Sitting and watching a bar slowly moving from the left to the right … I think any computer user is familiar with this image on the screen, be it a download, an upload, installing something, or as in this case, running maintenance. Now and then it’s necessary to look after the computer and clean out a bit. The operating system is a bullet proof xp, slightly modified by some people who knew what they were doing (if it’s good enough for them it’s good enough for me), but nevertheless the registry becomes a little bit “fat” over time. I use a registry cleaner and the ccleaner; earlier I had the program from this Finn whose name I forgot, very detailed and useful, but it’s not necessary anymore. Defrag the hard drives and shredder the free space; now and then it’s necessary to wipe the free space, nothing is completely deleted with the normal commands, just written over, so this wiping is a like ploughing over the field. I use the simple three times version, nothing to hide here. Makes the machine run a bit faster, less hard drive activity. This machine is old, I do not believe that someone recognizes the name of the cpu – Sempron anyone? -, the hard drives are two trustworthy Winchesters with 20 (!) GB each, and for the RAM we just grabbed what was in the box, a little bit more would be no mistake. The graphic card is from stone age and I want my friend to put in another one with a bit more ka-humpf, let’s see what parts she has collected over time.
Of course all this is “displacement activity”, Übersprungshandlung, I should do something else. I should worm meself through the tons of pictures with old handwriting we collected over years and make a page on the business site. I should make my way back to g+, worm meself through the circle with the genealogists and start to look at all them blogs, starting to “network”.
But most important of all, I should turn my stool around, sit at the old kitchen table of my grandfather to my left and face the small package of letters I was given some nights ago. Given by a man my age, or a bit older I guess, written by his father. The handwriting, of course. Reminds me of the hand of my father. But he was younger, born 1930. These letters are written by a man in his very early twenties serving in the Wehrmacht in the East, in Russia. I do not expect sensations to be revealed. I fear the “normal horror”. As I understand from the conversation with his son, he was no Nazi, but a normal young man who went to war and wrote letters to the girl he loved. They married in the end of ’45. Yes, he came back, he lost a leg somewhere in Russia, don’t know when, and she accepted him back wounded as he came.
This damn war seems never come to an end. Some say that a war is “finished” when the last survivor dies. For WWI it would mean this or last year, when the last serving soldier finally died, an Australian I think, but I may be wrong. For WWII … my grandfather on maternal side died in 1988, and his memories and stories, his fate, is still “alive” with me, I know it and saw, what it made to him and the family, my grandmother and her daughter, my mother.
No, I do not “fear” to read these letters. I know that he survived, I know his son – and he’s a good man – I fear to see and understand – what … how it is, and how it should be? What life, forces, authority did to a young man of twenty one years – is it Mitleid? No, I don’t think so … I can not name it, have not thought it through, or better: felt it through. I’m just getting ready to start to read. And as I know from experience, it will suck me in.
I just have to start.