1934/35, when the RAD (Reichsarbeitsdienst) had a camp there, when this road was straightened and expanded. In these foundations we found a lot of thick, nasty toads, with which the girls were then frightened. After the war, this area was built into a football field of the VfR with a lot of self-performance by the members. And here uncle Klaus Johnen received enthusiastic applause when he beheaded a stray ball back into the game with his magnificent baldness from the "Tribune" (a slope in front of Wöbel's meadow).

We ran to a chain carousel and climbing pole, to the ship swing and liquorice stand, when Schwartz Kirmes was on the large meadow behind the economy. The parents' money was spent too quickly, but grandmother and uncle Albert Wirtz were almost always persuaded to "encore".

In the meantime, the war had begun, which was actually unnoticed by us children.

One day there was artillery on the fairgrounds, which was on its way west. We pluck the flowers from the gardens at home to decorate horses and cannons with them. It must have been late summer, because I remember exactly that I cut blue shrubs from the front yard, which stood there in the rounding behind the tart. In the village the quartering began, the halls of Schwartz and Wirtz were occupied by soldiers who slept on straw. Almost every house had to clear rooms for the soldiers, whether they wanted to or not. But in the euphoria of the first years of the war, everyone was almost a little proud of "their" soldiers. Firstly, we had an Air Force lieutenant. I think he was called Pelke, later on two Infantrymen, Sinnig and Stegemann. At Dittmann’s milk kitchen there was a canteen at that times, from which I got something – due to my good "relationships" with Heinz Dittmann.

With Heinz Dittmann and Egon Dörsch I made a gun out of an ancient pram base and a beanpole. The French officer's hood belonged to Egon. And Ms. Dörsch was angry that I wore it while taking pictures and not her Egon.

When we spoke - after the war - of this time, mother told us of similar situations of quartering after the First World War. But it was the French, who were very unloved at the time, who had occupied the Rhineland and settled where they liked it. She also knew a sentence she had learned at the time:

Le Boeuf - the beef , la vache - the cow, fermez la porte - the door close !

From this occupation stem many "Germanized" words, which we still use today, but almost only in our dialect.

Here are some examples:

Dialect Translation hint English Deutsch "*"column added by webWürselen
Jäff mich ens de Forschet fourchette - Gabel please give me the fork Gib mir bitte die Gabel

Rêck mich ens d'r Mostert

moutarde – Senf

Please give me the mustard

Reich mir bitte den Senf

Mer setzt sich nêt op de Froneus

fourneuse -Küchenherd

You don't sit on the kitchen stove

Man setzt sich nicht auf den Küchenherd

Adie dann á Dieu - Gott befohlen – Auf Wiedersehen Good bye Auf Wiedersehen
E jaloues Wiffje jaloux - eifersüchtig A jealous woman Eine eifersüchtige Frau
Ene finge Plümo plumeau -Federbett A fine duvet Ein feines Federbett
Dat hat e Oche e Puttiksje boudique – Kleiner Laden – Kramladen She has a small shop in Aachen Sie hat in Aachen einen kleinen Laden
Dat kann deä us de lamäng la main - Hand He is just capable to do it Das kann der einfach so

We continued to play our games, although “Hitler's Jungvolk” took a lot of time away from us with his ‘Apellen’ (appeals) (again such a word of French origin). The obligatory collection of silver paper and stanol, chamomile and dead nettles flowers as well as yarrow also took time and was annoying. The flowers were dried in the attic of the school on old newspapers or wallpaper and were picked up later. Physical training at school has now been more rigorous. The testimony no longer referred to gymnastics, but "physical exercises" and the school grade on this subject played a rather important role in the transfer to the next higher class. But we didn't let ourselves be fooled and continued to play football in the Jewish clot and in the meadow of Dittmann's Loui. Sometimes older boys played along, Arnold Benz for example or Hans Kreutzer. But they used us more or less as sparring partners, we had no chance against them.

In spring was the time for bow and arrow, in autumn for the windbirds. Time for the famous and popular "Schwenkdouese" and the stone slingshots was all year round.

Arrow and bow were especially "in" at that time. Riedgras (rushes) for the arrows grew en masse in the swampy fallow areas along the creek to the Weiher. Ried also stood at the Ackersweiher, but was mostly trampled down by children and cows. The dead and hard Ried was cut to arrow length with a sharp knife, depending on the size of the bow between 40 and 70 cm. The grow nodes at the Ried had to be smoothed, otherwise remained at the bow. In the lower side of the arrow a notch was cut for laying it on the bow string. On the upper end of the arrow came a piece of hollowed-out elderberry rod to stabilize the arrow during the flight. Heinz Dittmann had once attached a pin on top of an arrow and thus inadvertently shot Jordan's Johannes in the buttocks. The shouting of all those involved and those who were not involved was, of course, great. We made the bows from brook pastures, sometimes also from hazelnut branches. These woods springed better than beech or oak wood, they were also easier to stretch. However, they lost elasticity after a short time, which is why they often had to be replaced. But the Broich Forest was inexhaustible. Shots were fired at the meadows and the winner was whose arrow - shot vertically - remained in the air the longest time.

Each shot was accompanied by loud counting, although the Indians certainly did not. But they didn't shoot up into the sky.

Please, observe the copyright of Albert Johnen
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