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Unformatted text preview: wnership.
In one of their basement sessions, Papa dispensed with the sandpaper (it was running out fast) and pulled out a
brush. There were few luxuries in the Hubermann household, but there was an oversupply of paint, and it
became more than useful for Liesel’s learning. Papa would say a word and the girl would have to spell it aloud
and then paint it on the wall, as long as she got it right. After a month, the wall was recoated. A fresh cement
Some nights, after working in the basement, Liesel would sit crouched in the bath and hear the same utterances
from the kitchen.
“You stink,” Mama would say to Hans. “Like cigarettes and kerosene.”
Sitting in the water, she imagined the smell of it, mapped out on her papa’s clothes. More than anything, it was
the smell of friendship, and she could find it on herself, too. Liesel loved that smell. She would sniff her arm
and smile as the water cooled around her. THE HEAVY WEIGHT CHAMPION OF THE SCHOOL-YARD
The summer of ’39 was in a hurry, or perhaps Liesel was. She spent her time playing soccer with Rudy and the
other kids on Himmel Street (a year-round pastime), taking ironing around town with Mama, and learning
words. It felt like it was over a few days after it began.
In the latter part of the year, two things happened.
1. World War Two begins.
1. Liesel Meminger becomes the heavyweight champion of the school yard.
The beginning of September.
It was a cool day in Molching when the war began and my workload increased.
The world talked it over.
Newspaper headlines reveled in it.
The Führer’s voice roared from German radios. We will not give up. We will not rest. We will be victorious.
Our time has come.
The German invasion of Poland had begun and people were gathered everywhere, listening to the news of it.
Munich Street, like every other main street in Germany, was alive with war. The smell, the voice. Rationing had
begun a few days earlier—the writing on the wall—and now it was official. England and France had made their
declaration on Germany. To steal a phrase f...
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This note was uploaded on 01/17/2014 for the course ENG 99 taught by Professor Michal during the Winter '13 term at CSU Sacramento.
- Winter '13