When I was a little girl, my mother started to make jam usually at the end of the summer. She put it in jars and covered them with cellophane so that no air could get in and spoil the jam. She bought a lot of different fruits and cooked them in big pots in the kitchen and then filled the liquid jam in the jars. She made a lot because it should last over the whole winter months.
When she had finished she carried all the jars to the basement, together with other jars containing vegetables and put them on shelves. In the 1950, there were no refrigerators and vegetables hard to get during winter times. I loved the basement, each apartment owned one, they were divided by wooden pannels which allowed me to peek into the neighbor's cellar to see what they had stocked for the winter. Our cellar also had three big wooden boxes, in one were all the potatoes for the winter, in the other apples and in the third coal for the heating.
I loved the jars because of their different colors and one day I had an excellent idea. I had a little metal flute on which I could play some melodies. So one day when I was looking at the colorful jars I took my flute and pierced a small hole in the cellophane. I loved the sound it made "ping" and each jar had another sound. I continued making music with the jars and made holes in all of them.
When my mother discovered the holes in her precious jars, I couldn't understand why she got so mad and was so angry. After all I hadn't done nothing naughty, only music. She gave me no slap or punished me, she only asked me why I had made the holes ! I explained about my music and the nice sound the jar made when I pierced a hole, and even wanted her to listen, but strangely she didn't want me to make more holes and told me that now she had to do all this work again. I think I was punished enough when I saw her carrying up the jars three floors, put them in the kitchen and covered them again with cellophane. My poor little heart was full of pity to see my mother running up and down the stairs. She didn't want me to help, as she was convinced that I would drop the precious jars. What I didn't realize at that time was that food was something so important. You couldn't buy whatever you wanted, like today. Nothing was wasted either, she knew something very well, what I had never known. Hunger ! It was so shortly after the war, food was something very precious.
Today I wonder how was it possible that you could keep potatoes and apples for months in your cellar and they didn't rot. Today you keep an apple for a week and it becomes brown and potatoes grow sprouts after two weeks at the latest ! Even the so said "organic" once !
After these first musical experiences I got a real flute for Christmas !
which I still have.
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