Hero Child

Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
Table of Contents
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on the island

the island meant paradise—the paradise of summer
the island brought the light of freedom and connection

my life became guided by the longing and search
to bring the island’s magic back—to make it come true for my life

I spent every summer on the island with my family
my grandfather bought the house as a summer retreat
the island seemed to change everyone—to bring out
different identities—a magical world transformed my parents
into freer, less burdened beings who imposed few rules

life became much more uncomplicated—less isolated
we seemed to live more like other families

free to do whatever I wanted, I had power over my life
—it was the greatest feeling—
I remember two rules—I had to be at home in time for meals
and when my father wanted a family excursion with the boat
we had to come along—but the rest of my time
I could spend however and wherever I wanted to

the island gave me the chance to be alone
how much time did I spend on the island by myself
there I could get away from the unbearable unrest in the house
from noise—tension—commands—orders—expectations

I loved books—and sometimes I read in my father’s room
filled with memories he had collected all over the world
there I would listen to Chopin and read my favorite love novel

how I loved to come to the top of the dunes
where I could look down to the beach and sit for hours
to read—and to watch and listen to the sea that I adored
as a teenager I had my own little room at the end of the house
right by the stable—I got up early in the morning
saddled my mother’s horse and rode to the beach
where I galloped and felt free

I loved the boat, which my mother avoided
I enjoyed sleeping and traveling on the boat
I remember the smell of diesel—the dampness of the sheets
I have an alive, warm inner picture of the boat
and of the room of my own on the island

on the island I could work
digging up weeds between bricks and sweeping the street
I earned a little money and could buy something I wanted
I felt power
as a teenager I had saved enough money
for half of my dream bike—my parents added the other half
I bought the light blue painted beauty
I was its proud owner and rode it everywhere

the island meant having neighbors
I was free to meet and play with other children
across the street lived Jan with his parents
their summer guests were lots of boys
in the evening I played soccer with them—on the meadow
behind our house—the laundry posts became our goals
I spent time at the beach with other children
participated in games

life was incomparably different on the island
from in the industrial town where we spent the rest of the year
surrounded and visited by lots of people
—mostly people who seemed to be related to us—
I felt isolated and separated there from the world around me
lonely and abandoned within my own and extended family

I always felt like a stranger in my family


© Barbara Rogers


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Screams from Childhood