Thursday, November 24, 2016
Grandpa Ralph's Childhood Stories
Grandpa Ralph grew up in Nuremberg, Germany. He was born in 1920. His parents names were Harry and Gertrude. His original name was Rudolph and they called him Rudie for short. He later changed his name to Ralph. His older brother was named Hans, and he later changed it to Joe. They had a sister named Gretl who died when he was 5 in the Great Flu Epidemic of 1918.
These are some of the stories he told us about his childhood.
The baby carriage race
Hans was 9 years old when Grandpa was born. Once, their mother asked Hans to take Rudie for a walk in his carriage. Joe did that for a while, but he got bored. One of his friends was also taking a younger sibling for a walk in a carriage and they decided to have a race.
They ran down a big hill, pushing the carriages, and when they reached the bottom of the hill, Joe looked in the carriage and discovered that there was no baby there! His little brother Rudie had fallen out! Luckily, no great damage was done.
Rudy on the roof
When he was about 3 years old, his parents received a phone call from a neighbor telling them to look outside on their roof. They looked outside and saw their little Rudie climbing on the edge of the roof! They had to go out and get him down.
The mice in the oven
When Grandpa was a little older, he had some pet mice. He decided to keep them in the oven, but he forgot to tell his mother that he put them there. Oops! Guess what happened to the mice!
A Boycott Day Bar Mitzvah
Grandpa's Bar Mitzvah was on Boycott Day, April 1, 1933, the first day that non-Jewish Germans were not allowed to do business with Jews. No one knew what would happen that day, and the Jews of Germany were afraid that there might be violence against them. So Grandpa's family and friends made a secret minyan before the sun rose, davened shacharit and read the torah, and got home before it got light outside and people were on the street.
Rudy in high school
Grandpa was an athlete in high school, and won the decathlon.The decathlon is a combined event in athletics consisting of ten track and field events. When I looked up decathlon in Wikipedia, these are the events it listed, but I don't know if that was exactly what Grandpa did in his decathlon: 100 metres, Long jump, Shot put, High jump, 400 metres, 110 metres hurdles, Discus throw, Pole vault, Javelin throw, and 1500 metres.
Rudy the Zionist
Grandpa was also the valedictorian (the best student) in his high school. He had to give a speech at graduation.
The school was hareidi and was not Zionist, but Grandpa was a Zionist. Grandpa decided to give a speech in favor of Zionism, but he knew that the administration of the school wouldn't like that, so, when he had to submit a written copy of the speech for approval, he gave in a different speech than the one he was actually going to give at the graduation.
The school administration was not happy about it, but since he was finished with his studies, there was nothing they could do about it!