It has been six years now and still no word. Every day I live in fear – fear of the unknown, fear of the Germans, and fear I may never see my husband again.
“I’ve found a place! It won’t be long now until I send for you!” The last letter I received from Hans sounded so promising. He had left for America before the war began to make a better life for us. Better life. What is that? I have no way of knowing if my husband is still alive…or he us. Will we ever be together again?
“Mama!” That’s my little one crying now. I know she will be hungry. All I have is a few berries I found this morning while walking in our fields. My little Marit will be pleased with this treat. Ahhh that my husband could see his daughter. He sailed west before I knew I was pregnant. To think he has never set eyes on this child of six years. The pain is so great.
I can hear the clomping feet of my eleven year old son, Tore, now. The boy has had to grow up quickly. He tends to the few animals we have left and keeps a lookout for the Germans. They have been here once already. They took our radios and some of our food.
Every day I send my son down to the end of our road. The mailman from Oslo travels this route in the early afternoons. The Germans inspect the mail and confiscate any letters that are being sent in or out of Norway. I hope my husband has written to me, but I do not know. I pray that one of my letters will pass by the inspectors. My husband must be worried so.
“Tore! Tore! Please come in here!” I call. My tall, blonde hair, blue eyed son steps into the room – he’s the image of his father already. Uffda! How my heart aches. “Tore – have you seen the mailman yet? Has he come?”
“No Mama – he has not come yet.”
“Go back and wait my son. We must never give up. One of these days, we will hear from Papa.”
My heart pounds with pride as I watch him leave the room. My Tore is a strong one! That boy can plow a field and work as hard as any man and yet he’s so young. Such hardship.
“Ahh now there my little Marit I have a treat for you! Stauckas – you are so hungry I know!”
I’m going to rest here a bit while Marit eats. There is much work left to do today, but I just need a little break – my heart is so heavy.
“What! What is it?” I yell as I jump to my feet. Marit is on the floor now playing with a cup and spoon. I must have fallen asleep. I hear yelling. “Oh dear God, let it not be the Germans! I can’t take this any more – we have so little left. Please Lord…no….please!”
“Mama! Mama!” Tore stumbles into the house now, tears streaming down his grimy cheeks. “A letter! Tis a letter! Papa has written!” In his hand is an envelope. Could it be? I dare not hope. The boy must be mistaken.
With trembling hands, I reach out and take the envelope from the shaking grip of my son.
“Open it Mama!” Tore tugs on my arm. “The mailman says the war is over! We are just now getting the word. It ended August 15th! The mail is finally getting through! It’s true, Mama, you have to believe it! Open the letter…hurry!”
I reach behind me for the chair as I suddenly feel faint. Is Hans still alive? Is he waiting for us? Oh my sweet husband. All these years apart with no word. Is the answer finally here in my hand?
I take a knife and carefully slit open the top of the envelope. Inside is a single folded sheet of paper. I’m shaking now like a nervous schoolgirl. Slowly I unfold the paper and see the familiar handwriting of my husband. It is all true. The war is over. We will be together again. God is good.
“Mama! Read it to us,” pleaded Tore in a voice that was barely audible.
I cleared my throat.
“My darling Olga…..”
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