Don’t give up, your answer is around the corner

Yes, you heard me right. Don’t give up, your answer is around the corner. If you have been pressing in to get an answer for something that you have been focused on for quite a while, I’m here to tell you that your determination will not go unrewarded, especially if you have committed it to God’s care. He hears your heart, He sees your frustrations. I know that it seems as though things will never change, yet God works behind the scenes in your life.

If you are going it on your own and you have not committed this to an entity that is more powerful than you, then you will have to just live with the results of your own efforts. We alone can’t change others or circumstances beyond our control, but God can.
“God can do anything, you know–far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” Ephesians 3:20

I know that it seems like this has been going on forever, yet if you have been faithful to commit this to Him and have been listening for HIs direction, it will arrive.
“Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our current condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” Romans 8:28

Our journey to downsize our lives

I have searched the internet unsuccessfully to find stories of others that have decided to pull the emergency brake on their existing lifestyle. My wife and I have watched shows on decluttering, but we aren’t talking of just getting rid of stuff in our closet. We have done that and that does not satisfy the longing to take a hack saw to these golden handcuffs that keep us slaving away to make the mortgage payment on our million dollar home and our “way of life”. We want purpose. We want to have the freedom to not be tethered to something and someplace that forces us to not have any choices. We are going to downsize our lives.

I reinvented myself once already

Ok, now I am going to switch to moi. I started my own business about 20 years ago working with my hands, but things out of my control, mainly the internet and cheaper products from China made my services no longer needed. I had to reinvent myself, but in reinventing myself, I chose what would be a great “business idea”, not something else that I would enjoy. You see, I was in the mortgage business making a good living, but hating every minute of it. This is why 20 years ago I reinvented myself and started my own service business, but cheaper products rendered my services obsolete, so I reinvented myself and started selling replacement parts online for the products I used to service. The immediate return or should I say the slow and steady return of dollars started coming in. I had discontinued to use my troubleshooting and mechanical skills due to a lack of need and started selling the same parts that I used to install for people TO people. Just like now, I was tied to a computer screen. I was riding the surf of the internet and after 10 years, was one of the top websites to sell these parts. Life was good, financially speaking, but I had left behind the whole reason to get out of the mortgage business in the first place.

What am I complaining about?

Fast forward 18 years. We are basically living in a million dollar house. I am driving a brand new Tesla. Is it a cool house? You bet! It’s 118 years old with tons of architectural detail. It’s 5,200 sq. ft. and the previous owners fully renovated it. It has a butlers kitchen, a gourmet kitchen that any chef would love to own and inlaid French parquet flooring. I had always wanted to own a home like this in this very neighborhood.  Colonial revival home Freeze frame. We are pretty miserable. You see, stuff doesn’t bring you happiness. It does for a very short time, but not long term. Our job has tons of stress attached to it. Being in business online is like being a fish in the ocean. You never know what is going to gobble you up or if the tide is going to change and sweep you away with it. The amount of money that we have to generate to feed our lifestyle is just crazy and we don’t have any credit card debt, I’m just talking about house payment, health insurance, utilities, etc. Ok, there is the Tesla payment and I do love driving it.

Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should. Bigger isn’t always better. These are two quotes that I tell others but have obviously been ignoring myself. I knew we could afford to own this house and to buy the Tesla, but when I signed the promissory note for each, I also promised that I would make those payments and to make those payments I must generate the income, no matter if I enjoy the job that generates that income or not.  Guess what? I don’t enjoy the job and I don’t enjoy the friendly reminder that these payments are due either. Owning expensive stuff means that the expensive stuff needs to be maintained. Owning a 5,200 sq ft house when you are both working full time means hiring a housekeeper, that is unless you don’t care what your house looks like and we do. I don’t have time to do the repairs that are needed in owning a home, so I get out my checkbook and write checks for the lawn service, painters, plumbers and electricians that I would normally do myself. That is if I had the time, but guess what? I don’t have the time.

To be able to yell STOP, I have to eliminate what forces me to wake up and “make the donuts”.

baker getting ready to make donuts
Courtesy of Dunkin Donuts

It’s not that I want to retire and play golf. I just want to do something that fulfills me and uses the God given gifts that I was given. I have purposely started to step on the brakes in my business. I eliminated a number of product groups that were requiring a major investment of time, but that also resulted in less income. I had been approached by a company that every one has heard of to distribute their products, but I turned them down. They were kind of shocked, but I said no. That was VERY hard to do because I had been trying to obtain their business for years. That probably cost me a couple of million dollars a year in sales.

hand on parking brake

Now, we are pulling the emergency brake on our lives. We are putting our house up for sale and streamlining our business so that we can eventually sell it. We refuse to go another day like this. We want options for our lives. We may not even buy another house. We may just travel, to places where we can live on the cheap for a while until we figure out what we want to do next.

I am going to take you on our journey into the land of downsizing our lives. I will be honest and tell you exactly how it feels to move out of a neighborhood filled with doctors and CEO’s. It will be a change both economically and socially, but we are willing to do it.

The Matrix – “I know kung fu”

Neo has just downloaded kung fu to his brainThis is one of the most memorable lines of the movie The Matrix. I know kung fu,” Neo says. My question is, has anyone else ever experienced something to where EVERYTHING comes together? I have one time in my life. The only difference is that I had to work for it, it obviously wasn’t just downloaded into my brain.
I was in college taking a computer language course for engineers called Fortran. The professor spoon-fed us notes on a screen that we simply copied all semester. Can you say B-O-R-I-N-G?

We all learn in different ways

It’s true, some of us learn linearly. We like to be spoon-fed, sort of as our GPS spoon-feeds us where to turn to get to a destination. I don’t do well with that sort of instruction. I need to know why I am making a turn, why I am learning this. How will I use it? How does this line of code work into the project that I am assigned? I’m not a computer that just looks for the needed data and doesn’t ask why. Show me the 30,000-foot view of the city, then tell me where I should go. With that information, I  gps on phonecan then use gps; it’s just that I would prefer a map first. When it comes to learning, as a teacher, don’t be a gps, just spoon-feeding me information. I don’t learn that way. I pity the students where a professor doesn’t try and communicate on several levels.
This was the case with my Fortran class I was taking. The professor, who was trying to get his PHD was thrown into teaching a beginning Fortran class. I’m sure he wasn’t excited.

The end of the semester project

All during the semester, we would be given projects to do. We had to write code to be able to generate whatever the assignment said we had to generate. Supposedly we had been given the tools up to that point of the semester. Fortunately, I had a buddy that knew much more than I did, so we worked together to do each project, or should I say, I watched while he figured it out. The whole class did not make sense to me at all.  fortran codeAt the end of the semester, our final was a large project that was due. This was our exam of sorts. My buddy and I collaborated on it. He got to a roadblock and admitted, “I have no clue what to do.” I thought to myself, “Well if you don’t know what to do, we are screwed.” We both sat there looking at our notebooks with absolutely nothing on the blank page. I had taken down every single word from the professor’s overhead projector, looking through all of my notes. All of a sudden, it was like a light switch had just been turned on in my brain. All of the notes I had taken were instantly downloaded, or at least it seemed, into my brain. I looked at my buddy and said, “I know kung fu!” He looked at me and said, “What are you talking about?” I replied, “I know how to do this project. I understand the entire semester.” I took my pen and started writing code faster than I had ever seen him write code. He said, “What? How? Are you sure?” I replied very confidently, “I don’t know how, but I know exactly what to do. This will work, I guarantee it.” My brain and my pen were one. I just watched my hand as code flowed from the tip of my pen onto the page. I was amazed while I was writing the code. After about 15 minutes. I looked up to Morpheus, I mean my buddy and said, “It’s done.”  I went to school and uploaded the code to the school computer and voila, out came the project, perfectly completed, well except one comma that made every result show up on a separate sheet of paper the size of a ream of paper. Once I removed the comma, it printed beautifully and we turned it in. I got an A. neo in kung fu stance

What I experienced that day was AMAZING. I have never ever experienced it again. It was an epiphany. I do hope that somehow I am able to experience this once again. It involved work and dedication, but the sudden connection of every synapse that had been wandering around in my brain that semester was a feeling that was beyond anything that I have ever experienced.

CHAPTER 11

 Unfinished business

Maria sat on the edge of the bed as Georg explained. “As you know, my deceased wife Agathe had a sizable inheritance left to her. When I invested it in my friend’s bank in Austria, I thought that I had done a friend a favor as well as invest it in a safe haven, but the depression took the bank along with many people’s fortunes.” Georg explained.

Georg and Maria
Vanity Fair

“I know Georg, and we cut back to make ends meet.” Maria replied. “Right, but even taking in boarders and singing did not enable us to stay in Salzburg. I had to do something to retain stability. Those times when I was away on business, well……. I agreed to return back to what I had studied in college. Physics.” Georg confessed. “Georg, why didn’t you tell me? Why would you hide this from me?” Maria asked. “I didn’t want to worry you and what I was working on so long ago was classified. Germany wanted me to work on this project called ‘Die Glocke’. We weren’t told what it was supposed to do, we were just given a job to do, but Herman Richter who will be here tonight knew more about the project than I did. We worked inside a mountainside called The Giant.” Georg explained. “I still don’t know what any of this has to do with Rolf.” Maria replied. “I guess we will find out tonight.” Georg said as he got up from the bed to get ready for tonight’s dinner.
Georg and Maria

Just as I started to get ready for the evening’s dinner, the phone ran in our bedroom. I picked up the phone and Friedrich was on the line. “Dad, I just wanted you to know that I was able to line up a couple of people to be at the dinner tonight. They will arrive around 2:30. Both of them will be wearing street clothes, one in a blue suit and the other in a navy jacket and khaki pants. I told them to come to see you at the house first.” Friedrich stated. “That is great son. I appreciate you doing this. Hopefully, nothing will occur, but it’s better to be prepared.” Georg replied as he hung up the phone and looked at Maria who had a worried look on her face. “Maria, I contacted Friedrich just as a precaution. He is sending a couple of security officers to be at the dinner. I don’t expect any trouble, but my job is to protect you and our guests.” Georg said reassuringly.

“Have you ever been to America? I came here after the war, though my mode of transportation was rather unconventional.” Herman said. “No, I have not. I have always wanted to, but never had the time. Hmm, isn’t that strange, I never had the time? One would think that I would have had plenty of that after the war.” Rolf said in a contemplative tone. “Does Georg know that we are coming to the lodge?” Rolf asked. “I don’t believe so. I haven’t seen Georg since he left the country. It’s been over 40 years. He probably doesn’t even know that I am still alive. I do hope our sudden presence doesn’t ruin the evening for his guests.” Herman said. “I know that 40 years has certainly changed my appearance. No more blonde hair. What I have left is white.” Rolf said running his hand through his thinning hair.

“Hello, Mr. Von Trapp. This is Alex and my name is Stephen. Your son requested that we be here this evening, but I’m not sure what you would like for us to do other than keep a lookout for a couple of men.” Stephen said to Georg as they met him on the front porch. “Thank you, gentlemen, for being here. It will set both my wife and me at ease.” Georg said with relief. “Do you have a picture of the two men that we are to keep an eye on?” Alex said wanting to move matters along. “Yes, I believe that my son faxed over a couple of pictures this afternoon. Let me take a look.” Georg said as he took the men into his study. Rolf Gruber and Herman Richter

Georg picked up the fax admiring this new piece of technology and the results that it produced. “Per my son’s research, these are the two gentlemen. The one on the right is Rolf and the older gentleman to the left I would guess is Herman. I’m glad he sent it over. I would have never recognized them in a hundred years.” Georg admitted. “Thanks, we will make a copy of this for each of us and make sure to keep our eye on both of them.” Stephen said with confidence as they headed to the lodge.

Driving toward the lodge Herman reminded Rolf, “we will need to take Georg to a quiet location tonight. Do you have the information that I sent to you last month? I want to show this to Georg before.”  “Yes, I have it right here in my coat pocket. I have reviewed it and am ready to finally bring this to a close. This time, there won’t be any mistake as to what I should have done, many years ago.,”

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CHAPTER 10

Guess who is coming to dinner?

Georg pulled up to the rear of the lodge just in time to catch Maria heading back to the house. “Maria, the pickles have been acquired, well….minus one.” Georg confessed. “Georg, if you keep eating pickles I’m going to start wondering about you!” Maria teased.  Georg delivered the key ingredient to the kitchen and quickly ran to catch up with Maria who was heading across the lawn to their house. “Maria, I need to talk with you before our guests from Germany arrive this evening.” Georg said in a serious tone. “What is it?” Maria inquired. “When I was at the store, Mac told me that one of the German guests was inquiring about me. I didn’t think anything of it as we get people asking about us all the time. Mac caught the gentleman’s name. He told me that it was Rolf Gruber.” Maria stopped dead in her tracks. “Rolf? Why would Rolf be coming to the states and why staying at our lodge?” Maria asked with a worried look on her face. “I don’t know, but he obviously wants to talk to us. His whole involvement with the National Democratic Party of Germany has me very worried.” Geog confessed. “What are we going to do Georg?” Maria asked. “I don’t know, but I do know that I will be ready for whatever happens.” Georg said reassuringly.

man and woman walking away
Courtesy of Pixaby

As they reached the house, Georg went to his study to call his son Friedrich who had moved to Dallas to start his own security company. As he dialed Friedrich’s number he thought of all of the possibilities of why Rolf would travel all of this distance. “Good morning, Sichern Services.” the receptionist answered. “Good morning, this is Georg Von Trapp, is Friedrich available?” Georg inquired. “Oh hello Captain, it’s good to hear your voice.” the receptionist replied. “I’m not a captain any longer, but thank you.” Georg replied. “Yes he is, I will transfer you to him.” she said as she transferred Georg. “Hello, Friedrich Von Trapp.” the voice on the other line answered. “Friedrich, this is dad. Your mother and I are having some rather questionable guests show up tonight and I was wondering if you have any connections in Vermont to be present during their stay.” Georg asked. “Hi dad, I’m sure that I can find someone to be there. We have a pretty good working relationship throughout the country with other security firms. May I ask why the concern over these guests?” security guard Friedrich asked rather puzzled. He had never received this kind of request from his father before. His dad helped him in the early stages of his business, his experience in the Navy, especially with standard operating procedures had helped in starting his own business. He had even named his company Sichern Services which means “secure” in German. “It’s a long story Friedrich, do you remember Rolf Gruber, Leisl’s boyfriend?” “Of course I do. He ratted on us when we were hiding at the Abbey. What a jerk.” Friedrich replied as he remembered that night long ago. “Well, he sent me a letter telling me that our home in Austria was being bequeathed to us in the previous owner’s will.” Georg explained. “Dad, that’s great! Are you and mom moving back to Austria? What a great…..” Friedrich replied until Georg cut him off. “Friedrich, I wish that it was that simple, but we also found out that Rolf is the head of that new NPD movement in Germany. There is also another twist to this, but it’s too long of a story to explain to you right now. I just need to know that you will have someone present at the lodge should things get out of hand. You see, Rolf is one of the guests tonight and the other guest is an old friend of mine Herman Richter.” Georg explained. “Wow, that is odd. I will call someone right away. What time do you want them there?” Friedrich asked. “I would like them there before check-in at 3 PM.” Georg replied. “Sure dad, I’ll make sure they are there way before 3 PM. I’ll be sure to have them meet you so that you can point them out.” Friedrich said reassuringly. “I hope it’s that easy Friedrich. I haven’t seen them for 40 years.” Georg admitted. “I’ll run a check with some friends that I still have in Austria to come up with a photo of each of them and get it sent over the wire.  Do you guys have a fax machine yet?” Friedrich asked. “Yes, your mother had one installed earlier this year. Fax over whatever photos you can find Friedrich. Thank you.” Georg said with a sigh of relief. “Sure dad, I’ve got you covered.” Friedrich said as his dad hung up and headed out of the study into his bedroom.
Georg sitting on his bed
“I need to protect Maria and my guests should anything occur at tonight’s dinner. Georg thought to himself.” He found old photos of his friend Herman in a box that he kept in his closet: pictures and things of his past life in Austria. He thought to himself, “How are Rolf and Herman connected? those two should never have even met, much less travel together.” Maria walked into the bedroom startling Georg. “I’ve been looking for you Georg. Lindsay from the front desk just got word that Rolf has another guest coming with him, a gentleman named Herman Richter. Have you heard of him?” Maria asked. “Why yes I have. It’s a long story. Have a seat, there are a few things you need to know.” Georg said as he went to close the bedroom door.

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Never ending dreams Dream Sequence #1

I dream every night. I have multiple dreams per night. Sometimes I feel as though I should have popcorn to enjoy along with my dreams. So, I thought that I would share a few of my dreams. I figure why not, maybe I have all of these dreams for a reason other than my mind never stops, so here goes!

Image courtesy of Playstation

Dream Sequence #1   8/6/2019

Sitting in a room of family members and strangers, I’m looking for someone. At first, I don’t know who, then it occurs to me that I am looking for my wife Laurie, but she is here with everyone else. This is rather strange I tell myself. Why would I be looking for her if she is here in the house? Suddenly, it’s as if another dimension is slowly opening up. I see an area in the room where there is an oval area about 3′ tall that is all blurry. I feel drawn to this area. It almost seems like some sort of portal. I want to reach my hand into it. I slowly walk over to this oval entity and dare to reach into it. I sense that another version of my wife is on the other side. It’s at that point that I realize that she IS on the other side, just another version of her. I long to be with her. There is so much I want to say. We were separated years ago, but somehow the relationship ended. I had no way of reaching her, no way of communicating with her. My heart aches as I remember the times that we spent together. The love that I feel for her is tremendous but then the portal disappears. Those around me think that I have lost it. I think that I have lost it. How can I be sad when she is here in the present? How can I long for her in the past as well? The other dimension seems just as real as the area that I am in. It actually feels more real than the present. Which space is a reality? Are both reality and just occupying other dimensions?

I wander around the room and find this blue metallic structure, only about 2′ in diameter. It has the ability to transport me into this alternate reality.  I cradle it.  I bring it over to where the portal was. I feel the portal reappearing. I hear her voice from the other dimension. I long to tell her that I want to be with her. Suddenly, voices from within the room in which I am standing start asking me questions, drawing me away from this portal. I realize that my children are there within the room. They need me there. My wife in the present is there beside me. I stand there perplexed. Laurie is here with me, not in some other dimension.

What can this mean

I know that many of you have several interpretations of the dream as Daniel did thousands of years ago and I have my own ideas as well. For me, this is what I see. Life has gotten very complicated since we have been married. We are still deeply in love, but work and the pressures of life have taken some of the everyday joy out of our lives. I long to return to a simpler time. We have been talking about downsizing. Downsizing our business, our home, our possessions and not having so many obligations so that we can make the most of each day, not just getting through the day. I don’t want to escape, I want what we once had. It’s not just Laurie who was different, it was me as well. It was a better me.

Chapter 9

How to get out of a pickle

“Has anyone seen Georg? We have  guests arriving this evening from Germany and they want to be sure that we have Rouladen on the menu and we are short on dill pickles. What is Rouladen without dill pickles?” Maria asked. Kurt, who was responsible for the menu for the lodge looked at Maria and rolled his eyes. “Why can’t we be entertaining some French guests? I spent 3 years in culinary school in France, but all I do is serve Rouladen and Spaetzle.” Kurt complained. “Kurt, we are an Austrian style lodge and we prepare meals that our guests expect from an Austrian lodge; you know that. If you are getting bored with our normal fare, then try and put your own spin on it.” Maria suggested. “Hey, that’s a good idea. I’ll do that!” Kurt replied as he started his team on their respective tasks.

cutting meat in the von trapp lodge kitchen

Just then Georg walked in, still deep in thought, but the bustling about in the kitchen quickly brought him back to the present. “Georg, you must go to town and get us more dill pickles for tonight’s dinner. We are almost out.” Maria complained. “Well, I will have to admit that I did help myself to them the other day. I have been having a craving for dill pickles lately.” Georg confessed. Maria looked at him with a twinkle in her eye and said, “My dear Georg, you aren’t even showing!” When Georg caught her joke, he chuckled to himself as he headed for the rear entrance of the kitchen to get in his trusty Willy. Maria always knew how to put him at ease and lighten his mood.

The market was only a 10 minute drive from the lodge. Mac’s Market was their answer to those last minute needs. Georg pulled into the parking lot and hopped out of the Willy. As he opened the door and entered the market, Mac, the owner was talking with a bag boy who was putting a half gallon of ice cream on top of a dozen eggs. “Josh, you can’t put ice cream on top of eggs!” he exclaimed. John looked at Mac puzzled, “But I thought you said to put all of the cold items in one bag.” he replied. “Correct, but unless you want scrambled eggs, the eggs have to be on top.” said Mac as he corrected his bag boy. “Oh hi Georg.” Mac said as Georg headed for the pickle aisle.

mac's market stowe vt

“Hey Mac, how are things in grocery land?” he asked. He knew that Mac would always have a witty comeback. “Eggscelent!” Mac replied with a grin.  Georg rolled his eyes. “Hey, I hear that you are having some special guests this evening Georg.” “Not really, just some guests from Germany. You know, they want a taste of home while in the states. How did you know anyway?” Georg inquired. “Well, one of the guests was in here yesterday asking questions about you.” Mac said while making sure his bag boy was paying attention to his bagging etiquette. “Really? Well they are probably just interested to know if Maria and I are still alive and kicking.” Georg said. “True, but this guy didn’t seem to be the tourist type. He was asking me if I knew anything about you before you came to Vermont, you know, right before the war. He also seemed a little out of place, like he had just gotten off the boat if you know what I mean.” Mac said while Georg found his prized bottles of dill pickles.  “No, I don’t know what you mean Mac. Like I said, I’m sure he’s just one of many of those that want a chance to meet us.” “Ok, you’re probably right Georg, but I did catch his name when I took his credit card and ran it through the credit card imprinter. I have it in my office. Maybe you know him.” Mac said while heading to his office. Georg headed to the cash register to pay for his chief ingredient of the infamous Rouladen dish. As Mac returned from his office he said, “It says right here, ‘Rolf Gruber, have you ever heard of him?” Georg dropped the bottle of pickles that he was holding onto the belt of the checkout aisle, almost breaking it. “Did you say Rolf Gruber?” Georg asked. “Yes, why?” Mac inquired. “How old would you say that this Rolf Gruber is?” Georg inquired. “Oh, I would say about 55 or so. Why, do you know this guy? ” Mac asked while watching Georg stand there frozen. “Yes, you can say that I do. I just wasn’t expecting to hear this while on my pickle run.” Georg said while collecting his change and heading out the door. “See you Georg.” Mac said while Georg walked slowly to the Willy. “This can’t be happening. Why would Rolf come all the way here? I am not feeling very good about this sudden burst of popularity. Entertaining fans from America is one thing, but to be the point of interest from Germans and these Germans in particular isn’t giving me a good feeling. He grabbed one of the bottles of pickles and opened it, just to sample one to make sure that they were ok. He took a bite of one of the crisp pickles and smiled as he remembered Maria’s teasing about his recent craving. “This is one pickle that I’m not sure how to get out of.” he said to himself while heading back to the lodge. Shaking his head, he tossed the rest of the pickle from the Willy out into the trees as he headed up the hill to the lodge.
two dill pickles

 

 

 

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Chapter 8

A walk in time

It was time for my morning stroll. Maria had already begun her day by going to the lodge, making sure that the kids were running it in strict Von Trapp style, but with the friendliness of a small Austrian town. I, on the other hand, enjoyed these morning walks, not precisely a Wanderung or hike as you might call it, they just cleared my head for the day. For forty years, I had been able to forget about my former life in Austria, not that it was all that bad. I had lots of wonderful memories; it was just the ending that soured it. My Austria had changed so much from when I was a boy. My parents would take us to the coast, to watch the ships and feel the cool breeze off of the sea, before Austria lost its coastline.

JULIAN STRATENSCHULTE/AFP/Getty Images)

We enjoyed many beautiful summers there by the sea. My wife and I had a wonderful life before her death. I wasn’t always so stern. Life had toughened me up. The loss of my wife’s inheritance by me trying to help a banking friend and then having to find a governess to raise our seven children was a lot to handle. Pushing away the emotions of it all just seemed easier to do, rather than deal with the disappointments that life had handed to me.

There was a part of me that I hadn’t shared with my family, at least not my children. I had always hoped that I would take that secret with me to my grave. The family thought I had stayed with the Navy, and they were right, they just didn’t know what I was actually doing with the Navy. I had to find a way to support them. Maria and I added three more to our brood, for a total of 10 children. It took a lot of Schnitzels to keep them full! I knew that there were those who didn’t want me to leave Austria. I had secrets that they did not want me to share with others in the world, but I had to leave that life behind. Opening a lodge in Vermont and getting into the hospitality business was a far cry from my vocation in Osterreich. The lure of being handed our old home on a silver platter from the previous owners was very tempting. I had always wanted to visit, but to be able to live there was more than I could have ever hoped for.  von trapp home sepia mgm

Somehow, I wish I could travel back in time and change some of the decisions that I had made, but that wasn’t possible. As soon as that mental statement left my mind, I was instantly reminded of why Herman Richter and I were working on Xerum 525. It was Hitler’s fascination with things that were not quite reality. Die Glocke was basically a cyclotron, a way to make enriched Uranium 233. I did not want to be part of that research, but I didn’t have much of a choice at the time. Everything that I had knowledge of, I had kept to myself. I didn’t even know that Herman was still alive. The number of coincidences was now becoming evident that they were not coincidences at all. Someone wanted me back in Austria, but who?

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Chapter 7

You can’t unring a bell

“Let me know what you find out Larz,” Brigitta shouted from the top of the stairs as I headed out to the car. “You know, I will,” Larz replied as he closed the door and almost tripped over their golden retriever Max who wanted to play. “Sorry, Max, not today. I have some investigating to do.” Larz settled into his trusty Mercedes that had seen a good amount of miles. “This just doesn’t make sense. Why would the embassy and Rolf both contact us within two days of each other? Rolf had to know that Georg would find out about his involvement with the NPD.”

The traffic was heavy this morning on I-89, heading to  Burlington. The leaf peepers as we called them, were out in force, trying to experience the beautiful colors of the changing leaves in New England. I had to admit that the brush strokes that God used to paint the forests with, crimson red, golden orange, and bright yellow hues were pretty breathtaking, even if I had seen it every year for the past 40 years.
fall leaves in Vermont with car on road
I finally reached the city and headed into the parking garage to find my designated parking space. Parking garages were essential in the city during the cold Vermont winters. As I got out of the car, I noticed that my boss Bob Adler was just pulling into his parking space, a couple of spaces down from me as well. As I headed to the elevator, he called out to me, “Hey Larz, glad we arrived at the same time, I wanted to chat with you a bit about this whole property settlement with your father in laws old home in Austria. I have been thinking about this whole thing over the weekend and did a little digging. You know that Austria lost their coastline after World War 1 and the captain wasn’t needed to sail a sub with their being no need for a Navy. “I know, he has told us that he missed being on a submarine, that he had always been fascinated with them,” Larz replied. “Right, but did he ever tell you what he did after that?” Adler said with a slight grin. “No, he said that his first wife died shortly after that and that the family had to sing to help earn money after the Austrian bank went belly up with most of his deceased wife’s inheritance,” Larz responded. “Have you ever heard of Die Glocke?” Adler asked.  German bell“No I haven’t,  and my German isn’t too good. It sounds like The Clock. Am I close?” I said.  “You are close, but don’t feel bad, I didn’t know either. It’s like Glockenspiel, you know, a bell. It means The Bell.” Adler admitted. “Great, now that we have had our German lesson for the day and we are almost at our floor, what does all of this mean Bob?” I inquired. “Well, your father in law had a background in physics and was offered a chance to help a young physicist, Herman Richter develops Xerum 525, a code name for something called red mercury. Georg had no idea what it was for or why he just knew that he needed income for his family. Of course, this was before the war. Scientists are always looking to advance their fields of study. Georg agreed, and he and his fellow physicist made a good amount of progress developing the stuff. Supposedly the substance allowed for some pretty far out claims. Even though Germany which needed naval commanders told Georg that they wanted him to command a U boat, my friend within the intelligence community said that the Nazi’s probably wanted to commandeer him to work with the rest of the scientists that were coerced to work on Hitler’s secret projects.” Adler said as the elevator doors opened up. “I’ll get with you later in the day to tell you what their old home in Austria has to do with all of this,” he said as he walked down the hall to his office.

I couldn’t believe that he was just going to leave me there wondering. What the heck was Die Glocke, and what did it have to do with inheriting a house? I walked into my office just as the phone began to ring. It was Brigitta. “Hi Larz, I just got off the phone with my dad. He said that he had just been contacted by an old friend, Herman Richter. Does that name ring a bell?” she asked.  I stared at the phone speechless.

Miss something? Start at the beginning of the story.
Read Chapter 1
Read Chapter 2
Read Chapter 3
Read Chapter 4
Read Chapter 5
Read Chapter 6
Read Chapter 8

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