The Sandman

They sat together in a bunker, hunkered down at Padua, Italy, and the allied bombers flew overhead. Explosions could be heard nearby and they shrank back and shivered and moved closer to each other.  A little group comprised of soldiers, some officers and girl army staff assistants. waited for the air raid to come to an end. But it intensified,. and seemed to move ever closer. It was January 1945. To take the mind off, and soothe the nerves, the Major began relating a story, and here is what he said:

“I was on leave of absence in Salzburg and saw a play at the Festival House,. Reichs Marshall Hermann Goering,- who had taken his little girl to the play was in the audience, and sat in a special loge. Although the play was officially for children, the theater was packed with soldiers on leave from the front, nuns and priests, and many Austrian families with their children who gazed with wide open eyes...


The play’s Title was “Little Peter’s trip to the Moon” - the exploits and adventures of a little boy and his sister, and the Sandman guiding them through many adventures, in wonderland. There were delightful scenes from the Grimm Brothers Fairy Tales In one scene the Sandman guided the children into fairy-land, sitting on a big polar bear and guiding it. The vastness of the festival house stage lent it self ideally for the production of the play. The culminating moment came when the Sandman shot the children through a cannon up to the moon, . Many stage hands worked feverishly behind the wings to keep things going smoothly.
The Star of the show was a young actress, who played the Sandman. She was very good, very comic , full of pranks and stunts as she commanded the stars and planets, and comets, making them dance with a wave of her hand. bidding the stars to move apart, or to cluster together. And at the sandman’s wink the stars started flitting across the stage horizon, and the children squealed with delight, and everyone was lifted into another world. The children’s ballet was splendid and the soldiers roared with laughter at the sandman’s stunts. Then the Sandman with the children rode across the stage on a polar bear. Uproarious laughter. This play made everyone forget the horror of war for a while. During intermissions the audience had an uneasy peek up at the special loge where Reichs Marshall Hermann Goering sat.

The major stopped his narrative now, as several explosion now resounded near the bunker, and after things had quieted down, and then resumed it again. Everyone hung on his lips, grateful for the soothing distraction during an intensive allied air raid. They all listened intently and smiled sympathetically. One of the army staff assistants was profoundly moved by the narrative . And as the major once again spoke of the antics the sandman had performed on stage , and how they had delighted him, the army staff assistant got up from her chair, and imitated the words and actions in the play, and gestrure even anticipating the cue words, in the most minute detail.

The Major’s mouth dropped wide open, too stunned to speak aright - then he stuttered: “impossible, impossible, simply impossible, - but yet, - nobody else could do this, - but you” ... “You were the Sandman.” He had tears in his eyes, so had the army staff assistant. The young army staff assistant smiled in tears and said: “Ja Herr Major, I played the star role of the sandman“.

A siren sounded outside the All Clear and the troop staggered out of the bunker and two weeks later the Third Reich collapsed.

I leave it to the reader who the Sandman was!


More by :  Elizabeth Dandy

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Views: 3321      Comments: 2

Comment Thank you June for wonderful co,,emt/ Deeply touched. Believe it, I still dream, of it nights and relibve every scene with tearsd in my eyes wen I wake up.
Part of my very soul.
Thank you and God bless you abundantly.
Love and peace Elizabeth

08-Oct-2012 13:36 PM

Comment It could be none other than the young army staff assistant, Elizabeth, who played the part of the Sandman with such verve and expertise! At that time, not yet Elizabeth Dandy, but a wonderfully talented actress and musician! Thank you for a very memorable and touching story of sharing and caring in the midst of a dangerous,
scary experience. I'm blessed to count Elizabeth Dandy as a dear friend, who is also an excellent writer and artist. Much admiration and love to you. June

June Stein
07-Oct-2012 21:35 PM

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