In the winter of this year, we were notified of the impending and expected death of my maternal grandmother. She was admitted to a nursing care facility two weeks prior to her death due to the inability of grandfather and parents to care for her in an increasingly difficult situation because of her rapidly deteriorating health. German grandmother, a proper and genteel woman had departed our family leaving a void, never to be filled. Mother and father determined that brother and I would not be attending the sorrowful event of her funeral.
At Easter time, a local pet store displayed many newly hatched chicks in their store window. One day while visiting this pet store without mother and father one decided to purchase these chicks at the price of six for one dollar. I was hoping that the chicks bought were hens to provide our family with fresh eggs. Upon arriving home, mother expressed some chagrin with this purchase but allowed me to keep these birds. Initially, the chicks were housed in a large cardboard box that was set on the dining room table. After three weeks though, it became clear through the emerging combs that all the chicks were roosters. Releasing these birds into the backyard, they fought with each other continually until one day three were discovered dead. Disgusted with this situation, I realized my mistake in purchasing these creatures. Mother then boxed the remaining three birds and brought them to a local resident who accepted them into their backyard chicken coop.
During the spring of this year, father became temporarily unemployed due to a downturn in the construction industry. Father stated that the expectation was that this period of unemployment would be extended and lengthy.
At the end of the school year, and in June mother called me into the kitchen to discuss an important matter. I began to anticipate more bad news but contrary to this newly developed attitude of pessimism, she stated that the family would be taking an extended vacation to Europe. I could not believe what I just heard and was overwhelmed with joy, excitement, and anticipation. This was like a dream come true as many of the faraway places that I read about in school social studies, would be visited! The plan was that grandfather and I would leave two weeks prior to father, mother, and brother’s departure to Europe to stay with relatives and visit with extended family members in Germany. Mother and father had purchased a German car to be picked up upon their arrival with brother in Stuttgart. They would drive to the small town in Germany where grandfather and I were staying with a great aunt and uncle. From this point, grandfather, mother, father, brother, and I would begin our European tour. Mother advised me that a passport and a small pox vaccination would be required. Shortly after receiving this immunization, I complained to mother about not being able to think clearly, connect thoughts, and focus. She stated that this was just my imagination and these symptoms were likely due to the anxious anticipation of the impending trip. As luck would have it, a few days later I fractured my wrist playing softball. Another girl and I were in the outfield of a school athletic field running for a hit ball when both of us slipped on the grass of the morning dew and collided. Mother brought me to a physician who confirmed a fractured wrist through x-rays. Fortunately my wrist did not have to be reset and so a cast to the elbow was administered by a local hospital. I was very upset with this problem occurring at such an inopportune time. I was told that perhaps the cast could be removed