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Unformatted text preview: e accordion. Liesel looked at him and listened, though she did not
immediately notice the perplexed expression on her papa’s face that evening as he played.
It traveled and wondered,
but it disclosed no answers.
There had been a change in him. A slight shift.
She saw it but didn’t realize until later, when all the stories came together. She didn’t see him watching as he
played, having no idea that Hans Hubermann’s accordion was a story. In the times ahead, that story would
arrive at 33 Himmel Street in the early hours of morning, wearing ruffled shoulders and a shivering jacket. It
would carry a suitcase, a book, and two questions. A story. Story after story. Story within story.
For now, there was only the one as far as Liesel was concerned, and she was enjoying it.
She settled into the long arms of grass, lying back.
She closed her eyes and her ears held the notes.
There were, of course, some problems as well. A few times, Papa nearly yelled at her. “Come on, Liesel,” he’d
say. “You know this word; you know it!” Just when progress seemed to be flowing well, somehow things would
When the weather was good, they’d go to the Amper in the afternoon. In bad weather, it was the basement. This
was mainly on account of Mama. At first, they tried in the kitchen, but there was no way.
“Rosa,” Hans said to her at one point. Quietly, his words cut through one of her sentences. “Could you do me a
She looked up from the stove. “What?”
“I’m asking you, I’m begging you, could you please shut your mouth for just five minutes?”
You can imagine the reaction. They ended up in the basement.
There was no lighting there, so they took a kerosene lamp, and slowly, between school and home, from the river
to the basement, from the good days to the bad, Liesel was learning to read and write.
“Soon,” Papa told her, “you’ll be able to read that awful graves book with your eyes closed.”
“And I can get out of that midget class.”
She spoke those words with a grim kind of o...
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- Winter '13